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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks System 10.4
Tiger only hintMac OS 10.4 added a great feature to the Displays panel (for most users): the ability to rotate the display 90º, 180º, or 270º, which is great for the use of portrait monitors that can rotate, or just for fun.

For those of us with Powerbooks, this option is not available -- at least not at first. Obviously, this is turned off on PowerBooks for a reason: we have fixed displays, but it's still fun to play around with, and here's how. Open the System Preferences program, then hold down Option while clicking the Displays panel. When it opens, you'll see the Rotate button. You now have the ability to rotate your display! Have fun ... but if you only have a trackpad, it can get tricky to navigate.

[robg adds: This trick works only with ATI-equipped PowerBooks, so the 12" model (along with some older PowerBooks, I think) won't be able to use it. Note too, that this was mentioned in the comments to this hint, but I felt it was worth calling it out specifically regarding PowerBooks.]
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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks | 22 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: theocrates on May 20, '05 11:13:12AM

Be careful with this. I rotated my 14" iBook G4 for kicks, and when I went back to Displays by option-clicking, the Rotation field wouldn't reappear despite several tries!

A quick restart and subsequent option-click on the Displays pane solved the problem--but only after spending 10 minutes fighting with my trackpad! LOL!



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: GKR on May 20, '05 11:22:15AM

Ditto this on an eMac. I found that by quitting System Preferences, then opening again, then restarting the Graphics preference with the Option key pressed, Rotate would then appear and I could return to standard settings.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: fractacular on May 20, '05 11:24:01AM

I had the same thing happen -- the rotation menu disappeared after I rotated. However, you can just quit system preferences and restart it, then option click displays to get the menu again; no need to reboot the computer.

Now, somebody needs to write a driver to change the trackpad orientation so I can actually use rotation to read documents in portrait (among other things!) -- I've always done this in Preview by rotation 270 and going full screen, but it'd be great to be able to have the mouse work like this....



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: jdarnel2 on May 20, '05 11:26:51AM

This also works on my iBook G4. One note...you have to close the System Preferences and reopen them to get the menu back after you've changed the setting. This gave me a quick scare. :)



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: Outrager on May 20, '05 11:41:59AM

If you have an iBook, just hold the Option button when selecting a rotation degree to keep the selection box visible.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: MorganizeIT on May 20, '05 12:18:09PM

Neato! I found that when the screen is rotated I can connect using Timbuktu or Remote desktop and "Up" is still up. Just a curiousity but I guess it might be handy if I had a need for portrait orientation.



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What I think this is for...
Authored by: schaps on May 20, '05 12:39:29PM

I suspect Apple is working on a Mac tablet (the "Mablet?"), and this, with inkwell, will make it work.

That's certainly easier than a separate "tablet edition" of OS X.



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What I think this is for...
Authored by: styrafome on Jul 18, '05 11:51:11AM

I suspect that this feature was added to catch up to Windows.

See, back in the 80s, you could get a Mac with a Radius Pivot Display. It was an innovative combination that let you rotate your workspace from horizontal to vertical so you could naturally view tall orientation pages like Word documents.

In the 90s, Radius moved on to other things and Apple didn't pursue auto-rotation of the monitor. Sadly, Windows picked up this feature. It got so bad that my friend felt cheated last year when he went out and bought a Samsung pivoting monitor, brought it home, plugged it into his G5 tower, and it didn't pivot the desktop when he pivoted the hardware. It turns out OS X didn't support auto-rotating the desktop in Panther with any video card. Pivoting was a Windows-only feature. (In his defense, I find that some of these monitors are advertised in Mac retailer catalogs with the pivoting feature, when they should not be. The retailers are simply using the generic ad copy and, improperly, are not editing them for Mac-only limitations.)

Now Apple seems to have figured it out. They finally added a pivot feature to Tiger so you don't have to have a Windows box to enjoy a monitor like that one, though specific video cards are still required. I think the pivot feature is not hidden on desktops. It is hidden on laptops because normal users aren't expected to be rotating their laptops awkwardly 90 degrees.

Therefore, having a hidden pivot feature on Mac laptops is not necessarily a harbinger of tablets, not if you know your Mac and Windows history.

The funny thing is, whether Apple added pivot support for desktops or for eventual tablets, either way the basic reason was that Apple needed to catch up to Windows.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: claudio on May 20, '05 04:10:05PM

Haha :-) this is fun.
Try this with one of your co-workers - if he/she has one of the Macs where you can rotate the screen, just wait until he/she left his/her Mac unattended - flip it to 270° and watch him come back :-))) *LOL*

---

- claudio



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: Marius_Th on May 20, '05 06:01:45PM

Or go to an Applestore, and rotate All the screens you can ^^



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: powerbookg3user0 on May 20, '05 10:34:44PM

Hehe, I did just that once before, but made the keyboard Dvorak.

---
Takumi Murayama



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: claudio on May 20, '05 04:13:05PM

This can be useful for adding security to your portable, too.

---

- claudio



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: griffineyes on May 20, '05 04:28:28PM

Works on my iMac 2Ghz also. It would be a great prank because it changes the mouse response as well to a very strange input technique. not just switching up to left and so on but it seems like up is on a diagonal.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: ksars on May 20, '05 06:28:55PM

hmmm ... someone out there should write a hack that ties this into the motion sensor on the new powerbooks. Imagine holding your Pbook like a real book and having the display automatically switch to the correct orientation....



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: ksars on May 20, '05 06:51:53PM

Duh! i see now that someone already mentioned this in the previous thread robg linked to. Apols ...



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: mmmmark on May 20, '05 08:50:28PM

Now some enterprising individual needs to figure out a way to make the desklap iMacs pivot their screens on the telscoping arm.

It was widely rumored that this was the original plan and a test iMac was spotted on the Cupertino campus in "portait" orientation.

Maybe the software (or video card) hadn't evolved enough at that point.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: avarame on May 21, '05 01:04:30AM

Can't get it to work on my Gig Ethernet PowerBook (800MHz G4, ATI RADEON Mobility 7500, 32MB VRAM). The rotation controls do not show up.



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10.4: Enable screen rotatiion on some PowerBooks
Authored by: nemesys on May 23, '05 12:40:01PM

Doesn't work on my 17" 1.5GHz either. It did work when I hooked up an external LCD panel, but not with the built-in display...



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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks
Authored by: elrac on Jul 06, '05 07:36:44PM

Is there any way to do this with the command line. If so this would be perfect. I am already using it to read PDFs. The power book sits on its side fine if you leave it open to about a 120deg angle.



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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks
Authored by: petber on Jul 18, '05 01:24:35AM

This was a wonderful hint. I have used it happily to read from my 15" PB on airplanes. However, it stopped working for me after upgrading to 10.4.2. Is that a general observation?



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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks
Authored by: PopMcGee on Jul 22, '05 11:04:19AM

Yep, stopped for me too. Any way how to re-enable this?



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10.4: Enable screen rotation on some PowerBooks
Authored by: intimabear on Aug 15, '07 04:00:02AM

Nothing worked for my 17 inch powerbook, even equipped with a ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 card. I had to download some updater software to do the rotating for me. It can be found at... http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/13327



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