How to Rotate Letters in GIMP

Written by scott knickelbine
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GIMP, short for "GNU Image Manipulation Program," is a free, open-source graphics program similar to Adobe Photoshop. Unlike some graphics programs, GIMP not only allows to to specify the angle of an image rotation by number, but also lets you "spin" the selected image using a slider, and lets you see the results as you do so. This makes it simple to rotate words or individual letters, and leave them looking just the way you want.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Open a new image in GIMP.

  2. 2

    Create text by clicking on the Text Tool in the Toolbox. In the Text menu that appears in the Toolbox, select the font and font size you would like. Then click the Text cursor at the point in the image where you'd like to enter the text. In the GIMP Text Editor dialogue box, type the text. Then click the "Close" button. Your text appears as a floating selection in your image.

  3. 3

    Rotate the entire line of text by clicking on the "Rotate Tool" in the Toolbox. Click the "Rotate" cursor in the text selection in your image. The Rotate dialogue box appears. Click on the slider under the Angle menu; rotate the text clockwise by dragging the slider to the right, or counterclockwise by dragging it to the left. As you move the slider, you see the results in the image itself. Alternately, you can manually enter the degree of rotation in the Angle field above the slider. When you have the line of text at the angle you would like, click the "Rotate" button and the rotation is applied to the text.

  4. 4

    Rotate individual letters by clicking the "Rectangle Select Tool" in the Toolbox. Click and drag to form a rectangle around the letter you would like to rotate. Then click on the "Rotate Tool" in the Toolbox and use the Rotate dialogue box tools to set the rotation for the letter. Click the "Rotate" button to apply the angle of rotation to the individual letter.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want your text to follow a specific path, such as a wavy line, it's easier to create a path with the path tool, entering your text and then clicking the "Text Along Path" button in the Text Toolbox, rather than trying to rotate individual letters to follow the path.
  • As you use the Rotate Tool, make sure the "Layer" icon is selected next to "Transform" in the Rotate menu. Otherwise you will simply rotate the selection rectangle, not the text itself.

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