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?


  • 3
    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. Commented Jan 29, 2014 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
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 14:59
  • 2
    @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
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 15:02
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 15:05
  • Illustrator CC 2017 has the feature :-)
    – Eva Ehler
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 10:25

13 Answers 13


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.)

  • I just realized how old this question is, but to my surprise no correct answer had been given yet.
    – Ben Mora
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 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
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 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
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 19:52
  • hehe, doesn't work. Dang. Seems like it doesn't operate as probably intended.
    – Ben Mora
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 20:03
  • This has never worked pre-CC ..which sucks
    – Cai
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 20:36

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 see 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.

  • 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
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 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
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 18:02

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.


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.


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.


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! :)


In case you want to edit the shape without the rotation, but retain the rotation, this is what I do: I add the unrotated shape as a symbol, then rotate the symbol instance. That way, by double clicking on the symbol you can edit the unrotated shape (symbol definition), then once you finish editing the symbol definition, you get your rotation back.

  • Ensure smart guides are enabled.
  • Drag a guide to the anchor point you'd like your point of rotation to be ("Anchor" should pop up as you approach it with your cursor).
  • Hit "R" to enable to Rotate tool, and click on the same anchor point (again, "Anchor" will pop up).
  • Pan over to the anchor point on the opposite side of the shape (which you'll be rotating to get the shape back to 0°).
  • Click and drag this anchor point till it intersects with the guide. It should snap into place, and "Guide" will pop up).

Illustrator CS6 has a bounding box for every object in the artboard, if you rotate an object then its respective bounding box is affected in such a way that (provided you have not reset the bounding box after said rotation operation) you can get the object back to an "un-rotated" state.

I've just confirmed this with illustrator 9. The rotated bounding box provides a "cartesian memory" for rotations.

  1. Pull guides to the 2 corners that define the lowest edge of the bounding box.
  2. Use the bottom edge of the bounding box as a reference.
  3. The angle of rotation is the angle between the x-axis and the line made by the bottom edge of the bounding box.

*Please note that the origin of the X-axis described above is the lowest corner of the bounding box.


If you select all the anchor points with the anchor point tool, then rotate it to where you need it. For example I had an object rotated 45 degrees and so the bounding box appeared to be a diamond shape. I selected the anchor points then rotated it using shift 45 degrees and now the bounding box is now a box shape surrounding the object.


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!)

  • 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!
    – Mensch
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 17:55

Turn on Smart Guides by pressing Ctrl+U. Start rotating the object and notice that there is text that tells you the degree. Remember this. Right click on the item and choose "Rotate" under the "Transform" tab. If the angle of the object was negative, put in the same number, but positive, and vice versa. This will set your object's degrees back to 0.


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. http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/subscribe/


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