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How to Rotate Canvas in Photoshop

When you draw on a piece of paper, it is only natural to rotate the paper so you can better draw the lines you want. Up and downwards drawing is much harder, than sideway drawing direction. It is the same when using a mouse to draw and work with images in Photoshop. Therefore, it is very handy to know how to rotate the canvas for better drawing and brushwork.

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How To Rotate the Canvas in Photoshop

To Rotate an image in Photoshop you should use the Rotate View Tool. There are different ways to use the tool, and we cover them below.

Note that this method doesn’t affect the rotation of the final image or the image layer in Photoshop. It is only how you view the image while working on it in Photoshop.

Selecting Photoshop’s Rotate View Tool

Locate and select the Rotate View Tool in the Toolbar. Click and hold on the Hand Tool in the Toolbar, to make the submenu with the Rotate View Tool visible.

Rotate View Tool

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut R to select the Rotate View Tool directly.

With the Rotate View Tool Active, you can click hold anywhere on the image, to turn the canvas.

Click and drag to rotate the canvas in Photoshop

How to Enter a Specific Rotation Angle

If you don’t like to click and drag method, you can instead enter a specific rotation angle in the tool Options bar at the top of the screen. This is great for fine-tuning, or if you have a preferred image rotation angle for brushing work.

enter the viewing angle directly in PS

Using the Slider to Change the Rotation Angle

You can also use Photoshop’s scrubby slider. In the Options bar when the mouse is on top of the label Rotation Angle, you can click and drag either left or right to change the rotation angle.

rotating using the scrubby slider in Photoshop

How to Reset Canvas Rotation in Photoshop

The easiest way in Photoshop to reset canvas rotation is to press the Esc button. However, this only works when the Rotate View Tool is already selected. You can also click the Reset View Button in the Options bar.

reset view button in PS

Use Photoshop’s Rotate Canvas as a Spring-Loaded Tool

Photoshop has a neat shortcut for tools to speed up the workflow. Remember the keyboard shortcut for accessing the Rotate View Tool was R. But instead of selecting this tool, rotating the image, and then selecting the tool you worked with previously, you can do it faster.

Let us say you use the Brush tool for masking but want to rotate the view a bit.

Press and hold R. Instantly the cursor changes into the Rotate View Tool where you can click-drag on the image to rotate it.
As soon as you stop pressing R on the keyboard, you are back using the brush tool.


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Rotate View for Multiple Open Photos at Once

If you by any chance want to view multiple images using the same rotation angle in Photoshop, you do this using this method.

Viewing Multiple Images On The Screen

Assuming you already have multiple images open in Photoshop, we need to view them at the same time on the screen.

Go to Window > Arrange. This brings up a list of choices where you can decide on viewing the open images side by side in a horizontal or vertical arrangement. Select the view that you prefer.

Windows > Arrange in PS
rotate multiple images in Photoshop

Rotate All Windows

With the open images aligned, select the Rotate View Tool, and make sure that Rotate All Windows is checked in the Options bar.

rotate multiple images checkbox

Now you can click-drag on the active image and rotate it just like with a single image. When you let go of the mouse, all other open images will rotate to the same angle.

rotate multiple images

Match Rotation Option

If you already have one image rotated to the preferred viewing angle, you can make all the other images align by going to Window > Arrange > Match Rotation.

match rotation

Reset the View for All Windows

Photoshop’s Rotate Canvas Reset button also works for multiple images. Just make sure that Rotate All Windows is checked in the Options bar.

Do you do all your work in Photoshop with the image in its original view, or do you prefer to rotate it? Let us know in the comments below.

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