Let us say you insert a shape into your PowerPoint slide. What do you do next? You probably want to make a few changes to it, like resizing or rotating it. So, this is no different than what we do in our everyday lives, like rearranging our work desks or even changing the position of our favorite chair. Similarly, all objects on your slide need to be arranged appropriately, and rotation is one way of making this change happen.
In PowerPoint 365 for Windows, rotation can be applied in three ways that we explain on this page. We then look at rotating multiple shapes at the same time.
Follow these steps to rotate shapes in PowerPoint 365 for Windows:
- Select the shape you want to rotate, so that the white rotation handle is visible, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Select the shape to rotate
- Next, choose any of these rotation options:
- Click the white rotation handle, so that your cursor changes to a circular arrow, as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Cursor changes to a circular arrow
- Now drag the circular arrow cursor rightwards or leftwards to rotate, as shown in Figure 3, below. The rotation always happens around the center of the selected shape.
Figure 3: Drag the rotation handle to rotate your shape
- In order to get more control over the rotation, hold the Shift key while you drag. Doing so 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.
- You can also rotate the shape without using a mouse. To do so, hold the Alt key, and then press either the Left or Right arrow key to rotate the shape in 15-degree increments clockwise/counter-clockwise.
- Does your keyboard shortcut not work, or does it do something else? This can happen if a PowerPoint add-in or another program has hijacked the keyboard shortcut you are using. Learn more in our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Not Working page.
- We looked at how you can rotate shapes manually by using your cursor, or via keyboard shortcuts. However, there may be times when you need an exact rotation, such as 49 degrees. To achieve this sort of exact rotation, you will have to use commands available within the Ribbon. Since your shape is already selected, you will see the Shape Format tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 4, below.
Figure 4: Rotate drop-down gallery
- Within the Arrange group, click the Rotate button to access the Rotate drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 4, above. Click on either Rotate Right 90o or Rotate Left 90o, as shown highlighted in red, within Figure 4. Doing so will rotate your shape in 90-degree increments. To rotate any shape by 180 degrees, click any of these Rotate options twice.
- Any text within a rotated shape also rotates. Rotate your shape by 45 degrees, and the text within the shape will rotate 45 degrees, as can be seen within the shape shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Text within a shape rotates along with a shape
- Text rotation is something that PowerPoint can do independently of shape rotation. 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 Degrees within Shapes in PowerPoint to find a workaround for this problem.
- Within the Rotate drop-down gallery, you will find More Rotation Options, shown highlighted in green within Figure 4, previously on this page. Click on this option to bring up the Format Shape Task Pane, shown in Figure 6, below.
Figure 6: Rotation values in the Format Shape task pane
- Make sure you select the Resize tab, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 6, above. Change the Rotation option, as shown highlighted in red, within Figure 6, to any value from -3600° to 3600° or type a zero-rotation value to restore the non-rotated placement of the shape.
- Now the question that arises is why PowerPoint lets 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! Yes, this has its use when you want to spin-animate an object 10 times, but why is this option available for stationary objects?
- You now know about three ways to rotate your shapes in PowerPoint. Save your presentation often.
1. Rotate Manually
2. Rotate with the Keyboard Shortcuts
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts
Do you want more keyboard shortcuts?
Explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences Ebook that is updated for all PowerPoint versions.
3. Rotate with Commands
Rotate Text within Shapes by 180 Degrees
Counterpoint: Why 3600 Degrees?
Rotating Multiple Shapes
There will be occasions when you must rotate multiple shapes, independently or in relation to each other. What do you do in such a scenario? Let’s understand this better with an example. Say you have three shapes on your slide, as shown in Figure 7, below.
Figure 7: Multiple shapes selected
Let us now rotate these shapes, independently or in relation to each other.
Rotate Multiple Shapes, Independently
Follow these steps to rotate multiple shapes in PowerPoint, independent of each other:
- Select all shapes, as shown in Figure 7, previously on this page.
- Now, use any of the three techniques explained on this page to rotate the shapes independent of each other. You can see the result, as shown in Figure 8, below. Do note that you are using the rotation handle of any one shape and all selected shapes get rotated at the same time.
Figure 8: Multiple shapes rotated independent of each other
Rotate Multiple Shapes, Relative to Each Other
In this scenario, you want to rotate not just the shapes, but also the spacing, direction, and angles between the shapes. To achieve this result, follow these steps to rotate multiple shapes in PowerPoint, relative to each other:
- First, select all shapes, as shown in Figure 7, previously on this page.
- Now, you need all shapes to behave as if they were one object. In other words, you need to group the multiple shapes selected. To do so, press the Ctrl + G keyboard shortcut. All shapes will now sport a single selection handle, as shown in Figure 9, below. Compare with Figure 7, shown previously on this page, where these shapes were not grouped.
Figure 9: Grouped shapes
- Now, use any of the three techniques explained on this page to rotate the grouped shapes together. You can see the result, as shown in Figure 10, below.
Figure 10: Grouped shapes rotated
- You can now let the rotated shapes remain grouped, or you can ungroup them if you want to work with individual shapes, as can be seen in Figure 11, below. To do so, press the Ctrl + Shift + G keyboard shortcut.
Figure 11: Rotated shapes, ungrouped
- Save your presentation often.
Rotating Slide Objects Other than Shapes
For most practical purposes, anything you can select on a PowerPoint slide can be rotated using the techniques explained on this page. There may be some rare exceptions, and maybe all three rotation techniques may not work all the time. Yet, as a rule of the thumb, these rotation techniques are universal in nature. What’s more, often, these techniques will also work in other Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel.
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