How to Fix a Rotated Screen on Windows or Mac

In Knowledge Base Blog by Amanda FaganLeave a Comment

It’s the oldest trick in the office. For a colleague to rotate your computer screen when you step away from your desk.

How to Fix a Rotated Screen on Windows or MacWhile software engineers developed the rotation option to help people connect a second monitor, if you accidentally switch your main display - or a workmate plays a practical joke - you could end up with an upside-down or sideways screen.

5 Ways to Fix a Rotated Screen on Windows

The shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + ↑

More detailed explanations:

Some devices have a built-in rotation sensor (tablets, 2-in-1 PCs, and certain desktops). If yours does, then simply rotating your screen could fix the issue. If not, double-check you haven’t enabled Rotation Lock by opening ‘Action Center.’

If you cannot see a rotation lock setting in the Action Center, unplug and reconnect the USB that attaches to your monitor, which should fix the issue.

Pressing Ctrl + Alt + ↓ can flip your monitor upside-down. If you press Ctrl + Alt + ↑, this should correct the screen orientation. The same is true if your screen looks back-to-front. Use the same keys in combination with → or ←.

Some systems use the {shift key} instead of Ctrl (so Shift + Alt + ↑). Just as confusing, some systems need you to use the AltGr key located to the right of the keyboard.

Sometimes, a manual fix is your only option. If you’re running Windows 7 or later, you can switch between portrait and landscape views as below:

  • Right click the desktop
  • Select Windows Resolution (Windows 7 or 8) or Display Settings (Windows 10)
  • Click the Orientation drop-down menu, then choose Portrait or Landscape depending on your setup
  • Click Apply to reset your screen to its original position

If none of the above works, you may have to change your graphics card options. You can do this either by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Graphics Options, Graphics Properties, NVidia Control Panel, Catalyst Control Center or Intel Control Center, then adjusting the Rotation.

Or, use the search bar.

Finally, consider switching your Rotation settings. There is no fixed way to do this so it may require some searching though most graphics cards have a Rotation or Orientation setting in the ‘Displays Manager’ menu.

You may have to use ‘Advanced Options’ to adjust the setting. You could also use this opportunity to disable the Hotkeys menu item to avoid another accidental switch.

4 Steps to Fix a Rotated Screen on Mac

There is no specific shortcut on Macs, but the process follows the same four steps.

1 ) Press and hold Command + Option (and keep pressed throughout the remaining 3 steps).

If you’re using a Windows keyboard on your Mac device, hold Ctrl + Alt.

2 ) Open System Preferences by clicking the Apple symbol in the top-left corner of your screen, then clicking System Preferences in the dropdown menu.

If Systems Preferences was already open, quit it, then restart the process from Step 1.

3 ) Choose Displays (while still holding the two keys).

If you have multiple monitors, select the monitor that has the incorrect rotation applied before moving onto Step 4.

4 ) The Command + Option keys unlock ‘Rotation’ options in the settings screen from which you can select Standard, to return to your typical setup.

If you don’t see Rotation options, your machine does not support Apple’s built-in screen orientation settings. In this case, check for other open programs via your Applications folder that could have flipped your screen.

A rotated screen is a nuisance, to say the least. Once you know how to switch it back to the right way around, your colleagues will need a new practical joke!