How to Rotate by Degrees in Illustrator

Written by christina hadley Google
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Some methods for rotating Adobe Illustrator objects are quick, while others take more effort and basic knowledge of geometry. Aside from using the Rotate tool, Illustrator also offers precise control over rotational degrees. Rotations cause objects to turn around a centre point. Adobe Illustrator rotates objects from its default centre point or from a point that you define. Thoughtful use of Adobe Illustrator rotations may result in thrilling radial designs, symmetrical flower petals and dynamic patterns. Practice performing Illustrator rotations to master the process.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new work area. Click on "New Document" and enter its dimensions.

  2. 2

    Draw a simple rectangle with the Rectangle tool. Using a circle may make distinguishing rotations difficult, unless you alter the location of its rotational axis.

  3. 3

    Use the Selection tool to select one of the objects. Drag your mouse across the corners of the object. You should see a small icon with two arrows appear, which is a signal that your mouse is hovering above an area where you may make a freehand rotation of the object.

  4. 4

    Click, drag and rotate the rectangle. Freehand rotations stop wherever you release your mouse. Drag your mouse to another handle and rotate from an alternate corner.

  5. 5

    Hold the "Shift" key down to constrain the rotation to 45-degree increments. Click and drag to rotate the object in Adobe Illustrator's default degrees.

  6. 6

    Choose the Rotate tool to explore additional Adobe Illustrator rotation methods.

  7. 7

    Define a new centre axis for a rotation by clicking with the Rotate tool. Click anywhere on your art board or within the rectangle.

  8. 8

    Move the Rotate tool to a position within the rectangle, and then click, drag and perform a rotation. Rotate the rectangle into position. Change the position of the centre axis as necessary. The rectangle remains an active selection after you release the mouse.

  9. 9

    Define the rotation of the rectangle by a specific degree. Navigate to "Object," "Transform" and choose "Rotate." A dialogue box appears.

  10. 10

    Enter a degree of rotation in the Angle field. Entering a positive number into this field rotates an object counterclockwise. A 360-degree rotation causes an Illustrator object to appear untouched. Restrict maximum rotation values, either positive or negative, to 360 degrees or less.

  11. 11

    Check the "Preview" box to see the results of the numerical value rotation. Click "Copy" to apply the rotation to a copy of the rectangle, or click "OK" to execute the rotation on the selected rectangle. You may also click "Cancel."

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