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Ultimate Guide: How to Rotate in Photoshop

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If you want to learn how to rotate something in Photoshop, no matter what it is, you came to the right place! In this tutorial, I'll show you all the methods of rotation, as well as what they're used for. You won't only learn how to rotate the canvas in Photoshop, but also how to rotate text, photos, shapes, and even selections! So after this tutorial, you will know how to rotate every object in Photoshop.

Did you know that Photoshop can be made even more powerful with special extensions? For example, this add-on will help you transform layers more efficiently by allowing you to quickly select them by type, rename them in batches, and use different transform modes. You'll find this and many other Photoshop actions and extensions on Envato Elements.

Use this add-on from Envato Elements to easily manipulate and transform the layers in your project.Use this add-on from Envato Elements to easily manipulate and transform the layers in your project.Use this add-on from Envato Elements to easily manipulate and transform the layers in your project.
Use this add-on from Envato Elements to easily manipulate and transform the layers in your project.

Watch How to Rotate in Photoshop

We're about to embark on the ultimate guide to rotate an object in Photoshop. But if you're strapped for time or if you prefer video tutorials, we've got you covered.

Watch this video to learn everything about the Rotate Tool in Photoshop and its options. Don't forget to visit and subscribe to the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel if you enjoy this content!

What You'll Learn in This Rotate Tool Photoshop Tutorial

  • Where to find the Photoshop rotate tool

  • How to tilt an image in Photoshop

  • How to rotate the canvas in Photoshop

  • How to rotate a selection in Photoshop

  • How to rotate shapes in Photoshop

  • How to rotate a picture in Photoshop

  • How to rotate one layer in Photoshop

  • How to rotate multiple layers in Photoshop

  • How to rotate an object in Photoshop
  • How to rotate a Layer Mask in Photoshop

1. How to Rotate a Photo in Photoshop

If you want to quickly turn a portrait orientation into a landscape orientation, go to Image > Image Rotation.

how to rotate a picture in Photoshop optionshow to rotate a picture in Photoshop optionshow to rotate a picture in Photoshop options

Here you can turn the photo upside down...

photoshop rotate image upside down in photoshopphotoshop rotate image upside down in photoshopphotoshop rotate image upside down in photoshop

... put it on its right edge...

photoshop rotate image to the rightphotoshop rotate image to the rightphotoshop rotate image to the right

... put it on its left edge...

photoshop rotate image to the leftphotoshop rotate image to the leftphotoshop rotate image to the left

... or choose a different angle of rotation.

photoshop rotate image at any anglephotoshop rotate image at any anglephotoshop rotate image at any angle

However, if you choose the last option, you will notice that empty space has been added around your photo:

photoshop rotate empty space after rotationphotoshop rotate empty space after rotationphotoshop rotate empty space after rotation

To avoid it, you can use a different method of rotation. Take the Crop Tool (C), and click and drag the canvas around the photo to rotate it. The frame will be adjusted automatically—just press Enter when you're happy with the result.

photoshop rotate image with crop toolphotoshop rotate image with crop toolphotoshop rotate image with crop tool
rotated photorotated photorotated photo

2. How to Rotate a Smart Object in Photoshop

So now you know how to rotate a photo in Photoshop. However, while rotating a photo with the Crop Tool is very effective, what if you want to adjust the rotation later? To make it possible, right-click the layer with the photo and select Convert to Smart Object. Now you can crop and rotate as many times as you need, without losing anything. That's how you rotate an object in Photoshop.

rotate smart objectrotate smart objectrotate smart object
The crop tool doesn't cut any parts of the Smart Object—they're always there, just outside of the canvas.

3. How to Rotate a Layer in Photoshop

But this was just one answer to the question of how to rotate an image in Photoshop! If you have more images in your file, and you use the previous method of rotation, they will all be rotated together. If you want to rotate one layer only, you should use a different method.

First, select the layer that you want to rotate. Then, instead of going to the Image menu, go to Edit > Transform. Here you'll find a similar menu as before, but these options will apply to the selected layer only.

photoshop rotate layerphotoshop rotate layerphotoshop rotate layer

If you want to rotate a layer more dynamically, you can use the Free Transform Tool instead. Just press Control-T and click and drag outside of the image to rotate it. Hold the Shift key if you want to make the rotation incremental.

how to rotate one layerhow to rotate one layerhow to rotate one layer
There's no real Rotate Tool in Photoshop, but the Free Transform Tool is the closest thing to it

When you're in this mode, you can also choose a specific angle of rotation by typing it in the upper bar.

photoshop rotate layer at an anglephotoshop rotate layer at an anglephotoshop rotate layer at an angle

You can also rotate multiple layers this way. Just hold the Control key to select more than one layer, and then use the Free Transform Tool.

photoshop rotate layer select multiple layersphotoshop rotate layer select multiple layersphotoshop rotate layer select multiple layers
rotate multiple layersrotate multiple layersrotate multiple layers

4. How to Rotate a Shape in Photoshop

Now let's see how to rotate a shape in Photoshop. If you want to rotate a vector shape, and you're wondering if it's possible to rotate it without losing the stroke or other properties, don't worry—the Free Transform Tool doesn't affect them at all. However, if you rotate a shape this way, the bounding box may change, making the rotation confusing:

how to rotate a shape in Photoshop bounding boxhow to rotate a shape in Photoshop bounding boxhow to rotate a shape in Photoshop bounding box

