How to Rotate a Laptop or PC screen: Flip Your Display on Its Side
Most laptop or PC applications work perfectly well in landscape mode. But occasionally, the position of the screen can hinder your productivity – especially if you want to work with information in a tall and thin window.
In those situations – assuming you have a monitor that you can pivot to portrait mode – it may be worth spinning your working window around 180 degrees. This quick guide will explain how to spin your desktop on its side to keep you working productively.
Sometimes, it’s useful to flip screens to help employees remember to lock them as they walk away. Whatever the reason – even if you’re the recipient of an office gag carried out by an unkind colleague – rotating your screen 90° is an easy task, and here we’ve covered a couple of ways to do it.
How to rotate a laptop or PC screen using your keyboard
If you’re running Windows 7, 8, or 10 you may be able to quickly rotate your screen 90°, 180°, or 270° at any time by pressing three keys.
Simply hold down Control + Alt and then select the arrow key for which way you want your laptop or PC screen to face.
Your monitor will then go blank briefly and return in a few seconds facing a different orientation. To restore this back to the original settings, press Control + Alt + the up arrow.
This keyboard combination will rotate your entire screen and all of the open apps on it.
If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to use one of the methods below.
How to rotate a laptop or PC screen via Control Panel
You can access the control panel to flip your screen but beware, it will be awfully difficult to switch it back as not only the appearance will be flipped but so will the mouse movements.
Click ‘Display Options’
Another way to rotate your screen is to right-click the Windows desktop and select Screen Resolution from the dropdown menu that appears. Changing the screen orientation via Control Panel is equally simple. Press the Windows key and type in “Screen Resolution” then press enter.
Alternatively, if you’re using Windows 7, you can click Start > Control Panel > Display > Screen Resolution.
From here select the monitor that you wish to rotate from the Display drop-down box and then finally select Portrait or Landscape in the Orientation field.
You can also access these settings by using the Win+I keyboard shortcut and click on ‘System.’ From here, you can choose the orientation of your display.
How to rotate a laptop or PC screen using Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel
You can also rotate a display using your graphics card’s control panel. (Note that there are too many different software suites to list each one individually, so treat this as a general guide.)
A shortcut to your graphics control panel can be found in a couple of places. Right-clicking the desktop and selecting the appropriate option will give you access to the Intel, Nvidia, or AMD graphics card control panels, but the graphics drivers and software often add icons to the system tray on the right-hand side of your taskbar.
Double-clicking these icons, or right-clicking thereon, will normally give access to the control panel, and also often a wide range of other options, too. Handily, some also permit you to right-click their respective icons and select screen rotation from a dropdown menu.
Once the relevant control panels are open, you’ll need to peruse the ‘display’ or ‘desktop’ menus to find the rotation option for your monitor. The exact location varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so a quick hunt around will soon locate the option you need.
Locking Your Screen
You can lock your screen so that it does not rotate. If you’ve been the recipient of too many office jokes, or you just want to prevent a new end-user from accidentally flipping their screen, simply lock the screen rotation.
To do this:
Click the Action Center icon
You can also click the Windows+A keys to open the Action Center.
Click ‘Rotation Lock’
Once you’ve done this the same steps must be taken to unlock the screen rotate functions.
Screen Orientation is Stuck
Several users have stated that their screen becomes stuck in one orientation. The hotkeys don’t work to fix it and many times the user can’t even input their password to gain access to their PC. Let’s review some options if your screen is stuck in one orientation and the above methods aren’t working for you.
Aside from powering down your PC (which likely won’t work because your system will remember it’s last orientation), you can try unplugging your peripherals, wait a couple of minutes, then plug them back in. This may force the system to reboot with the correct orientation.
If screen rotation isn’t working you can go into your system’s Registry by using the Win+R keyboard shortcut. Type ‘regedit’ in the box and hit enter. From here, follow the path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/AutoRotation.
Double-click ‘LastOrientation’ and enter ‘0’ in the value box. This should help you to reset your screen orientation. This process is incredibly difficult to follow if your screen is upside down or even sideways. If nothing else works, physically rotate your monitor to make following these steps easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to your most frequently asked questions:
Will the screen rotate back if I turn off my computer?
No, in most cases it will reboot with the same orientation you last used. The only way to rotate it back would be to use one of the methods above.
My screen is stuck and will not rotate after the newest updates. What can I do?
If your screen no longer rotates after the update check first that the rotate function isn’t locked. If it isn’t then following the steps above using the Intel Control Panel.
My screen still won’t rotate, what else can I do?
If the rotate lock function is off and you’ve tried the control panel you should power cycle your device to see if the problem corrects itself. If not, then try disconnecting your peripherals and reconnecting them.
Lastly, use Microsoft’s built-in troubleshooting software to check your sensors. If your computer is having a driver issue it may cause the screen orientation on your computer to stop working properly. You can change the driver yourself, check for a manufacturer’s warranty, or contact a repair shop for further assistance.
What if I have two screens and only one of them is flipped?
In most cases, you can click on the screen that needs adjusting and use the keyboard to fix the issue for that one screen. The alternative would be to head over to the control panel, select the screen that’s needs rotated, and choose the orientation.
If the issue is not immediately corrected try to unplug the peripherals and plug the monitor back into your computer.
The Ctrl+Alt+Arrow key doesn’t work. Why?
If the above-mentioned hotkeys aren’t working for you it’s likely because your PCs graphics card doesn’t support the function. You can check the functions by using the Ctrl+Alt+F12 keyboard shortcut and selecting ‘Options & Support.’ Next, click on the Hotkey manager and browse for your keyboard shortcut.