Simple monitor rotation utility

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An easy way to rotate your display to portrait mode.

iRotate is a simple and cross-graphics way to switch display modes.

Many LCD monitors have the ability to physically rotate from the standard landscape mode to portrait orientation with the narrow side of the screen at the top.

This can be a useful way to work with Word documents; you can see the full page view in the original or even larger than life size. The Word 2007 full-screen reading mode makes a lot more sense with a portrait monitor.

For Excel users you can see more rows on the screen at once, though less columns. Also you can see print previews etc in large size.

Reading a document can be easier (in Word, Acrobat or web pages) from a full size portrait screen.

When finishing up or proofing a document in our office we rotate our second monitor to portrait mode.

Another use for portrait mode is when several people are crowded around the desk trying to see the screen.

Obviously you need a rotate-capable monitor, but if you don’t have one it’s worth keeping in mind for your next screen purchase. Twisting landscape/portrait monitors are fairly common these days and cost little or no more.

The trick is getting Windows to display in portrait mode to match the physical orientation of the screen.

Windows XP and Vista don’t support portrait mode natively though the upcoming Windows 7 will.

Alternatively the monitor maker may supply a utility to do the job. Frankly we’ve had very mixed success with these add-ons. They can be hard to work with, buggy and limited to certain graphics cards.


iRotate

We’ve been happy with iRotate, a simple little utility from EnTech. It’s worked for us on many different machines, graphics cards and versions of Windows with no hassles.

The small programs loads and show in the taskbar a numbered icon for each monitor. Right-click an icon to show the rotate options.

889 IRotate taskbar icon and right click menu - Simple monitor rotation utility

Each display can be rotated independently and there are different shortcut combinations for each monitor.

iRotate is free for personal use and start from only $1 per user for organizations.


Disable the shortcuts

Sadly the default shortcuts are a problem, they conflict with some common MS Office keystrokes. Trying to make selection by word (eg Ctrl+Shift+left arrow) starts twisting your screen around!

The solution is the iRotate.ini file – a simple text file you can open in Notepad.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7, iRotate.ini is stored in the UsersAppDataRoaming folder. If necessary, search your hard drive (including hidden folders) to find it.

For a two monitor computer the default configuration file looks like this:

[Device1]
RotationError=0
[Device2]
RotationError=0

We just added two more lines to iRotate.ini to make this:

[Device1]
RotationError=0
[Device2]
RotationError=0
[Options]
Hotkeys=0

This will disable all the shortcuts immediately, we didn’t even need to restart the program. You can change the shortcut keys to something that suits you but we don’t rotate our monitor often so shortcuts seem necessary.

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