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Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to rotate shapes approximately and accurately in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X

Date Created: July 15th 2011
Last Updated: July 15th 2011

Once you add a shape to your PowerPoint slide, you may want to resize and / or rotate it. We have already covered resizing shapes in a separate tutorial, and now you will learn how you can rotate a shape. Rotation can be very useful, especially if you need to change the orientation of an arrow, or rotate a duplicated shape. Whatever your motive may be, rotation can be applied in more than one way -- follow these steps to get started:

  1. Select the shape so that the green rotation handle on the top of the shape shown in Figure 1 is visible. Click the green handle to change your mouse cursor to a circle of arrows (see Figure 1).

    Selected shape, ready to be rotated
    Figure 1: Selected shape, ready to be rotated

    Note: Line shapes (all except Curve, Freeform, and Scribble) don't have a green rotation handle. Learn how to rotate lines in our Change a Diagonal Line to a Horizontal / Vertical Line in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.

  2. Now, hold down the left mouse button, and drag towards the right or left to rotate the shape around it's center, as shown in Figure 2. Remember not to let go off the mouse button when you drag. Also notice that PowerPoint shows a tool tip that mentions the rotation degree (see Figure 2).

    Click and drag the green rotation handle to rotate the shape
    Figure 2: Click and drag the green rotation handle to rotate the shape

  3. To rotate your shape with more control, hold the Shift key while you drag the green handle to rotate in 15 degree increments. At every 15 degree increment, you will find that the shape snaps into place -- thus if you rotate rightwards through four 15 degree snaps, you would have rotated your shape by 60 degrees.

    You can also rotate by holding the Alt (Option) key, and then pressing either the Left or Right arrow keys to rotate the shape in 15 degree increments clockwise / counterclockwise. This option rotates the selected shape without having to use your mouse at all.

  4. To rotate the shape in 90 degree increments, first double-click the selected shape. This activates the Format tab on the Ribbon. Within this tab, locate the Arrange group, click the Rotate button in it to access the Rotate gallery (see Figure 3). Choose either Rotate Right 90o or Rotate Left 90o (highlighted in red,in Figure 3). To rotate any shape by 180 degrees, click any of these Rotate options twice.

    The Format tab includes Rotate button.
    Figure 3: The Format tab includes Rotate button.

    Tip: If you have worked aplenty with text in PowerPoint, you'll notice that text within the shape can be rotated by 90° and 270°, but not by 180°. Explore our Rotate Text 180° within Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac to find a workaround for this problem.

  5. You can also right-click the selected shape, and from the resultant menu, chose the Format Shape option as shown in Figure 4.

    Format Shape option selected
    Figure 4: Format Shape option selected

    This opens the Format Shape dialog box. In this dialog box select the Size panel which includes the size and rotate edit options for shapes as shown in Figure 5. In this dialog box, enter the values (in degrees) in the Rotation spinner control (highlighted in red in Figure 5) to rotate the selected shape. You can change the Rotation option to any value from -3600o to 3600o or type a zero rotation value to restore the original placement of the shape. Now the question that arises is why does PowerPoint let you do a 3600 degree rotation at all -- my guess is that this has nothing to do with mere rotation since a full rotation is only 360 degrees -- and 3600 degrees would suggest 10 rotations!

    If you have already rotated an object manually, and want to now reset its rotation value, just type in 0 in the Rotation box to reset its rotation value.

    Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 5: Format Shape dialog box

    Note: When you are making changes to the shape attributes from within Format Shape dialog box, you can see the live preview of the changes in the selected shape. So, always place the Format Shape dialog box in such a position where it won't hide the selected shape.

    Click OK to apply the changes and get back to your slide.

See Also:

Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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