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Is there a solid way of using either X directly or KDM/GDM/KDE/Gnome to quickly switch between an external screen and modify the screen layout accordingly? I'm stealing the inspiration from Windows 7's +P functionality, where a central popup shows 4 different possible layouts: only external, duplicate, only internal screen, extend desktop.

I can switch between any (or at least most) of these by using the Nvidia control panel (and if I was using the open source drivers, through the KDE X screen configuration option screen, and something similar for Gnome). I would like a faster way to just switch output, without having to go through billions of menus (ok, slightly exaggerated, but still... you get the point)

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2 Answers 2

With open source drivers, you can use the xrandr command line utility to modify the screen layout. Bind a key or menu entry to a small script that calls xrandr if you like. For the configurations you describe, the commands would be something like

xrandr --output external
xrandr --output external --same-as internal
xrandr --output internal
xrandr --output external --left-of internal

with names that may well not be internal and external but DVI-0 and VGA-0 or something else; run xrandr to see what you have. You can write a more substantial script that parses the output of xrandr, for example if you want to have a key that cycles between a few predefined settings.

You can do something similar with nvidia-settings for the Nvidia proprietary driver. The documentation isn't very precise; your best bet may be to set up a few different configurations through the GUI and switch between them using nvidia-settings --config.

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Sounds like you're looking for a X Resize, Rotate and Reflect Extension (RandR) GUI, here's a list, I don't much about them, though.

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