How To Rotate The Screen On A Google Chromebook

You may not think that rotating your screen is something you’d ever want to do, but trust us – it can have multiple useful applications, such as watching portrait videos or viewing pictures, working in the arts, and giving presentations.

Whatever your need, we’re here to show you quickly and simply a couple of different methods for rotating the screen on a Google Chromebook. 

For any additional information (like what happens if you have a 2-in-1 Chromebook or a second display), or if you have any other queries, then please see our FAQs at the end of this article.

How to rotate the screen on a Google Chromebook (keyboard shortcut)

  1. Power up and sign into your Google Chromebook
  2. At any point when using the Chromebook, press CTRL + SHIFT + REFRESH together on your keyboard. 
    1. The ‘Refresh’ key looks like a revolving arrow, and can be located on most Chromebook keyboards above the numbers 3 and 4.
  3. With each press of this keyboard combination, your screen will rotate 90 degrees to the right, from 90 degrees, to 180 degrees, to 270 degrees, and finally back to standard 360/zero degrees.

Note: If this is the first time you’re rotating your screen, you’ll be asked to confirm that you do indeed wish to rotate it. Simply click ‘OK’ or ‘Yes’ in the dialogue box which pops up.

How to rotate the screen on a Google Chromebook (settings menu)

  1. Power up and sign into your Google Chromebook
  2. Head to the settings menu by first clicking the Date and Time in the bottom-right corner
  3. Next, click the Settings icon (shaped like a cog or gear)
  4. Now, select ‘Device’ from the left-hand sidebar, and then select ‘Displays’ from the ‘Device’ menu
  5. Locate ‘Orientation’ and click on the drop-box to the right of it
  6. Now, from the drop-down menu, select your preferred orientation from the options: 90, 180, 270, or Standard
  7. Exit the settings menu to apply your changes

And there you have it! Whether you prefer the temporary ease of the keyboard shortcut, or would rather apply a more permanent change to the orientation of your screen via the settings menu, you can master both methods in no time at all by simply following our step-by-step guides.

For any additional information or unanswered queries, please direct your attention to our FAQs, located below.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I want to rotate the screen on my Google Chromebook?

There are plenty of reasons why you might wish to rotate the screen on your Google Chromebook. Chromebooks are so light and easy to work with, it’s handy to have the versatility afforded by the orientation options. Perhaps you’re watching a video that’s been shot in portrait and you wish to rotate your screen 90 degrees to view it in fullscreen. Perhaps you’re looking to give a presentation that would benefit from a different orientation.

Of course, you may also have a setup that includes a second display – perhaps you work in graphic design or some other visual media. Rotating one display but not the other (or rotating both to different orientations) can provide the user any number of different methods of working, which can come in handier than you might think.

Can I make the rotated screen the default view on my Google Chromebook?

Yes, absolutely! Whilst rotating your Google Chromebook’s screen with the keyboard shortcut is a temporary change, you can make the change more fixed by applying it in the settings menu. Once done, the screen will remain in this rotation unless you change it back manually, or reset the device to factory settings. 

In other words, no matter whether you reset it as standard, turn it on or off, or log out and into your Google account, the applied changes to the default screen rotation will remain constant so long as you apply them via the settings menu.

How do I reset the screen rotation to default on my Google Chromebook?

There’s no quick keyboard shortcut for this, unfortunately, but the process is still simple. You just have to cycle through the 4 rotation options via the keyboard shortcut, until you return to default, or head to the settings menu as described above, and when it comes to choosing your display’s orientation, simply select ‘Standard’.

Can I rotate a second display screen as well?

Sure! If you’ve got a second screen hooked up as a second display, you can rotate this in the same way you’d rotate your first, or original screen. In fact, you can rotate both screens separately, since rotating one will not automatically rotate the other.

When you change the orientation of your screen with either keyboard shortcuts or via the settings menu, the application of those changes to the display depends on which display you’ve got your cursor in. Make sure to scroll your cursor over to the screen/display you wish to rotate before you execute the shortcut or settings changes.

I have a 2-in-1 Chromebook, can I still rotate the screen?

If you have a 2-in-1 Chromebook, which can act as a tablet as well as a laptop, then you might have noticed that the keyboard shortcut for rotating the screen isn’t working, or that the option for orientation in the settings is greyed out. This is most likely because you currently have your Chromebook flipped into tablet mode.

When in tablet mode, rotation of the screen is disabled. In order to enable the option, you’ll have to first flip it back into laptop mode. Once you’ve done so, simply follow the instructions in the tutorials above. 

Interestingly, if you change the orientation settings via the settings menu, then one of the only ways to override these settings (other than going in and manually altering them again), is to flip your 2-in-1 Chromebook into tablet mode at any time.

I’ve rotated my screen and my trackpad is acting strange, what should I do?

When you rotate your screen on a Google Chromebook, the trackpad’s orientation rotates with it. This can be confusing, and we’re not surprised you’re asking this question. It may take some time to get used to, but once you’ve mastered it, the process does make some sense.

It’s easiest to try and visualize it. When you flip your screen 90 degrees to the right, imagine that your trackpad has also flipped 90 degrees to the right. When you scroll ‘Up’ on it, you’ll see that the cursor actually scrolls to ‘Right’. Since your trackpad is roughly the same shape as your screen, you can quickly overcome the strangeness of working like this by pretending that the trackpad is the screen. Instead of thinking of the trackpad as strictly directional, move about it according to where you want to move to on the screen, depending on how it’s been rotated. 

We hope this helps. It’s difficult to explain in words, though, and we highly recommend that you take the time to just practice. You’ll soon understand what we mean, so long as you don’t panic that something’s gone wrong. And once you’ve got to grips with it, you’ll find it easy enough to work with.