What Is A Document Holder?

A document holder allows you to ergonomically position a physical document you are working on (either refering to or writing on) while at a computer in order to reduce risk of occupational fatigue, headaches, neck pain and eye strain.  

Document holders have been on the office desk for decades, however very little information exists on the different types of document holders and how to set up a document holder to the optimal position for an individual's needs.

So sit back on that ergonomic chair, and read on for some informative reading on the importance of document holders and how to use them.


According to statistics, office workers are the most at risk of experiencing neck pain.  Neck pain can be established at the work desk due to twisting and bending the neck repeatedly while refering to or writing on documents when using the computer.  

Less to No Head Movement:

Neck pain is caused by twisting and bending of the head on a repeated or constant manner.  A document holder will be either in line with your computer or right next to your computer screen to prevent this movement.  

More Real Estate:

When you place documents on a document holder, you are providing your work desk with more space closest to you - this space (or primary work space) is essential real estate on your desk as the more you can place in this space the less times you need to reach out for peripherals on the desk. E.g. 

More Organised:

As a non-ergonomic benefit of a document holder, moving paperwork off the desk provides a clear desk.  A clear space creates a clear mind.  You will look more organised and may become more productive in the process!


If you are someone who occasionally requires to refer to a physical document (paper, book, etc.) or are performing data entry using a physical document and a computer, you will need a document holder to position the paper so that your body is in a neutral position.

Document Holders can also be of benefit to individuals with conditions such as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Lateral Epicondylitus and Medial Epicondylitus.


Stand Alone Document Holders

Stand alone document holders are fantastic for the user who only needs to refer to documents occasionally and is wanting a holder to place a few papers. Stand alone document holders are generally placed beside the computer.

Positioning: Ensure the document holder is as close to the monitor as possible. Also - if it is not height adjustable, try placing some books underneath to raise the document to eye level.

In-Line Document Holders

In-Line document holders have become the most popular option for a document holder in recent years as it allows the document to sit between the keyboard and the monitor, thus the neck requires no twisting at all to view a document and the body can remain in a neutral position.

Positioning: In Line document holders can be bulky - ergonomically your computer monitor should be positioned an arm length away from your body - take note of this and ensure the document holder does not push out the monitor screen further from this measurement - if it does, you may need to look for an alternative solution.

In-Line Document Slopes

The newest style of document holder is the document slope.  These are positioned the same as the in-line document holders, however they are stable enough to be able to not only view documents, but to write on documents as well.  This is a great solution for users who are reviewing documents, need to mark-up documents while typing, or would like an elevated platform to place their diaries and post-its to write on throughout the work day.

Positioning: Like the in-line document holders, inline document slopes can be large - so ensure that your workstation still meets all the ergonomically correct positions - if not, you may need to look at an alternative solution.


Document holders place working physical documents in the most optimal, ergonomic position to minimise risk of neck pain, fatigue and eye strain.

There are many types of document holders and it is important to position them correctly to optimise their use.

For any more information regarding document holders or other ergonomic products, please feel free to contact our expert team on: info@nomorepainergonomics.com.au or phone 1300 898 965.

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