I have this red object and grey object.

the red and grey objects

I need to rotate the grey object around such that it fits perfectly well on red object's line.

How do I achieve that?


Ok there are 2 tricks to know about illustrator.


  1. You can actually measure the angle of an object with the line tool! So do the following:
    1. Draw a line along the existing line
    2. Alt click with line tool and it will display the angle. Copy this value.
    3. Rotate object with rotate tool numeric input (alt click for anchor) paste the value. (and subrtact your heading)

enter image description here

  1. I'm not so sure this is a trick but rather pointing at the points which you want to be in line. I dont really understand why people have so much problem with the concept but seems really hard fr people to come up with this.

    1. Place the object so the lines intersect.
    2. switch over to rotate tool (R)
    3. click on the intersection (you do have smart guides on?)
    4. start rotation on a different point on line you want to align
    5. rotate until you hit and snap to the line you want.* enter image description here

* Illustrator before CC has a really bad precision when it comes to calculating intersections. But then illustrator is no cad. Hell it can not even make perfect circles.

| improve this answer | |
  • Cannot make perfect circles?? Huh? – Wildcard Apr 15 '19 at 7:45
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    @Wildcard: My guess would be that they are approximated with cubic Bézier curves, which cannot represent a circle perfectly. This is often nicer to work with in graphics applications, but, obviously, not exact. – Joey Apr 15 '19 at 8:25
  • @Wildcard Joey is right, this is obviously not a problem in most day to day operation but it can become a pain if you use circle tool a lot as a comåass for establishing shapes. – joojaa Apr 15 '19 at 14:35
  • Select the grey object
  • Press R to activate the Rotate Tool
  • Click the point that it's already touching the red object to set the rotation center
  • Click the selected object oposite side and rotate

enter image description here

The tool shows the exact rotation angle if the Smart Guides are activated:

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • Its probably the only way, but not ideal. I have struggled with this myself a few times. It would be nice if there was a mathematical tool to rotate more accurately. Like measure how many degrees a line is rotated at, so you can rotate other objects by the same number of degrees. Also touching tilted objects is sometimes a guessing game. – Lucian Apr 14 '19 at 17:10
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    this gets better if you drag from the bottom line then you can snap to the line. – joojaa Apr 14 '19 at 17:21
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    @Lucian Yes, this is Illustrator, not AutoCAD 😬 – user120647 Apr 14 '19 at 17:28

This may or may not be helpful.

AstuteGraphics.com has a plug in called ColliderScribe. While it is not free, there is a free trial you can use if these steps will help you now. I highly recommend the AstuteGraphics plug ins if you work with Illustrator a great deal.

With ColliderScribe installed, you have two new tools under the Selection tool (as well as other tools/features):

enter image description here

The Rotate to Collision tool will rotate one object to match another object's angle. Simply click a path on the object you wish to rotate, then drag to the path you wish to match...

enter image description here

Now, you may ask why I clicked the path farthest away from the angle I want to snap to.... the plug in has this quirk that it seems to flip the object if the closest path is clicked.

enter image description here

This may be a setting I can't find, or it may be related to path directions, or even a bug in the version I'm running (these are CS6 animations). Either way, it works and merely takes a click in a different area. I haven't really dug deep to figure out why the flip happens, I have merely learned to anticipate it.

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