Return to workstation and equipment guide 

Document holders

It is recommended that document holders be used when performing keyboard work.  Use of a document holder will avoid an undesirable inclination of the head or a sideways bending body movement when shifting vision between the document and the screen or keyboard.  Preferably, the source document will be at the same distance and approximate viewing angle as the screen if VDU work is involved.  This will minimise head and neck strain.

Poor legibility of source documents and, occasionally, inappropriately designed holders for the source documents often restrict their use.  Keyboard operators who have not used a document holder should be encouraged to persist on the trial use of an appropriate holder for a minimum of two weeks.

The holders should be stable and free from vibration when attached to the desk.


The document holders shown above either stand freely on the desk or can attach to a screen.  They may swivel, raise and lower, and may incorporate a page holder or guide.  They can often be purchased in A4 and A3 sizes.

Alternatively the 'PageUp' style of holders shown below are available as a stationery item.

These hold up to 15 sheets of paper, and can also be used for displaying small booklets or brochures.


Sloping work surfaces

Staff who do large amounts of reading at their desk or proof read may find themselves suffering from sore shoulders or a stiff neck. In these cases bringing the material from a flat desk up to the worker on an angle may be helpful. This reduces neck 'craning' and helps prevent strains.

Variety of Uses

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Sketching
  • Drafting
  • Portable lectern

Ergotilts are the commercially produced sloping work surface. They adjust through a range of height settings and incorporate a book or page holder.

Sloping work surfaces are available as a stationery item and come in various sizes.


The above sloping surface is known as a ‘microdesk’ and can be used to elevate work for reading, writing, sketching, drafting, or as a portable lectern.  The microdesk can be purchased in a smaller version suitable for A4 paper and a larger A3 version.  Microdesks also come with a page guide / ruler.