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Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint for the Web

Learn how to rotate shapes approximately and accurately in PowerPoint for the Web. Rotation can also be achieved quickly using some shortcut keys.

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 for the Web, 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 for the Web:

  1. Select the shape you want to rotate, so that the white rotation handle is visible, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.

  2. Figure 1: Select the shape to rotate
  3. Next, choose any of these rotation options:
  4. 1. Rotate Manually

  5. Click the white rotation handle, so that your cursor changes to a circular arrow, as shown in Figure 2, below.

  6. Figure 2: Cursor changes to a circular arrow
  7. 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.

  8. Figure 3: Drag the rotation handle to rotate your shape
  9. As you rotate, the cursor will show you the rotation value, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, above.
  10. 2. Rotate with the Keyboard Shortcuts

  11. 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.
  12. PowerPoint 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

  13. 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 tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 4, below.

  14. Figure 4: Rotate drop-down gallery
  15. 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.
  16. 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 Options Task Pane, shown in Figure 5, below.

  17. Figure 5: Rotation values in the Format Options task pane
  18. Change the Rotation Angle option, as shown highlighted in red, within Figure 5, to any value from -360° to 360° or type a zero-rotation value to restore the non-rotated placement of the shape.
  19. You now know about three ways to rotate your shapes in PowerPoint. Save your presentation often.



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 6, below.


Figure 6: 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:

  1. Select all shapes, as shown in Figure 6, previously on this page.
  2. Now, use the last technique explained using the Format Options task pane to rotate the shapes independent of each other. You can see the result, as shown in Figure 7, below.

  3. Figure 7: 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:

  1. First, select all shapes, as shown in Figure 6, previously on this page.
  2. 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 8, below. Compare with Figure 6, shown previously on this page, where these shapes were not grouped.

  3. Figure 8: Grouped shapes
  4. 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 9, below.

  5. Figure 9: Grouped shapes rotated
  6. 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 10, below. To do so, press the Ctrl + Shift + G keyboard shortcut.

  7. Figure 10: Rotated shapes, ungrouped
  8. 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.


See Also:

06 01 04 - Basics About Shapes: Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)

Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 365 for Mac
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 2011 for Mac
Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows