Reading papers on-screen is not something that everyone likes but if you can get used to it, it will help save you time and paper and make filing your literature a breeze. If you use a wide flatscreen monitor, something that is 17inch or bigger, then this tip could make your on-screen reading more pleasurable.

Go vertical

The tip is simply to change the orientation of your screen from horizontal to vertical. The vertical view reduces the amount of scrolling that you will have to do, and also helps you to keep orientated to the bigger picture of an article.
Couple it with a PDF annotator, which allows you to make permanent notes on the PDF,  and you are all set for going all-electronic  for your literature.

Another advantage of a vertical screen, is that it feels more natural for  writing word documents (since most documents are in portrait mode), reading long lists such in Excel or browsing your reading list (e.g. on Mendeley).  It also works well for those who do programming and coding, so I’m told.

How to change your screen orientation

The technical details on how to change the display from horizontal to vertical may vary from one computer to another and this is dependent on the capability of the graphic card that is in your computer. But I will explain how I did it on my Windows XP machine.

1. Right click on your desktop
2. Click on graphic properties
3. Look for rotation or display settings.
4. In those settings, either choose 90 degrees or 270 degrees rotation.

If these steps do not work, feel free to drop a line in the comment section, I will deal with them as individual cases. So why not start viewing things differently and tell us how you are getting on.

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  1. This is really great, reading papers electronically can be pain but a lot of people use laptops…is there any way to do this with a laptop screen?

  2. Indeed Papers is a good software. But if you are looking for something FREE, then check out Mendeley. You can now do annotations on Mendeley as well. Also there is another upcoming PDF manager called Zotero, perhaps I will write about that.

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