CyberNotes
Tutorial Thursday

Whenever I’m at home I hookup my laptop to a secondary 24″ monitor to drastically increase the amount of screen space available to me. When I’m working on programming projects I will rotate my monitor so that it is oriented vertically (a.k.a. portrait mode), which I think is something most programmers do when they have widescreen monitors.

Physically rotating my monitor doesn’t change the screen’s orientation though, and for that you’ll need some software. Most graphics cards are bundled with a control center that will let you change such properties, but I often find them a bit bulky. Below we’ve got three different methods that you can use to change the orientation of your monitor without using the software that came with your graphics card.

Note: All of these alternatives depend on your graphics card supporting screen rotation. This might require installing the drivers for your graphics card, which are typically offered separately from the software control center that they offer.

–Windows Hotkeys–

Believe it or not there is a standard Windows hotkey (in both XP and Vista) that will let you change the orientation of your primary monitor only. The shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+[Arrow Key], where you use the standard arrow pad on your keyboard to change the orientation. Ctrl+Alt+Up will always set your monitor back to the usual landscape orientation.

–Vista Settings–

All editions of Vista except for Home Basic now come with Tablet PC support regardless of whether your machine is actually a Tablet PC. If you only want to rotate the primary monitor you can use the Tablet PC settings in Vista to rotate the screen orientation.

The easiest way to find the Tablet PC settings is to open the Start Menu or Control Panel and start typing “Tablet PC” in the search box. You want to click on the “Tablet PC Settings” option when it is displayed. Then look for the orientation option that you can adjust:

tablet pc rotation

Unfortunately this only works for the primary monitor on the system, but I’m guessing that there are more people out there looking to do this with a single monitor rather than multiple monitors.

–iRotate (Homepage)–

iRotate This is a free program that creates a System Tray icon for each of the monitors connected to your machine. You can click on each icon to see the various orientation options that are available to that monitor. That means in a few clicks you can quickly switch between orientations.

iRotate will also set itself to start with Windows to ensure that all of the monitors remain in the correct orientation. Hotkey junkies will appreciate the keyboard shortcuts that are provided for each of the four orientations, which can be seen in the screenshot above.

–Overview–

I’m sure there are dozens of other ways that you can change your monitor’s orientation, and that’s where we turn it over to our readers. What tools, if any, do you use to adjust the orientation of your screen?

There Are 40 Comments

  1. I believe, but not sure, that the Ctrl+Alt+[Arrow Key] hotkeys methods only works if you have an Intel graphics board, because that’s the default hotkeys assigned by their display manager. If you have an ATI/AMD card, you can go to the Catalyst Control Center and assign the hotkeys that you wish to change the display settings, including the rotate screen. :idea:

  2. Mário Filipe wrote:
    I believe, but not sure, that the Ctrl+Alt+[Arrow Key]hotkeys methods only works if you have an Intel graphics board, because that’s the default hotkeys assigned by their display manager. If you have an ATI/AMD card, you can go to the Catalyst Control Center and assign the hotkeys that you wish to change the display settings, including the rotate screen. :idea:

    It worked on my ATI card without the Catalyst Control center installed.

  3. Ryan wrote:
    It worked on my ATI card without the Catalyst Control center installed.

    Not to question you, but I can’t rotate the screen of either my Vista laptop or my XP desktop with the Ctrl+Alt+[Arrow Keys], unless I enable it on the Catalyst Control Center. :?:

  4. Mário Filipe wrote:
    Ryan wrote:
    It worked on my ATI card without the Catalyst Control center installed.

    Not to question you, but I can’t rotate the screen of either my Vista laptop or my XP desktop with the Ctrl+Alt+[Arrow Keys], unless I enable it on the Catalyst Control Center. :?:

    That could be because you’ve installed the Control Center though, which would take precedence over the standard Windows shortcut.

  5. I had to enable the hot keys via:

    Display Properties>
    Settings>
    Advanced>
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile>
    Graphics Properties>
    Hot Keys (check the “Enable Hot Keys” box)

    I’m on a MPC T1300e laptop, running XP

  6. Hi!
    It is not working on my XP. Even enabled intel graphics hotkeys.
    There are some boxes with Pivot installed. I would like a totally free or even an universal open source solution for this, and that let the windows default rotate the screen during boot.

