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Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to rotate shapes approximately and accurately in PowerPoint 2016.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher

When you insert any shape into your PowerPoint slide, more often than not you will want to make some changes to the default shape that you end up with. Mainly, you may want to resize and rotate the shape -- this is something we do a lot in our everyday life -- like rearranging our work desks, or even changing the position of our favorite chair so that we feel more comfortable. Similarly, all objects on your slide need to be arranged in a way that feels appropriate -- rotation is one way of making this change happen. In PowerPoint 2016, rotation can be applied in more than one way -- follow these steps to get started:

  1. Select the shape you want to rotate -- so that the white rotation handle is visible (highlighted in red within Figure 1).

    Select the shape
    Figure 1: Select the shape

    Click the white handle so that your cursor changes to a circular arrow (shown in Figure 1).
  2. Now drag the white handle rightwards or leftwards to rotate, as shown in Figure 2. The rotation always happens around the center of the selected shape.

    Drag the white rotation handle to rotate the shape
    Figure 2: Drag the white rotation handle to rotate your shape
  3. To get more control over the rotation, hold the Shift key wile you drag -- this will rotate the shape in 15 degree increments. At each increment of 15 degrees, you will find that the shape snaps into place, almost as if a magnet is pulling it into position. Thus, if you rotate rightwards through four 15 degree snaps, you would have rotated your shape by 60 degrees.

    Tip: You can also rotate without using a mouse. To do that, hold the Alt key, and then press either the Left or Right arrow key to rotate the shape in 15 degree increments clockwise/counterclockwise.
  4. To rotate the shape in 90 degree increments, select the shape. This activates the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (see Figure 3). Within the Arrange group, click the Rotate button to access the Rotate drop-down gallery (see Figure 3 again). Choose either Rotate Right 90o or Rotate Left 90o (highlighted in red, within Figure 3). To rotate any shape by 180 degrees, click any of these Rotate options twice.

    Rotate button
    Figure 3: 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 2016 to find a workaround for this problem.
  5. Within the Rotate drop-down gallery (refer to Figure 3 above), you can click More Rotation Options (highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above) to bring up the Format Shape Task Pane. Make sure you select the Resize tab, highlighted in blue within Figure 4. Change the Rotation option (highlighted in red, within Figure 4) to any value from -3600o to 3600o or type a zero rotation value to restore the original placement of the shape.

    Format Shape Task Pane
    Figure 4: Format Shape Task Pane

    Counterpoint: Now the question that arises is why does PowerPoint let you do a 3600 degree rotation at all -- our 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!
  6. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and Mac

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 ebook.

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©2000-2019, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000