How to Flip the Display on a Dell Computer

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Computers are complex, and they have a lot of features you probably don't use. Some of the features are downright odd, such as the ability to flip the image on your display so that it's sideways or upside down on computers made by Dell and other manufacturers. This might seem like a bizarre thing to do – and you'll give yourself a "moment" if you do it accidentally – but sometimes it's genuinely useful.

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Dell Laptop Screen Rotation

Most of the time a computer's display is set to show an image that's a relatively wide rectangle, like a letter-sized envelope. This is referred to as "landscape" mode because landscape photos or paintings often have the same shape. You can change that orientation with a keyboard shortcut, though. Start by holding down the "Ctrl" and "Alt" keys, which are located on either side of the spacebar, and then click the down arrow key to flip the picture on your screen upside down. If you press either the left or right arrow, the screen windows flip 90 degrees to either side.

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Switching to Portrait

You might well wonder why you'd rotate screen windows, aside from possibly pranking an unsuspecting family member or coworker. The simple explanation is that it's sometimes useful to be able to look at the information on your screen in the long and narrow "portrait" view, instead of the usual short and wide perspective. It's great for websites with long pages, for example, or spreadsheets where you're looking at a few long columns of numbers. You'll also appreciate this little-known shortcut if you have to look at a chart or image that's been uploaded the wrong way around. Instead of downloading it and opening it up in a suitable program so it can be rotated, use the quick keystroke to flip the whole display and then click the "Ctrl-Alt-up arrow" combination to put it back when you're done.

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External Monitors Work Too

The same keystroke that works on a Dell laptop for screen rotation works with external monitors as well. If anything, it's more useful with an external monitor; you can't type on a laptop when it's tipped up on its side so you can use it in portrait mode. Depending on the mount you use, you may have the option to rotate your Dell monitor 90 degrees on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. That way you can sit down to a full work session in portrait mode if that works better for you.

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Other Ways to Do It

You don't necessarily have to use the keyboard shortcuts to rotate the screen windows. If you're more comfortable with menu options, click the "Settings" icon in Windows 10 and choose "Display." Look for the option called "Orientation" and switch it from "Landscape" to "Portrait." In older versions of Windows, do this by going into "Control Panel," then "Appearance and Personalization" and "Display and Screen Resolution." From there, you can choose between Portrait and Landscape modes. Some monitors, including Dell's UZ2315H flat panel, are explicitly designed to be used in either portrait or landscape mode. Typically they come with a program or driver that lets you select between the two modes, but you still have the option of using the regular keyboard or menu methods if you prefer.

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