How to Rotate an Image in Adobe Illustrator

With an object selected, hover just outside of an anchor point and a curved double-sided arrow will appear. Click and drag to rotate the object. Alternatively, in the Object Menu, click Transform, Rotate, and choose the settings. You can also access these settings through the Properties Panel, the Transform Panel, or the Rotate Tool.

My name is April. In this tutorial, I’ll show you several ways to rotate an object or image in Adobe Illustrator. Let’s try them out.

Key Takeaways

  • When your object is selected, hovering just outside of any of the anchor points will get you a quick rotate option.
  • The Rotate Tool (Keyboard Shortcut R) is the best method if you need to rotate around a different center point
  • You can open the rotate settings dialog box from Object > Transform > Rotate.
  • Both the Transform panel and Properties panel offer quick shortcuts to rotate an image.

Note: The screenshots from this tutorial are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows version.

Method 1: Object > Rotate

You’ll be adjusting the Rotate settings. 

Step 1: Select the image you want to rotate with the Selection Tool (Keyboard Shortcut V).

Step 2: Navigate to the top main menu, and click Object > Transform > Rotate.

This will bring up the Rotate dialog box.

Step 3: Choose the settings for how you want to rotate your image. You can move the line on the diagram or you can type in the exact rotated angle you are going for.

Now you have your rotated image.

Method 2: Properties or Transform Panel

You’ll find the rotate options on the Properties or Transform panel. 

Step 1: Select the image you want to rotate.

Step 2: Make sure your Properties panel is showing. If you don’t see it, go to the overhead menu and choose Window > Properties.

Step 3: The Properties panel is just that, it shows you all the properties/aspects of your selected image or object. Here at the top, we see a Transform section.

Step 4: In that section, Adobe has created a quick menu option to input a rotation angle. Try to input a number and see your image rotate.

Note: This same option appears in the transform panel, as shown below:

Method 3: Rotate Tool

The Rotate Tool allows you to freely rotate an object or image. 

Step 1: Select the object you want to flip (reflect).

Step 2: Go to the Toolbar and click the Rotate Tool, or use the shortcut R.

Step 3: Use this tool to click anywhere to create a new center point to rotate your object around, or leave it in the center or image.

Step 4: Now click and hold anywhere on the image. As you drag, your image will rotate. 

Note: If you hold the Shift key while dragging, your image will rotate at 45-degree angles only.

Step 5: Release the mouse and you have a rotated image.

Note: You can also double-click the Rotate Tool button in the Toolbar to bring up the dialog box!

Method 4: Anchor Points

With an image selected, you can hover just outside of any of the anchor points on your image. You will see a curved double-ended arrow appear.

Click and hold, then drag to rotate your object. You can do this with any of the anchor points.

Final Thoughts

It is very simple to rotate an image in Adobe Illustrator. There are many methods to get an image rotated in Illustrator and they work the same for a vector object as well. 

Have you tried to rotate an image in Illustrator before? Which method do you use more often? Let me know in the comments below.

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