How to Set Up a Vertical Monitor

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Using a vertical monitor can be an advantage for both photo editing, as well as for a number of other disciplines like coding, as the portrait monitor orientation can allow you to better use your screen real-estate for photos and work shot as portraits.

Vertical monitor setup is not always straightforward, but you can follow the quick steps in this article to easily use your monitor with a 90 degree rotation.

In this article, we will answer the questions:

  • How to know if a monitor can be vertical?
  • Are vertical monitors worth it?
  • Can any monitors go vertical?
  • How to Setup A Vertical Monitor?


Can Any Monitor Go Vertical?

Most modern monitors now have the option of vertical set up, but this is less common among the cheaper monitors.

To determine if you have a monitor that can rotate into a portrait orientation monitor, you should look for the button on the back of the stand that when pressed, allows it to move up and down. Often by pressing this button, or one next to it, you can rotate the screen 90 degrees to move it into vertical orientation.

But the exact steps, and even whether this is possible or not, varies between monitor to monitor, so for the definitive answer on how to turn your monitor vertical, take a look at your user manual.

If your monitor stand doesn’t allow you to turn the monitor vertical, then it is possible to remove the stand and attach the display to a separate monitor arm that can be rotated. Using this method, any monitor can be set up vertically.


Vertical Monitor Setup

Portrait monitor setup is divided into a few easy steps, depending on whether you use Windows or Mac. This is particularly useful when editing portrait photos, as the screen does not then have large, blank, wasted areas.

What should i put on my vertical monitor?

Vertical Monitor Setup Windows 10

Step 1: Move Monitor into Portrait Orientation. Physically rotate or swivel your monitor 90 degrees into a vertical orientation, through either the included stand, or by using a separate monitor arm.

Step 2: On Your Windows Desktop, Right-Click and Open ‘Display Settings’.

Vertical Monitor setup Windows 10

Step 3: If Using Multiple Monitors, Use the ‘Identify’ Button to Find the Monitor You Wish to Make Vertical. If you are only using one monitor, you can skip this step.

Portrait monitor setup

Step 4: Scroll Down the Display Options, and Select a Display Orientation of ‘Portrait’. Depending on the direction that you physically moved your screen, you may need to select a screen portrait mode of ‘Portrait (flipped)’. Once you have done this, accept the changes to finish setting up your monitor vertically.

How to set up a vertical monitor

Vertical Monitor Setup Mac

There are a few potential ways to setup a monitor vertically with a Mac. It is also possible to temporarily flip the screen vertically in some programs, so this might be worth trying first.

Rotate Mac Screen Shortcut

In some programs (such as when reading PDFs) you can temporarily rotate the screen 90 degrees by holding the control key then right-clicking the mouse.

To Permanently Rotate the Screen

Step 1: Press and Hold Option / Alt and Cmd and keep them held down

Step 2: With the Buttons in Step 1 Held Down, Open System Preferences, Then Displays

vertical monitor setup Mac
Portrait monitor mac

Step 3: Use the Button in ‘Displays’ labelled ‘Rotation: Standard’ to Change Screen Rotation, and Accept the Changes. You will either want to set it to 90 degrees or 270 degrees to get monitor portrait orientation depending on the direction that you physically rotated your screen.

how to set up a vertical monitor mac

What’s the Point of a Vertical Monitor?

Vertical monitors can be very useful for certain kinds of work, particularly for photo editing portraits. You can see below that the photo was taken in portrait mode, which means that opening it in Photoshop causes the photo to display in a relatively small size, with lots of wasted screen real-estate.

horizontal monitor example
Horizontal monitor using Photoshop
what's the point of a vertical monitor?
Vertical monitor using Photoshop

By rotating the monitor 90 degrees and applying vertical monitor setup, the photo now better fits the available screen space, and can be displayed larger. This makes it much easier to work on.

What Should I Put on My Vertical Monitor?

The same also applies to other areas, such as coding, where a vertical screen helps you to visualize more lines of code at once, but also for general reading and web editing, as the vertical format suits a general reading style much more.

Follow Tim Daniels:

Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

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