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How Do I Rotate an Artboard in Illustrator?

When you’re working on projects in Illustrator, you have greater control and flexibility when you can rotate your artboard and work on it from different angles. Many graphic designers who have worked with programs like Photoshop become confused when they realize Illustrator doesn’t use the same commands to rotate artboards. However, you still have the ability to rotate artboards in Illustrator, even though the method you’ll use is different from other programs.
 
Adobe Illustrator makes it possible to rotate objects between 360 and -360 degrees. Keep in mind that you can’t rotate the entire canvas (which consists of the background behind the individual artboards and the “scratchpad” working area). Illustrator doesn’t treat the canvas as a selectable or editable object, which is why it can’t be rotated. However, you can rotate the individual artboards to achieve the same effect. Here’s how to rotate artboard in Illustrator.
 
Step-by-Step Guide to Rotating an Artboard
 
  • Open the Window menu and select Artboards.
  • Select the specific artboard you want to maneuver.
  • Locate the fly-out menu in the Artboards panel (top right corner) and open it, then select Artboard Options.
  • Rotate the dimensions of the artboard panel by changing its orientation from landscape to portrait (or vice versa).
     
These four steps will only rotate the artboard, not the artwork on it. To rotate the artwork, do the following:
 
  • Select all artwork on the artboard by pressing “Ctrl-A”. This command will select the objects on all artboards that intersect.
  • Press “R” to access your Rotate tool.
  • Open the Rotate dialog box by double-clicking on the Rotate tool.
  • Enter the rotation angle you want, then click “OK”. The selected artwork will now change to your chosen rotation angle.
     
When you want to return the artboard to its original position, follow the same steps to rotate artboard in Illustrator back to its original position. You can also use the Free Transform tool to rotate your artboard. You’ll simply need to select the Free Transform tool, place your cursor outside of the selection until you see an arced-arrow cursor, then click and drag to apply your transformation to the artboard. Hold “Shift” while you do this to constrain the artboard to 45-degree angles.
 
Improve Your Projects
 
Rotating your artboard makes it easier to add and edit images more precisely. Add a wide variety of quality stock images to your projects by creating an account with Shutterstock. You can also use Shutterstock’s convenient editing tools to improve your designs.
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