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Rotation Fun in PowerPoint

Learn about the different ways in which you can rotate slide objects in PowerPoint.

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Rotating slide objects in PowerPoint can be necessary, and beyond the Rotation handle you see when you select most objects, you will find many more options to rotate – sometimes when you least expect to be able to rotate! In this tutorial, we will take Rotation for a spin literally, and find some fun options.

Rotation via the Handle

First, let us explore the ubiquitous Rotation handle – this is visible only when you select an object such as a shape, picture, video clip, etc. – as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.

Rotation handle
Figure 1: Rotation handle

Depending upon your version of PowerPoint, the handle may appear different – Figure 1 showed how the handle looks like in PowerPoint 2013, whereas Figure 2, below highlights the same Rotation handle in red within PowerPoint 2010.
A slightly different Rotation handle
Figure 2: A slightly different Rotation handle

In some cases, the Rotation handle will not be active at all – this means that although you can see the Rotation handle, it will be grayed out, as in the case of this video clip, selected in PowerPoint 2007 (see Figure 3, below). That’s because videos cannot be rotated in PowerPoint 2007 – but they can be rotated in PowerPoint 2010 or later – so those versions have an active Rotation handle for selected videos.
An inactive Rotation handle
Figure 3: An inactive Rotation handle

Shift Rotate for More Options

In all Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint, you can rotate in 15 degree increments if you hold the Shift key while rotating with the Rotation handle – while you rotate, you will feel a distinct snap while you attain the 15 degree mark (see Figure 4, below).

Snap rotation at 15 degree increments
Figure 4: Snap rotation at 15 degree increments

Rotate with Keyboard Shortcuts

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to rotate objects in PowerPoint 2013, 2010, and newer versions on Windows:

Alt + Left Arrow
Rotate slide object counter-clockwise by 15 degrees

Alt + Right Arrow
Rotate slide object clockwise by 15 degrees

This keyboard shortcut does not work on PowerPoint 2010 and previous versions.

A similar keyboard shortcut is available on PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

Option + Left Arrow
Rotate slide object counter clockwise by 15 degrees

Option + Right Arrow
Rotate slide object clockwise by 15 degrees

Tip: Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Ebook.

Accurate Rotation by Value

Accurate Rotation by Value

Additionally, you can also rotate objects by entering an exact Rotation value within a dialog box, or a Task Pane – to learn more, refer to these links:

Shapes: Rotate

Pictures: Resize, Rotate, and Flip

Ultimately, do remember that rotation is fun – sometimes, you can change the message in a picture by just rotating it slightly!


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