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Vertical Monitor Setup (How To Guide For Windows & Mac)

It can feel strange if it's your first time viewing a vertical monitor. Common questions that may pop into your mind are, why do people use it, and do you need a special monitor?

In this detailed guide, we will explain what is a vertical monitor setup and, furthermore, how you can set up one for yourself!   

Monitors come in all shapes, sizes, and specifications.

If you use a computer in your day-to-day activities, chances are, they are probably the most important thing you're looking at - besides your loved ones, of course!

With innovations inside the tech industry, we have seen higher refresh rates, larger displays, and increased pixel density. 

You're likely accustomed to a regular horizontal monitor, but what about a vertical one?

Vertical monitors, in their most basic form, are regular monitors that have been turned 90 degrees.

Usually, there isn't anything particularly special about a vertical monitor, and chances are your current one can perform this function.

There are two requirements, though, and that is the monitor's ability to physically pivot and software that allows you to flip your actual desktop and adjust your resolution. 

If you’re new to the subject of vertical monitors, you’re probably asking yourself why would you need one?

Well, apart from having another display option on your desk, they also offer increased productivity in many ways, ranging from entertainment, work, and gaming.

Once your second monitor is vertically assembled, you’ll be able to view multiple documents while researching content at the same time.

Software developers or those day-trading will specifically enjoy the ease of writing code or watching charts.

Gamers, on the other hand, can have their Twitch or Discord open to easily communicate with viewers and friends.  

Vertical Monitor Setup

Vertical Monitor Setup (Complete How-To Guide) 

There are two important stages when setting up a vertical monitor.

There is the practical hands-on step where you physically need to rotate the monitor and a software step where you need to configure your display.

Since your operating system could be Windows or Mac, we have separated the instructions to make your vertical monitor setup as easy as possible. 

Stage 1 – Physically rotate your monitor into the vertical position. 

The first and most important thing you need to do when setting up a vertical monitor is to determine if it is actually compatible.

In order to rotate your monitor to a 90-degree angle, you either have to have a built-in monitor mount that is capable of turning, or the ability to install a 3rd party mounting bracket via the VESA standard. 

A good example of an included monitor mount that is able to tilt, pivot, and rotate is the Samsung Odyssey G3.

When we refer to an 'included' monitor mount, we mean that there is no extra assembly, accessories, or bracket that needs installing.

You simply have to turn the monitor sideways, using both your hands and a little force. 

On the other hand, some monitors can only stand horizontal by default, and in this case, they'll likely be able to only tilt forward or backward.

Under those circumstances, you'll need to check if your monitor is wall mountable or is labeled as 'VESA Standard .'

This means that your monitor can screw into a 3rd party desk/wall mount, and it will then have the ability to turn 90 degrees.

Two great budget options to look at are the HUANUO Single Monitor Desk Mount and the WALI Monitor Wall Mount. You can usually find them for under $40, and the quality is great. 

If for some reason, your monitor cannot turn vertical or does not have the ability to mount an external bracket, then you likely won't be able to set up a vertical monitor.

Sure, you can theoretically turn any monitor on its side and try to balance it, but we highly recommend you don't if it wasn't intended to be used that way.  

Stage 2.1 – Vertical Monitor Setup For Windows 

Now that you’ve physically turned your monitor vertically, you’ll need to change the display settings in your operating system.

Monitors aren’t like smartphones that auto-rotate to the angle you’re viewing them, so you’ll need to follow these easy steps. 

  1. 1
    Make sure your PC is turned on and right-click anywhere on the desktop (background). A gray box should appear, and you'll need to navigate to "Display Settings."  
  2. 2
    Once the Display Setting tab is open, you’ll find a range of options. If you have more than one monitor, you’ll need to click the “Identify” option to ensure you have selected the right monitor.
  3. 3
    Now that the correct monitor is selected, you'll need to find the "Display Orientation" setting under "Scale and Layout ." It should say "Landscape"; therefore, to bring it into vertical alignment, this must change to "Portrait."
  4. 4
    As soon as you've clicked on "Portrait," a pop-up should occur. This will ask if you want to "Keep these display settings," which you must then agree to by selecting "Keep changes."  
  5. 5
    Your vertical monitor should now be ready in Windows, and you can begin browsing applications, documents, and data. 

Stage 2.2 – Vertical Monitor Setup For Mac 

If you’re setting up a vertical display on Mac, the method is going to be different when compared to Windows since they’re separate operating systems.

