Rotate Your Computer Screen to Foil Pranksters

To skip the introduction, click on Today’s Interesting Tidbit.

We’re going for a silly short tip today. I was going to post about useful Outlook features, but let’s do something fun instead. 

Both in the office (not for years) and at home (last week ), pranksters who think they’re amusing have rotated my computer screen. No, not physically. There are keyboard shortcuts to display the information on your monitor upside-down or sideways. Useful for a vertical monitor setup. Or if you think it’s hilarious to see someone sigh heavily when they return to their desk. (Please resist the urge to use this information for evil.)

On the plus side, the shortcut doesn’t appear to work if your computer is locked. But all it takes is walking a few steps away to help a coworker to leave your desk open to an attack of opportunity. Or I suppose someone could accidentally press the wrong key combination. Choose your hypothetical situation.

Now, instead of looking flustered and trying to read upside-down Google, you can roll your eyes, shake your head, reorient your screen, and move on.
Not to plotting revenge. Prank begets prank. It’s a vicious cycle culminating in plastic-wrapped offices. Just say “no.”

⚠️ Beware the advanced prankster who lures you into a false sense of security by using this method a few times before physically turning your monitor upside-down.


Today’s Interesting Tidbit

Rotating Your Screen Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for misuse of this information. Works on at least Windows 7 – 10.

Change the orientation of your screen by holding down the Control key, then holding down the Alt key, and finally pressing one of the arrow keys. Both Ctrl and Alt should still be held down while pressing the arrow key. It’s easy to figure out what each arrow does once you know one command, but here they all are for a landscape-oriented monitor:

CTRL + ALT + Up: Orients your screen right-side up in landscape.
CTRL + ALT + Down: Turns your screen upside-down.
CTRL + ALT + Right: Rotates your screen 90° to the right of normal. (Pressing this multiple times will not keep rotating it another 90°. )
CTRL + ALT + Left: Rotates your screen 90° to the left of normal.

If you have multiple monitors, the shortcut will reorient the currently selected screen. So if the wrong monitor is being affected, click your mouse pointer on the screen you want to change. The selected monitor may reset to your main display once you change orientation, so you may have to click into the correct monitor again if you need to use another shortcut.

Example: Just for fun, I want to orient my right monitor upside-down. Since I’m currently working in my left monitor, I have to first click somewhere in my right screen before pressing CTRL + ALT + Down arrow. Amusing, but now I need to get back to work. I try to reorient it to normal by pressing CTRL + ALT + Up, but nothing happens. This is because my left monitor is my main display and has been selected again automatically. I once again click into my right monitor, ignoring the disorienting movement of my mouse, and can then use CTRL + ALT + Up to fix my screen.