Most of us sit in front of our computers, whether in the office or at home, for a lot longer than we should. However, when it comes to software developers, they can sit in front of their monitors for extremely long periods. Therefore, it is necessary to have the best setup possible when working as a developer.
People who write code for a living need to be as efficient as possible because software development often comes with highly sensitive deadlines. Having a vertical monitor means that developers can quickly assess the code they are writing and working with. It also makes writing the code a little bit easier.
In this article, we want to talk about one critical aspect of a software developer’s desk, their monitors. Specifically, we want to discuss why exactly software developers use a vertical monitor. It may seem strange for a lot of people, but trust me, once you have gone through this article, you will fully understand why it is necessary.
Why do Coders Use Vertical Monitors?
Saying that coders love using vertical monitors would be inaccurate because not all of them do. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. What works for one individual will not necessarily work for the other. However, what we can discuss is why those that do use vertical monitors love using them.
For developers who do not program in IDEs (Integrated Development Environments), vertical monitors offer various benefits. All those benefits, which we will discuss, increase the productivity of the programmer.
While writing code on a vertical monitor, the developer has more room to see the overall functionality and how the code interacts with other pieces of code because a vertical monitor allows them to see further down the line.
Can Any Monitor Be Used Vertically?
We want to eliminate the misconception that you need a particular monitor to use portrait mode. After all, the only two things that you need to make a monitor work as a vertical one are Windows 10 and a monitor. Also, we need a way to allow the monitor to flip vertically, and this can be achieved by using a wall-mounted arm.
To put your monitor in portrait mode, you can either use your keyboard and press ctrl + alt and a directional arrow, either left or right. To put the monitor back in landscape mode, press ctrl + alt and the up arrow. Doing this will flip your monitor back to its default position. However, sometimes using hotkeys on your keyboard doesn’t work.
If you can’t get your monitor to flip vertically by using your keyboard, simply open settings in Windows 10, go to system, then display, and finally, click display orientation and select portrait mode.
As we mentioned, using a wall-mounted arm is often the easiest way to get your monitor to sit in a vertical position. However, certain monitors do have stands that allow for a full 90-degree tilt. If you have one of those, well, you just saved yourself a lot of time and money.
9 Reasons Why Developers use a Vertical Monitor
Right, in this section, we want to get down to all the reasons why a developer will use a vertical monitor.
Remember, a vertical monitor can be added to your setup instead of being a key component to the overall layout. So, even if you don’t think there are many use cases for a vertical monitor, in my experience, it is better to have the option to use one. With that said, here are our nine reasons why developers should use a vertical monitor.
- Vertical monitors feel natural while coding.
- Allows the developer to edit and write lines of code more efficiently.
- It makes Reading large pieces of code more straightforward.
- It makes focusing on specifics easier.
- Increases productivity.
- Better for mobile emulation.
- Great for portrait mode testing.
- It takes less space.
- Personal preference.
Vertical Monitors feel Natural When Programming
So I felt like this was important to include because we understand that not all developers like it. For some developers having a vertical monitor as the primary monitor when dealing with their software writing duties, it feels natural. Still, the natural feeling is hard to beat for those that do, especially when dealing with sensitive work environments.
Allows the Developer to Edit and Write Lines of Code More Efficiently
This seems like something so small to most of us. Still, we need to remember that software developers work in intense environments with extremely sensitive deadlines, especially those that work in game development. Right now, you can read about something called “game development crunch.”
A developer will spend quite a lot of time scrolling through code, positioning the monitor in a way that allows them to carry on typing while still being able to see as much code as possible. When you have a vertical monitor, you have more space to write code instead of having to take your hands off the keyboard to scroll with your mouse.
Like I say, it may seem small to a lot of us. Still, to a developer, eliminating distractions and focusing purely on writing, the time saved eventually adds up. Thus, it overall boosts the developer’s productivity.
Makes Reading Big Pieces of Code Easier
Every programming language is different. However, there is a general rule that we follow when writing functions. See, a function should be approximately 50 lines long, and that does not take into account things such as spaces or any other variables. So, a piece of code, say one function, can be quite long.
Sometimes you need a vertical monitor so that you get to see the entire function without having to scroll up and down. It is almost like mathematics. If you have to keep scrolling to see the whole equation constantly, it becomes much harder to see any problems within that equation. The same concept applies to programming.
Makes Focusing on Specifics Easier
There was a trend not so long ago where software companies advertised to potential employees that their environments were relaxed. Companies such as Google promised a work environment that helped people cope with the stress of being at work by including a home-like environment at work, an environment with cool things to do.
Well, there is a reason for this. Working as a programmer is highly taxing. It can be tedious to write code, and also, the amount of focus you need to have is phenomenal. Software developers have a specific type of discipline that most people do not.
Having a vertical monitor makes it easier for a developer to focus on specifics. Also, as we discussed earlier, having the code for an entire function right in front of you without having to scroll up and down adds to that help when it comes to focusing.
Everything we have discussed so far in this list adds to productivity enhancements. If a developer can save 20 minutes a day by eliminating the small things such as removing their hand from the keyboard to scroll constantly, those 20 minutes a day certainly do it up.
Again, if you look at game development, where a game can take years to develop, saving 20 minutes a day can save tens, if not hundreds, of hours of development time. The employer will genuinely appreciate this, and the people who buy your product appreciate it as well. This statement is especially true when it comes to mobile apps and games.