    TIA!

  7. This article saved my life! (we maybe a little melodramatic) I had a friend call me saying that he’s broken his laptop screen by leaning on the keyboard …

    This article and CTL-UP ARROW fixed the problem lol

    It’s such a cool prank to play on your friends too.

  8. Alex wrote:
    This article saved my life! (we maybe a little melodramatic) I had a friend call me saying that he’s broken his laptop screen by leaning on the keyboard …

    I saved your life? Would that make me a hero? :roll:

  9. I had to setup the keys in my Nvidia Desktop Manager. I’m now writing with my screen to the right. It’s tricky! Good though, nice long pages in FF!

  10. A few weeks ago my screen flipped sideways seemingly on its own. I pushed all the buttons on the side of my lcd monitor and finally got my orientation back to landscape by cycling through the monitor input. over the next couple of weeks it did it 2 more times. Then it started happening more and more frequently. I have checked the setting in both windows and the video card and have disabled screen rotation all together in both places, yet it still rotates on its own, about a dozen times now. The only common thing I notice when this happens is that I am moving the mouse when it happens. Could this be a virus?? Could low batteries in a wireless key board or mouse cause this?

  11. Ice Worm wrote:
    A few weeks ago my screen flipped sideways seemingly on its own. I pushed all the buttons on the side of my lcd monitor and finally got my orientation back to landscape by cycling through the monitor input. over the next couple of weeks it did it 2 more times. Then it started happening more and more frequently. I have checked the setting in both windows and the video card and have disabled screen rotation all together in both places, yet it still rotates on its own, about a dozen times now. The only common thing I notice when this happens is that I am moving the mouse when it happens. Could this be a virus?? Could low batteries in a wireless key board or mouse cause this?

    Low batteries in your keyboard or mouse would not likely be the cause of that. It does sound like some sort of virus or application incompatiblity. Have you tried booting into safe mode yet?

  12. no I haven’t done safe mode yet, what will that do? And now just today my monitor has flipped back to 270 degrees and no matter what I do it won’t stay at zero when I force it back. Coming to wits end here. I have to view my monitor in potrait mode now. That really sux since all the apps i use need to be in landscape.

  13. NEWS FLASH!!! I updated the intel video chip set drivers, rebooted and everything seems to be back to normal, for now anyways!!

  14. Ice Worm wrote:
    no I haven’t done safe mode yet, what will that do? And now just today my monitor has flipped back to 270 degrees and no matter what I do it won’t stay at zero when I force it back. Coming to wits end here. I have to view my monitor in potrait mode now. That really sux since all the apps i use need to be in landscape.

    Safe mode might block any of the virus’ actions, which could help troubleshoot the issue. But it looks like you already got it taken care of.

  15. Ryan,
    Thanks for posting article on rotate your screen. I’ll give it a try. Anything would be
    better than writting sideways.
    Terri

  16. none of this works; period. i have intel 945 chipset and vista home premium and it is CRAP – no hot keys; no way to rotate – in Tablet thing it has ‘landscape as option’ but doesn’t do crap – and no other option. crap. vista = crap. thanks.

  17. omg Thankyou soo Much, I have been so frustrated cos i used it like it was a note book and it was killing my neck thankyou soo much Article Maker xxx :)

  18. Thanks for the info… It saved me a call to tech support! I had my laptop sitting sideways on my desk trying to get work done.

  19. whew! thanks! this article was probably meant for thos who actually want to rotate their screens but it sure was a lot of help for us who accidentally did it! :D

  20. i am running windows vista and the screen has turned 90 degrees, i have tried the alt + ctrl + the up and down buttons, nothing works,
    this happened last year but i can’t remember the remody
    please help

  21. you ppl are retarded. safe mode doesnt disable every virus. if its infected ur system, safe mode would run the virus like if it was a system file

  22. :D Thank you sooooo much, my neck is killing me…

    Nikki the cntrl alt, arrow key worked……

  23. I have a HP mini (Windows XP Home) with a Intel Graphics Media Accelerator for Mobile driver and the screen wont rotate when I enable hot keys. Whats wrong?