Nevertheless, it's still pretty straightforward with the following steps: 

  1. 1
    Make sure your Mac is turned on and find the Apple icon. This should be at the top left of your display. Click the Apple icon, and then select "System Preferences."
  2. 2
    The "System Preferences" menu should now be open with multiple icons and settings. Look for an icon that looks like a monitor and click on "Displays." Alternatively, you can also hold down the 'command key' and select "Display." 
  3. 3
    With the "Display" tab now open, there should be three main settings, "resolution, rotation, and refresh rate." Click on "rotation," and then select "90 degrees." A pop-up should appear that asks
  4. 4
    As soon as you've clicked on "Portrait," a pop-up should occur. This will ask if you want to "Keep these display settings," which you must then agree to by selecting "Keep changes."  
  5. 5
    Your Mac Vertical Monitor should now be ready. You can close the “System Preferences” window. You can now test out your display by opening a program of your choice.
vertical computer monitor

Pros Of Vertical Monitor Set-Up 

  • Favored amongst coders and programmers 
    Code is usually long in length but short in width. Having a vertical monitor allows you to have more work on-screen, with less scrolling, and therefore increases productivity for coders and programmers while they're working.
  • Maintains your peripheral vision and avoids neck pain
    Having multiple monitors on your desk means more to look at. However, if they're all landscape, you will have to start turning your head.

    Constantly looking left and right will eventually lead to neck strain after a few hours of work. Therefore, vertical monitors ensure everything is closer and easier to see.
  • Online textbooks are more efficient for school work and varsity 
    When you’re in high school or college, there’s a good chance you’ll need to refer to your online textbook or assignment instructions.

    A vertical monitor allows you to keep important information open while you draft your own document on your main display.
  • Elevate your gaming and streaming experience 
    Gaming and streaming are rapidly increasing in popularity. One of the main aspects of this booming industry is the social aspect that involves interacting with fans and friends.

    Vertical monitors are great at updating your live streaming chat while you play games (think of it as a massive smartphone screen for chat) and keeping track of your own Discord channel between friends.
  • Multitask between social media while you work 
    Everyone likes to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Spotify while they’re working.

    Instead of completely minimizing what you’re busy with and further distracting yourself for longer than you should, a vertical monitor lets you keep your social media luxury to the side.

    Skipping a music track or scrolling through comments just got faster!
  • Save some desk space 
    If you have multiple monitors on your desk, chances are they span across most of your table.

    Turning one or more of your monitors vertical therefore keeps everything closer without having the feeling of a cluttered peripheral set-up.
vertical monitor

Cons Of Vertical Monitor Set-Up 

  • Vertical monitor set-ups can be expensive 
    Monitors that can pivot and rotate can be pricey. In addition, 3rd party mounting brackets can also add to the cost.

    In order to stay within your budget, we suggest looking at basic monitors with lower refresh rates and standard response times.

    Vertical monitors should be an addition to your already functioning setup, so don't overspend on unnecessary features.
  • A multi-monitor set-up can feel overwhelming 
    If you're used to having lots of tabs open, or minimized programs, then a vertical monitor next to your horizontal one can feel overwhelming to tech newbies.

    Some users are so accustomed to a single screen that they'll actually forget the efficiency and options a secondary vertical monitor can provide.
  • Vertical monitors consume more power 
    Monitors can consume anywhere between 25 to 100 watts of power depending on the size and panel type.

    If you're not actively using your vertical monitor and your computer is on for 7-12 hours per day, electric charges can accumulate over the year.
  • Vertical monitors are not intended for most videogames 
    Sure, you could probably play Tetris perfectly on a vertical monitor, but most newer titles are optimized for landscape viewing only.

    If you force a first-person-shooter game on a vertical monitor, prepare for a weird point-of-view (POV) and an even worse field-of-view (FOV) in-game.   

Frequently Asked Vertical Monitor Set-Up Questions 

Can you watch videos on a vertical monitor? 

Yes, vertical monitors are great for watching YouTube and videos on the side.

However, if you want to watch full-length movies and have a somewhat cinema experience, you’ll need to take into consideration that a vertical monitor won’t play the video at its intended resolution. 

What is a good size for a vertical monitor? 

Generally, a good-sized vertical monitor can be anywhere between 24 and 27 inches.

27 inches might be too big for some, but it's great for those looking at portrait photography and lengthy pages of detail.

Furthermore, it's always a good idea to try to match your primary horizontal monitor size with your vertical one, so keep that in mind too. 

Can all monitors be vertical? 

Most modern-day monitors can be used vertically, either by the included built-in stand itself or using an external VESA standard mount.

If you're looking for a vertical monitor, try to keep an eye out for keywords such as 'rotating, portrait, landscape, and tilt' functions.

An example of this is the HP VH240a Full HD monitor.  

What should you look for in a vertical monitor? 

Since most vertical monitors will be used as a secondary monitor, you should cover the basics and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Look for a monitor that is at least 1920 x 1080 in resolution, has an IPS or VA panel for good color accuracy and has the ability to rotate on its own without a 3rd party mount if possible.  

How many vertical monitors should you have? 

Whether you’re a streamer, gamer, or working professional, in most cases, one vertical monitor should be enough.

You should also ensure that your main monitor remains horizontal.

Having two vertical monitors next to each other could become quite distracting when trying to focus your peripheral vision.  


Conclusion

In summary, a vertical monitor is a standard monitor that has been turned 90 degrees or portrait.

Monitors that have been turned vertical either make use of the VESA standard or a built-in ‘rotatable’ mount.

In order to turn the monitor image vertical, users will also have to configure their 'display settings in Windows or 'system preferences' in Mac.