How to rotate an object in Illustrator

Rotating objects in Adobe Illustrator can be done quickly by using the Move Tool and dragging any of the corner handles around a circle.

However, if you want to rotate an object with an exact degree measurement, this tutorial can help you.

Here’s how to do it:

With the Move Tool

  1. Open your Illustrator project file
  2. Select or create the layer, shape or image you want to rotate.
  3. With the Move Tool active (keyboard shortcut M), click and drag any of the four corner handles around the object and move the cursor to rotate it.

From the top menu (exact degree rotation)

  1. Open your Illustrator project file
  2. Select or create the layer, shape or image you want to rotate.
  3. In the top menu, select Object > Transform > Rotate
  4. In the rotation pop-up window, set the degree of rotation and click OK.

What can be rotated in Illustrator?

Fortunately, almost all Illustrator objects can be rotated. This includes text, images, canvases, etc.

Rotation is an important part of project design. Especially if your project has a variety of shapes or you are designing a logo. The angle of rotation of your image or shape is extremely important.

How to rotate text:

Rotating text in Illustrator is similar to rotating an object as we just showed above, but with the added trick of making sure your text moves with the rotation.

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If you try to rotate your text by simply clicking on the white squares on the blue border and dragging, the text will remain horizontal as shown below.

As you can see, the text remains horizontal on the x-axis and disappears outside the border.

Here is how to rotate the text without this problem:

  1. Select the text you want to rotate
  2. In the top menu, click on Object
  3. From there, hover over Transform and click on Rotate
  4. Enter the angle at which you want to rotate the text

The text will rotate next to the border and remain in view.

How to rotate a work table:

If you are working with multiple artboards or need to rotate your artboard for any reason, there is a method to easily rotate the way you view the canvas. You can’t actually rotate the workbench itself, but you are rotating the way you view the workbench.

If you need help creating the artboard itself, be sure to check out this article for more information: How to create an artboard in Illustrator.

Here’s how to rotate a workbench:

  1. Select the workbench you are using (Shift + O)
  2. Click the Rotate View tool (Shift + H)
  3. Click and drag the worktable to rotate its view.

How to rotate an image:

If you want to rotate an image, simply follow one of the two methods described in this article.

  • Method 1: Use the Move Tool (M) and click and drag the image to rotate it.
  • Method 2: Use the top menu, choose Object > Transform > Rotate and enter the desired degree of rotation.
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Rotate with the hand tool:

Rotating with the hand tool is a method of rotating the way the object is viewed, as mentioned above when rotating worktables.

Although you cannot rotate with the Hand Tool (H ) alone, you can rotate with the Rotate View Tool (Shift + H) which is a subset of the Hand Tool. Using the Hand Tool (H ) allows us to click and move the project, but does not provide the ability to adjust the rotation.

In contrast, the Move tool (M) allows us to adjust the rotation of an individual object, while the Rotate View tool (Shift + H) allows us to rotate the project as we view it.

Rotate with the mouse:

It is possible to rotate an object using only the mouse and no keys. This is similar to the second method described above.

  1. Right-click on the object to be adjusted
  2. In the pop-up menu click Transform
  3. In the secondary pop-up menu, click on Rotate

From here on, if you insist on not using the keyboard, you can adjust the rotation by clicking on the circular angle graph in the rotation panel

As shown below in blue.

Visual rotations:

If you want to visually see what a rotated object looks like without actually adjusting the rotation, this is the best method for testing different rotations.

  1. Optional: Create a separate workbench and click and drag or copy and paste the object you want to test.
  2. Select the Rotate View tool (Shift + H)
  3. Click and drag the mouse to see how the object rotates.
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The entire worktable will rotate instead of the individual object, allowing you to see how a rotation may look before actually rotating it.

Pro-tip: If you make a rotation that you want to reverse, but don’t remember the exact angle it was at before, simply click Command + Z to undo the rotation.

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