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How To Rotate an Image in Photoshop

Published: 08/06/2021

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Photoshop allows you to rotate an image by just following a few simple steps. It offers multiple options that enable you to change the orientation of your image completely or just make slight changes to the angles. So, let’s learn how to rotate an image in Photoshop using different methods.

How To Rotate an Image in Photoshop Using Different Methods

Many reasons may make you want to rotate your image without affecting its quality and purpose. Either you want to flip the whole image, want to rotate a particular section, or just want to make slight angle adjustments, Photoshop can help you with all of that and more.

The ability to rotate a picture is a very important feature for photo editors. It allows them to use the image as they want. Photoshop provides many different techniques of image rotation. Here, we give you a step-by-step guideline to help you use this highly useful tool in the best way possible.

How To Rotate an Image Using the Menu Bar

If you want to rotate your whole image in Photoshop, you can do that through several options. Either you want to alter the axes of the photo or just want to rotate through a slight angle, Photoshop can help you do that easily. 

The first method that we will explain here is rotating the image through the menu bar. So, let’s look at the steps to do that.

  1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
  2. Once the image is opened, go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface.
  3. From the menu bar, click on ‘Image’ and go to ‘Image Rotation.’
  4. Here, you will have different options for image rotation. You can either apply quick rotation at certain predefined angles or go to arbitrary rotation to define any specific angle yourself.
Rotating an image using the Image Rotation option in Photoshop

How To Rotate an Image Through the Crop Tool

The crop tool in Photoshop is mainly for cropping your images. However, you can also use it to rotate your image. The crop tool allows you to easily rotate your images in just a single step. So, if you want to crop as well as rotate an image, it is just the tool you want.

Here is how you can rotate your image with the crop tool in Photoshop:

  1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
  2. Go to the toolbar panel present on the left side of your Photoshop interface.
  3. From the toolbar, click on the ‘Crop Tool.’ You can also enable this tool through the keyboard shortcut. Just press the key C on your keyboard, and the crop tool would be ready to use.
  4. Now, click on your image once and hover your cursor to any one of the four corners of your image. 
  5. You will notice that your cursor converts into a dual-arrow icon, which shows that you can now rotate your image.
  6. Keep holding down the mouse button and rotate your image. You can keep rotating till you get your desired result.
Rotating an image using the Crop Tool in Photoshop

How To Rotate Certain Parts Within an Image

If you want to rotate only certain elements in your image instead of the whole picture, Photoshop can help you with that too. With the amazing feature of layers, Photoshop allows you to divide your picture into different layers so you can just choose the layer of the element and apply the rotation.

In order to rotate a picture on a picture with layers, you would have to use the ‘Transform tool.’ It allows you to rotate individual objects within your image. You can use this tool to rotate your main image or only a few elements as long as they are in their own individual layers.

Here is how you can do it:

  1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
  2. Once the image is opened, go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface.
  3. Click on ‘Edit’ and go to the ‘Transform’ option in the drop-down menu.
  4. You will then see a cascading menu showing you several ways you can rotate your image. Choose the one that you want to apply to your image.
  5. In case you want to apply customized rotation on your image, you can also do that. Instead of going to ‘Transform’, click on the ‘Free Transform’ option from the Edit drop-down menu. You can also activate this tool by using the keyboard shortcut, which is CTRL + T. Then, go to any one of the four corners of your image. As soon as your cursor turns into a dual-arrow icon, you are ready to rotate your image.

If your image is on a single layer and you want to rotate certain elements within it, then you will have to copy the respective element onto a new layer. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
Rotating an image using the Transform option in Photoshop
  1. Select the ‘Quick Selection Tool’ from the toolbar panel on the left side of your photoshop interface.
  2. Now, using the quick selection tool, highlight the element that you want to rotate.
  3. Once the desired area is selected, go to the menu bar present at the top.
  4. Go to Layer > New >> Layer via Copy. This will create a new layer for the area you want to rotate.
  5. Now, make sure that the newly created layer is selected in the layers panel, and then use the ‘Free Transform Tool’ to rotate the selected element whichever way you like.
  6. You can also use the ‘Transform Tool’ instead of ‘Free Transform’ if you want to rotate in a predefined direction, as we have done here. 
Transformed surface layer using Photoshop tools

Do you notice the change in the direction of the pathway? That’s because we copied this area into a different layer and then rotated it using the Transform tool as explained above.

How To Rotate a Picture Only To Observe How It Looks

Sometimes you don’t want to apply the rotation without knowing how the rotated image would look like. Photoshop has a tool for this situation as well. The ‘Rotate View Tool’ allows you to see the outcome of rotating an image without making any permanent changes to it.

Here is how you can use this tool to rotate an image just to see how it looks:

  1. Go to the toolbar panel present on the left side of your Photoshop interface.
  2. From the toolbar, select the Rotate View Tool. If you are unable to find this tool, then go to the hand icon and hold down your mouse button on it. You will then find the Rotate view tool. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, which is the key R.
Rotating an image using the Hand Tool
  1. Now, click on your image and rotate it in any direction you want. 
  2. You can also apply the rotation to a specific angle. To do this, go to the ‘Rotation Angle’ box at the top, write any angle of your choice, and press enter.
Rotating an image via specific angles


Images with wrong orientation is a major and common issue people have with their photos. Thankfully, Photoshop provides several rotation options that can help you rotate images in whichever way you want. Learning the Photoshop rotation techniques elaborated above will help you get your desired orientation in just a few simple steps.