  24. Big problems with monitor orientation. Somehow the display went sideways (rotated to the left). I cannot get it to go back. Tried hot keys – no luck. Cannot find where to “enable hotkeys” or anythig about “catalyst” whatever that is. I’m running XP home on my desktop. Help?!?

    • There’s one more step to add to the instructions given above. Here are the instructions again with one last line added:

      Display Properties>
      Settings>
      Advanced>
      Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile>
      Graphics Properties>
      Hot Keys (check the “Enable Hot Keys” box)
      Click the ROTATION tab and make sure the ENABLE ROTATION box is checked

    • Gonzalo Battaglia

      I’m looking to be able to rotate my screen. I have Windows Vista with the Moobile Intel 945 chipset. Have gone to Intel Graphics Accelerator Driver for Mobile. Hotkeys are enabled. But there is no tab for enabling screen rotation!

      Anybody have any other ideas?

  25. iRotate is useless since it uses native screen rotating which is extremely easy to manage via desktop properties.

    Without native screen rotation it doesn’t even work so I’m unable to rotate my screen at this moment as the latest ATI Control Panel with latest drivers for my card doesn’t allow screen rotation (because it’s an old notebook with 9700m Radeon).

    Well, does anyone know of an app that really rotates the screen, emulates it or forces instead of using options that we already HAVE…?

  26. Had the same problem of accidentally clicking some keys or other and screen rotating. Turned out to be the Pivot software I used to use for a rotating monitor that I no longer have. I right clicked on the screen which brought up the Pivot menu, but this did not work from there. Eventually I tried again by clicking on the Pivot icon in the task tray or whatever it’s called (bottom right of screen) and that worked. Phew!

    I’m getting too old for all this.

  27. Windows XP
    Intel(R)82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controller
    Version 6.14.10.3856

    I have the following hot keys
    Enable Notebook
    Disable/enable Panel Fitting
    Invoke Graphics Properties
    I seem to have lost the rotation hot keys.
    Is there anyway to find or re enable them?

  28. nigel steele-davies

    Powerstrip (not free ) may help, and is better than irotate
    S3 graphics may work if you enable rotation (change the
    .inf file which looks like uc04i.inf or a similar file
    with ??04i.inf. Manually edit to find ..enable rotation
    and set it to ONE instead of ZERO.

    I specialise in Portrait Style Computers and somehow
    get them all to rotate, but getting MS Powerpoint
    to behave is another story when rotated.

  29. I tried all of the options above. Updated driver for Intel GMA 4500M but could not get it to work. The rotation option is present in the options of graphics card, but it does not work anyhow. If anyone has dealt with the similar problem and solved it, please let the world know :)
    Thanks,

  30. Did not work with this video card Maxtor G400 Millenium

  31. I have a tablet pc with windows xp on it. The rotate button worked then one day I went to change my landscape it wouldn’t let me. When I try to change it with the rotate button it says “The setting you requested cannot be supported. Open display in control panel, adjust the settings, and then try to change orientation again” I have tried this and can’t figure it out. I have no idea how to fix it please help

  32. Tried every which way but sledge hammer…..this tip does not work. Must be something missing, cause my Win XP doesn’t even have a topic on hotkeys in the Help files…….gotta be graphic card unique, not a windows standard!

  33. thanks a lot!! it worked for me after my cat had a nap on the keyboard.

  34. Thanks, helped in my job as a help desk technician.

  35. Thanx! Now I have so much more space to work with for my digital art since it’s more natural to need to see more canvass vertically than horizontally. That, and when I’m on my laptop and want to lay on my side I’m not forced to sit right side up to use it.

    Also, I noticed some people have mentioned that Vista won’t do the tablet PC option. Don’t use the General tab that uses the calibrate button. Use the display tab that asks you to switch to portrait with the change button. That outta do it because I had the same problem as well. Display tab works wonderfully.

  36. The string was very helpful. My kitty figured it out and I needed to undo what she did…..

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