To rotate shapes, it's better to use the Path Selection Tool (A)—then the bounding box will rotate along with the shape!

how to rotate shapes photoshophow to rotate shapes photoshophow to rotate shapes photoshop

5. How to Rotate a Selection in Photoshop

If you select part of an image and then use the Free Transform Tool, you'll be able to rotate the content of the selection:

make a selectionmake a selectionmake a selection
rotate selected arearotate selected arearotate selected area

But what if you want to rotate the selection itself? You need to go to Select > Transform Selection. Then you can rotate it like any other object!

how to rotate selectionhow to rotate selectionhow to rotate selection

6. How to Rotate Text in Photoshop

Learning how to rotate text in Photoshop is easy. You can rotate text in Photoshop using the Free Transform Tool as well. It will not rasterize the text—you'll still be able to edit it after rotation!

text before rotationtext before rotationtext before rotation
text after rotationtext after rotationtext after rotation
editing rotated textediting rotated textediting rotated text

You can also quickly switch the orientation of the text from horizontal to vertical, without rotating the letters, by clicking Toggle Text Orientation in the upper bar. Unfortunately, in Photoshop it's not possible to rotate the text orientation incrementally without rotating the letters—this is something you will need Illustrator for:

toggle text orientationtoggle text orientationtoggle text orientation
make text verticalmake text verticalmake text vertical

If you want to rotate individual letters, you need to rasterize the text first. Right-click the text layer and select Rasterize Type. Then you can use the Lasso Tool (L) or the Magic Wand Tool (W) to select the letters and rotate them one by one.

select a letterselect a letterselect a letter
rotate a letterrotate a letterrotate a letter
rotated lettersrotated lettersrotated letters

In Photoshop, you can also rotate the text in 3D! Just convert the text to 3D by pressing the button on the right, and then drag the handles to rotate the text in all three dimensions.

turn text in 3dturn text in 3dturn text in 3d
rotate text in 3drotate text in 3drotate text in 3d
rotated textrotated textrotated text

7. How to Rotate a Layer Mask

If your layer has a Layer Mask attached to it and you rotate the layer, the Mask will rotate with it as well. Even if you select the Mask specifically, then the rotation will still be applied to the whole layer.

layer masklayer masklayer mask
layer mask rotated with imagelayer mask rotated with imagelayer mask rotated with image

If you want to rotate just the Layer Mask without affecting its layer, you need to click the chain link icon between them.

click the chain linkclick the chain linkclick the chain link

Then you can rotate both the Mask and the layers separately!

rotate layer mask separatelyrotate layer mask separatelyrotate layer mask separately

8. How to Rotate the Canvas in Photoshop

Finally, the last problem to solve: what if you want to rotate the whole canvas, but not really—just for a moment, to see what it looks like from a different perspective? It's very easy—just press R to use the Rotate View Tool. Then you can click and drag to rotate the canvas without affecting its content. When you're done, just press Escape to reset the view.

how to rotate canvashow to rotate canvashow to rotate canvas
In the upper bar, you can manually type in the angle you need

Conclusion

Now you know how to rotate something in Photoshop, whether it's the canvas, a layer, or a selection!

tutorial finaltutorial finaltutorial final

5 Professional Photoshop Add-Ons From Envato Elements 

As I mentioned at the beginning, it's possible to extend the capabilities of Photoshop by adding special extensions to them. Here are some top Photoshop actions and add-ons, available on Envato Elements:

1. Image Extend: Clipping & Expansion Kit (ZXP)

Image Extend - Clipping & Expansion KitImage Extend - Clipping & Expansion KitImage Extend - Clipping & Expansion Kit

Do you want to make your image larger, without actually scaling it up? This extension will allow you to add extra areas to your photo and fill them seamlessly, creating a bigger frame without losing any quality.

2. Repeat & Fill: Pattern Grid Creator (ZXP)

Repeat & Fill - Pattern Grid CreatorRepeat & Fill - Pattern Grid CreatorRepeat & Fill - Pattern Grid Creator

If you want to quickly create a pattern in Photoshop, just like you would in Adobe Illustrator, this add-on will help you with that! Just create a part of the pattern and adjust the options to have full control over its final look.

3. Smart Select: Complex Layer Selecting (ZXP)

Smart Select - Complex Layer SelectingSmart Select - Complex Layer SelectingSmart Select - Complex Layer Selecting

When you work with a complex file, sometimes finding the right layer or selecting them together may get quite cumbersome. This extension will help you with that—you can select layers by their properties—for example, "all layers with full Opacity", or "all layers higher than 300px". It's true magic!

4. Textmarker Pro for PS 2021+ (ZXP)

Textmarker Pro for PS 2021+Textmarker Pro for PS 2021+Textmarker Pro for PS 2021+

If you work with text a lot, you'll love the capability to quickly change the appearance of the text with this extension. The tweaks update in real time, and they're non-destructive.

5. MultiDup: Batch Duplication in Photoshop (ZXP)

MultiDup - Batch Duplication in PhotoshopMultiDup - Batch Duplication in PhotoshopMultiDup - Batch Duplication in Photoshop

If you work with multiple files, sometimes you may need to copy the layers from one file to another. While it is possible to do it in Photoshop, it's quite cumbersome. With this extension, it'll get much easier—you can do it with one simple command!

Discover More Photoshop Tutorials

Nos that you've learned how to rotate an image in Photoshop and how to rotate a layer in Photoshop, you may also enjoy these tutorials:

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