Flip Your Monitor Vertically

My setup at Faithlife (including standing desk with electric motor!)

Remember that time when someone showed you how to hit Alt+Tab on your keyboard to switch programs? You were either like, “I can do that with a mouse, so why do I need to learn a keyboard shortcut,” or you were like, “WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!”

I was WOW WOW. Where had this tip been all my digital life? It’s so obvious to me now that keyboard shortcuts are the most efficient way to tell a computer what to do. But it never occurred to me before I was shown.

So let me try you on another digital tip that has made me equally WOW WOW, a tip that I wish I had come across years ago but that never occurred to me: flip your widescreen monitor vertical.

I’m serious. Try it. It’s nothing less than twelve WOWs. Everything but video-consumption and graphic design works better on a tall screen. The web. Word-processing. Document-reading. Um… What else are you doing on your computer?

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My daily work setup from a while back

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. Kerry McGonigal on May 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    So the million dollar question is . . . How does one do this? Did you change the settings on your laptop or on the monitor or both?

    • Mark Ward on May 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      It’s true: not every monitor can do it; this monitor has a square slot for the stand, and I switched the stand out for another that allowed the vertical orientation.

      Mac OS X, at least on Mavericks, can handle this no problem. It is my understanding that Windows 8 can do so as well, but I believe that with previous versions of Windows you may need a specific device driver.

      In any case, give it a shot if you can. It works so well for writers that I think it’s worth jury-rigging.

  2. David on May 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    This sounds like a great idea for some people, but when I started thinking about this sentence, I started to realize it wouldn’t work for me: “What else are you doing on your computer?” Let’s see… JIRA Agile, Trello, Eclipse and other IDEs, multiple terminal windows, Outlook, spreadsheets, Amazon Web Services console, etc. When I consider that these are the applications I use most of my work day and that they work better in a horizontal configuration, then I think I better stick with landscape mode.

    I guess this might work if you you’re primarily a writer or researcher, but I imagine it wouldn’t work so well for most people in IT-related fields. I suppose it just reinforces my technology mantra: “Use the toolset that works for you.”

  3. Mark Ward on May 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    You’re right, too, Dave. =)

  4. Duncan Johnson on May 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I started doing this with Windows 7 a few weeks back with no problems. The key is the “Orientation” setting in the screenshot below:


    This was made on my home computer, where the second monitor doesn’t rotate, but I did this at work really easily.

  5. Brian Morgan on May 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Well, since my 20″ won’t rotate, now you created a desire that cannot be met on the current budget….thanks Mark! I will rejoice with you, enjoy your vertical orientation. I will keep lower to the earth and continue to grovel in my horizontal perspective!! 🙂

  6. […] for watching videos) works better when you rotate your monitor 90 degrees so that it’s vertical rather than horizontal. (A vertical monitor is ideal for tracing the arguments of Bible […]

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