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I have a "rotation" issue with Illustrator. I've rotated some shape which has no horizontal component which I could align to guide, so I have no idea how to rotate the shape back to 0 degrees. In the case of multiple shapes (I've rotated letters) I have a problem to align them back.

Any suggestions to solve the problem?


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When I've looked into this before, it seemed like this is something everyone wants but that Illustrator just doesn't do (but, annoyingly, something Illustratror's rivals manage to do just fine). When I need to unrotate text, I usually just re-type or copy and paste the text into new text, then use the eyedropper to make it match the old text (double-click the eyedropper icon first and make sure everything's ticked). Sometimes it's also possible to use the bounding box. – user568458 Jan 29 '14 at 14:56
Could you include a screenshot and include the rotation panel. I'm not quite understanding why you can't use the rotation tool? – Ryan Jan 29 '14 at 14:59
@Ryan I can use the rotation tool but to rotate to 0 degree manually is very difficult - always there is some inaccuracy like -0.1 degree and if the work will be used to laser cut I can get unexpected reactions from buyers... – Ilan Jan 29 '14 at 15:02
@user568458 seems like what you've posted is worthy of an answer. Also, you could use the obseration posted here to accomplish it in a hacky sort of way – JohnB Jan 29 '14 at 15:05

I've found some solution to the issue if you rotated the shape once only.

  1. Select the rotated shape. You will see the bounding box if it is not disabled.
  2. Locate the cursor to the point where the rotating sign will appear.
  3. Click and start moving the shape - you will the the exact angle by which was rotated from the 0 degrees - remember that number and
  4. Release the button.
  5. Right click on the shape → Transform → Rotate and in the rotation angle insert the number you've remembered and
  6. Click OK.

The shape will come back to original settings if you don't press Reset Bounding Box before the zeroing.

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Glad you found a solution to your issue. You should be aware that bounding boxes often reset on their own, without any user interaction (especially if you close a file, then return to it later). In those instances this method would not work. Truth is, Illustrator merely does not offer any direct way to un-rotate an object. [Stupid Adobe] – Scott Jan 29 '14 at 17:59
It is not a real solution, it is probably better to copy the shapes before rotating them as was suggested earlier... – Ilan Jan 29 '14 at 18:02

Use the measuring tool the get the angle of the 2 point on the object (straight line) you want to reset to 0 degree. Then type in the angle measured (clock wise @ counter clock wise) to level to object with transform tools.

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Correct, this is not a built-in feature of Illustrator (as it stands).

You can however reset text objects and bitmap images with a script called ‘Clear Transform’ by a guy called Iaroslav Tabachkovsky. It’s available to download on Vector boom:

Don’t worry, Illustrator scripts are very easy to install and use. All relevant instructions are on the page in the link.

Enjoy! :)

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Since the feature doesn't really exist I should suggest keeping a copy of your shape previous to rotating it.

I would probably set up a separate layer for shapes in their original position and just hide it and then reference it if I need a particular shape back at 0 degrees.

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The easiest way I know, assuming it has the original bounding box still, is create a guide line (I use horizontal) on one corner, then use the rotate tool (r), select the corner you lined up with the guide, then rotate from the other corner down until it's lined up along the guide.

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In AI CC you can click on X, Y, W or H to bring up a menu with couple of cool object properties, rotation included. Worked like magic for me!)

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Can you please add an screenshot showing how one can solve the given problem with the so called "cool object properties"? Please explain better what you mean with your answer to make it a valid answer ... Welcome to GD.SE! – Kurt Jul 2 at 17:55

In CC 2015, there is a way: After you've rotated something, open the "Transform" window and you can type 0 into that value.

enter image description here

HOWEVER in CS6 this does not work. I just installed CS6 to confirm. This same window "Transform" does have the rotate field, but it clears to 0 after any changes. This does not work in CS6. (As you already know. I am just updating this answer to correct myself.)

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I just realized how old this question is, but to my surprise no correct answer had been given yet. – Ben Mora Jul 6 at 15:09
if you add relevant screenshot of CS6 before and after rotation: where you can clearly see the degree of rotation... I'd be happy to accept your answer. – Ilan Jul 6 at 18:28
Sorry, I didn't notice that you had specified CS6. I am installing CS6 now to see if I can figure it out. ;) I'll update the answer accordingly if I find it. – Ben Mora Jul 7 at 19:52
hehe, doesn't work. Dang. Seems like it doesn't operate as probably intended. – Ben Mora Jul 7 at 20:03
This has never worked pre-CC ..which sucks – Cai Jul 7 at 20:36

It's already been resolved on another post, but I'll write it here: you need the free plugin from astute graphics. Check the page, scroll down, check the animated gif about the orient tool. It does what it promises. I checked. Oh, and not affiliated with them.

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