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How to rotate a laptop or PC screen and flip your display sideways

Portrait or landscape; how do you get a new perspective on your screen?

A display in portrait mode

The use of multiple monitors is a common sight in many workplaces, allowing users to see more of their laptop or desktop computers at once and improve their productivity with multiple windows and apps running simultaneously.

While it's perfectly possible to have multiple monitors running in landscape mode, it may be that you lack the desk space to house more than two in this format. Or it might just be inconvenient to have two large frames stretching across your home office space. In this instance, it's sometimes better to move to portrait mode.

Most laptops and monitors may already be able to switch between the two modes, but if you have one that doesn't, there is a simple trick to pivot the display. This can lead to an increase in productivity (especially when dealing with tall spreadsheets), a better view of a video call, or just a fresh perspective while you work.

How to rotate a Windows PC or laptop with the keyboard

For devices running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 users can hit Ctrl and Alt keys and any of the arrow keys to spin the display 90, 180 or even 170 degrees, with the screen going black briefly before it turns to the preferred mode. Ctrl+Alt and the up key can take them back. The same method works for Windows 11, with Ctrl+Alt and the up arrow switching to landscape or the left arrow key for portrait.

For users that don't want to use the keyboard, or if the above method isn't working, they change orientation via the control panel.

Using the Control Panel to rotate a PC or laptop display

For users running Windows 11, you can click on the Windows icon (Start button) in the bottom left-hand corner, and then do the following:

  1. Click on the Settings icon (the small cog symbol)
  2. Under the System tab, click Display
  3. Scroll down to Scale and Layout
  4. Change the setting under Display orientation
A screenshot showing the settings menu for switching screen orientation in Windows 11

For Windows 10, the steps are almost identical, although the menus will look a little different.

In Windows 7, type Control Panel in the search bar, then Appearance and Personalisation, Display and Screen Resolution. Click on the screen you want to change (if you have multiple monitors) and change Orientation between Landscape and Portrait. To rotate screen, select Landscape (flipped) or Portrait (flipped).

Using the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel to rotate a display

The graphic card's control panel can also be used to rotate the display on your PC or laptop.

These graphics cards have icons on the system tray you can click to bring up the control panel. Alternatively, you can right-click on the desktop and in the context menu, you can select Graphics Properties.

A display in portrait mode

Click on that to bring up the graphics card's control panel. This will have a host of options that change the characteristics of the display. Within a Display' or Desktop" menu icon, there should also be an option to change the rotation of the display by 90, 180, and 270 degrees (as well as zero to get you back to normal again).

With different graphics card manufacturers, things will be slightly different but the principle remains largely the same. Some investigation will unearth the option you need to rotate the laptop or PC display.

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