Makes running Mobile Emulation More Accurate
As a user, we generally use our laptops and desktops in landscape mode. It is known as landscape mode, but it’s where everything is horizontal. However, many people tend to forget that our phones and tablets are generally in portrait mode.
If software developers build apps for a mobile phone and tablet, or even just an app that will be ported to mobile or tablet, they need to run emulation software on their PC. That is why developers need such powerful desktops.
Having a vertical monitor to run the emulation software needed for mobile development ensures emulation is more accurate. However, it also makes the emulation a lot bigger than horizontal monitors because their software can take up the whole screen.
You can also say that having more accurate emulation of mobile software can also increase the developer’s productivity.
Great for Portrait Mode Testing
Web development underwent significant breakthroughs during the 2010s. It is where HTML5 showed its true power, and that power was aimed at making your web experience on your mobile device a lot better.
When things get good, we often forget about when they were not so good, but if you remember back to around 2010 to 2013 when smartphones were seriously taking the world by storm, you might forget how sometimes web pages would not run so smoothly on your phone. Well, that has changed.
When developers have a vertical monitor, they can test their web applications on their landscape and portrait monitors. Doing this allows them to quickly and efficiently see any problems they might have with mobile view.
Adds an Extra Monitor without Taking Too Much Space
I know developers who can work wonders simply on their laptops. They don’t need a dual monitor or tri-monitor setups. However, they always use them because using a double or tri-monitor setup is not about necessity. Instead, it’s about increasing productivity which is a word we have thrown around a lot in this article, but I guess you are starting to see a theme. Productivity is crucial to a programmer’s career.
Some people only have space for a dual monitor setup on their desk, especially when working in an office environment. However, when you use a vertical monitor, it is often easier to add it as a third option to your desk without taking as much space. While your stand will still be the same, the monitor itself, while sitting vertically, takes up a lot less space than your traditional horizontal monitor.
Some Coders Prefer It
At the end of the day, it is all about personal preference, and when we discuss “why coders use vertical monitors,” the briefest explanation would be that they simply prefer it. But, at the same time, some developers cannot stand it, so personal preference it is.
Disadvantages of Using a Vertical for Programming
With everything good comes at least some bad, and the same can be said when using a vertical monitor. We have covered a few of the benefits, but now it is time to look at a few negatives.
So let’s take a look at two of the main disadvantages of a vertical monitor.
Not Great For IDE Programming
Don’t get me wrong, when you flip your display orientation to portrait mode, the color accuracy of your monitor isn’t going to change magically. However, We need to consider the viewing angle of your monitor.
Most of us know that there is a perfect viewing angle for every monitor. The type of display used, whether it be an IPS, VA, or VN panel, can increase the leeway you get regarding the viewing angle. For the most part, when you flip the monitor vertically, you need to be situated almost ideally to get a good viewing angle.
However, it does not matter how perfectly you sit in front of the monitor. When you have to tilt your neck up or down to look at the entirety of the monitor, you will notice some distortion with the viewing angles. This distortion could hamper your ability to see accurate colors.
So, you might have to lift your neck and lower it constantly to see accurate color representation. This does not necessarily affect programmers while they are writing code. Instead, it hampers them when they are testing their software.
How Many Monitors Do Programmers Need?
Ideally, a software developer will have three monitors. Two of those monitors will be your traditional landscape mode monitors, where you can conduct all your research on one and work on the other. Adding a third monitor that is vertical can seriously increase your productivity.
Remember, developers can work on their laptops with no added monitors. But, just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is the best way to do it.
Best Dual Monitor Setup For Programmers: Vertical Monitor
There are so many ways you can set up a tri-monitor setup. The most popular method is to have your single or dual monitors in front of you with the vertical monitor to the side. However, for developers who use their vertical monitor for all programming needs, one setup can’t be beaten.
The best way to set up a tri-monitor set up with a vertical monitor is to have the vertical monitor in portrait mode right in the center. Then it would be best if you had your dual monitors on either side of the vertical monitor. However, for those who don’t like any spaces between their monitors, especially with bezels becoming thinner every day, this can be a problem.
For a monitor setup where the vertical monitor is off to the side, you want a wall-mounted arm that allows you to tilt and angle the monitor to suit your needs. If the monitor is right in the center, having a stand that will enable you to tilt the monitor vertically will be sufficient.
Please remember to make sure that your monitor is VESA compatible before ordering or going out to buy a stand or an arm. VESA is the standard used for wall mounts and desk stands. If the monitor is not VESA compatible, you might not be able to find a suitable mount. You can check the back of your monitor to find out if it is VESA compatible.
Bonus Fact about vertical monitors.
Gamers streaming their gameplay has become quite a reputable profession as of late. However, did you know that most streamers use three monitors, one for their gameplay, one for any work they are doing or previewing how their stream is doing, and a third purely for their chat section.
See, it is almost the same as why programmers have vertical monitors. Game streamers want to see as much of their chat as possible, and because most of the chat messages are not long, they don’t need a horizontal monitor to view it. So instead, they can see more of the chat by turning the monitor vertical.
That brings us to the end of this article, and hopefully, you now know why programmers develop on vertical monitors. If you are an aspiring programmer, I highly recommend that you go through our website, as we probably have a few blogs that can be useful to you.