Reading PDF files on a Laptop

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 03-17-2010 05:30 PM 13488 reads 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I many times download pdf files for later viewing. When I am at home using my laptop, I am usually sitting on the sofa. If I am cruising the web, I have the machine on the coffee table. When I want to relax and read for a while, I grab the laptop, sit back, and put my legs out. This particular laptop has a fairly wide screen and pdf files are tall and skinny. In printer talk this is: Screen = Landscape mode, Document = portrait mode. I can not read the documents very well if I view a whole page at a time.

If I zoom into the document, I can certainly read it. But many of these are written in two columns like a magazine (because that is where many come from). This makes me have to scroll down while reading the left side, then scroll back to the top, and scroll back down again while reading the right side. It is ok, but kind of clunky.

So the other night I tried something else. I selected the view where the whole document is viewable. I then rotated the document counter-clockwise. I then rotated the laptop clockwise. I am now holding the laptop like a book, and always reading the right hand side. It works great for me. The page turner buttons (the arrow keys) are now located on the bottom left corner of the left hand page, and really easy to find in the darkened room.

I thought it was kind of neat, so I showed it to a few people. They were amazed at how nice it was.
And it actually fits in my lap better.
Give it a try,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

19 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3640 days

#1 posted 03-17-2010 05:39 PM

I tried turning my desk on end, but the monitor kept sliding off.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Eric_S's profile


1551 posts in 2617 days

#2 posted 03-17-2010 05:53 PM

Luckily, my widescreen monitor actually rotates 90 degrees :) but for a laptop it sounds like a good idea.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 03-17-2010 06:06 PM

so many things to say, but I’ll just be simple and to the point – very cool steve. apparently one doesn’t need to be a rocket surgeon to come up with good ideas ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View FredG's profile


140 posts in 3119 days

#4 posted 03-17-2010 06:09 PM

In Windows.
Hold down Ctrl + Alt and click one of the arrow buttons to rotate the screen image.

-- Fred

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2462 days

#5 posted 03-17-2010 06:12 PM

Cool Idea

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View jm82435's profile


1284 posts in 3164 days

#6 posted 03-17-2010 06:16 PM

Great tip Steve.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2730 days

#7 posted 03-17-2010 06:27 PM

I laughed realy hard when I read your post. I learned the hard way that you can do this on the keyboard. Somehow i did this by mistake last year and I had no idea what had happened. Everyone who saw it did not know what was wrong. I had it this way for 3 -4 days before finally taking my computer and monitor to a repair shop. When they showed me what i had done we all laughed so hard I started farting and cleared the room. I think that got morre laughs that the computer problem. Don’t eat a big plate of Red Beans and rice before an uncontrollable laugh!
Who knows what other magical mystical things our computers are capable of that we do not know about.

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3304 days

#8 posted 03-17-2010 07:04 PM

Thanks. I really like it. The laptop also blows it’s little fan out the back and not into your lap. Much cooler.

To rotate just the pdf file and not your whole screen, select rotate from the Acrobat’s view menu. Or hold down Ctrl and Shift and then press – (the minus key) to rotate left. Or hold down Ctrl and Shift and press + to rotate right.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 03-17-2010 10:44 PM

I prefer to leave my laptop stationary, and just lay on MY side.

It works, but … there’s IS a tendency for me to fall asleep ;-)

-- -- Neil

View russv's profile


262 posts in 2591 days

#10 posted 03-18-2010 03:42 AM

sitting? what a waste of a perfectly good couch!!


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#11 posted 03-18-2010 11:44 AM

I think I like the idea, but I tried Ctrl+alt+arrow and it didn’t work for me. I use Firefox. Maybe they don’t have it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3401 days

#12 posted 03-18-2010 01:28 PM

Great idea Steve.

Charlie, was that before you gave up drinking? LOL


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View lumberdog's profile


238 posts in 2689 days

#13 posted 03-18-2010 01:36 PM

Send me your laptop so i can check this out…

-- Lumberdog.. Morley, Michigan

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3304 days

#14 posted 03-18-2010 02:13 PM

Norwegian Mike,
I was only talking about rotating the pdf file. Not your whole screen, or your Firefox browser.
Use the rotate function in Acrobat (or Adobe Reader) that is used to display the pdf files.
Start by looking at a pdf file.
There are menu selections on the top bar. One of them is View.
Click on View, select Zoom, and then Fit Page.
Click on View again. Select Rotate View, and then Counter Clockwise.

There are also shortcuts if you are a speed user:
Ctrl 1 (to fit the page)
Shift Ctrl – (to rotate it left)
Shift Ctrl + (to rotate it right)

Sorry, I should have explained it better.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#15 posted 03-18-2010 03:08 PM

Thanks Steve. I tried it and it worked fine. The only problem for me is that the writing is too small for me. It’s old age related. It’s a great idea for those with good eyes though and it worked fine holding the computer like a book. Any, and I mean any tips on using my computer are always very welcome. Thanks again for sharing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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