How to rotate a screen on laptops or PCs and flip your display sideways

A screenshot of a laptop desktop showing a menu for how to rotate a screen on laptops to a different orientation

Learning how to rotate a screen on laptops or flip your PC screen to a different orientation can be a useful weapon in your battle to become more productive at work. Maximizing screen space on your monitor is one of the best routes toward achieving this.

It's common in offices or even in home workspaces to use more than one monitor, with users given the capacity to see more of their workflows and programs at once. Running several pieces of software at once, provided your laptop can do so, on multiple displays is something many workers now consider the norm.

Although running multiple monitors in landscape mode might be fairly normal, there could be a number of reasons why you'd want to change the format and rotate one of your displays into portrait. You might, for example, not have enough room in your workspace, or it could be more convenient for your eyes not to stretch so wide. Rotating your screen, in such cases, is your best bet.

Laptops and monitors can already switch between these two modes fairly easy, and there's a simple way to rotate your screen on your laptop or PC. Making this change can boost productivity but cutting down the time you spend on cycling between tasks, or it could give you a more optimized layout when you're on video calls, for example. Rotating the screen is fairly popular among programmers and developers, too, who want to be able to look at more of their code at once.

How to rotate a screen using the keyboard

For devices running Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11, users are able to make use of keyboard shortcuts to rotate their display.

To do this:

  1. Press the Ctrl key, the Alt key, and an arrow key to rotate the screen 90 degrees
  2. Press the combination again to rotate a further 90 degrees
  3. Repeat until you have the desired orientation

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.

How to rotate a screen using the Control Panel

(Image: © ITPro)

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

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

Screenshot showing the display settings on Windows

  1. Click on the Start Menu and search for Control Panel
  2. Click Appearance and Personalisation
  3. Click Display and Screen Resolution
  4. Click the screen you want to manipulate
  5. Click the orientation you prefer (Landscape or Portrait), as well as the orientation (Standard or Flipped)

Using the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel to rotate a display

How to rotate a screen using the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel

(Image: © ITPro)

The control panel for the built-in graphics card can also be used to rotate the display on your PC or laptop. In this example we're using Intel's HD Graphics Control Panel, but the process is similar for other providers, such as AMD.

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.

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.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.