Is there a way to rotate the canvas in illustrator 90 degrees? It's pdf format. I've tried the Artboard tool (Ctrl/Command + O)

I found an answer regarding this: Illustrator opens PDFs rotated 90 degrees. Why, and how do I deal with it?

Is this still the case? Do i have to use adobe acrobat / reader to rotate it? Is it possible to rotate it in illustrator CS6?


6 Answers 6


Press Shift+O. At the top of the screen you can switch from portrait mode or landscape mode. Select your desired position.

rotate canvas

Then press V (Selection Tool) then Ctrl/Command + A (Select All) to select all the objects.

Move your mouse to any corner of the selected box. Your mouse should change to this

rotate cursor

Hold Shift and Click & Drag to rotate the selected object 90 degrees. There are number a ways to rotate objects, you can also right click the selected object > Transform > Rotate then apply what degree you want.

It does not matter if you rotate the canvas first or the objects first. They are independent of each other. To my knowledge there is no "one-click" method to doing both at the same time.

  • Seems to work; just the gradient directions are now all messed up. Oh well thanks!
    – chrisjlee
    Mar 19, 2014 at 13:20
  • 3
    Note: you might have to re-position the content (as a whole) after rotating it.
    – fregante
    Jun 1, 2015 at 8:38
  • @bfred.it, with all due respect, do you say something more of what Javi says? He clears out that you have to reposition content. Your answer it is a bit confusing, at least to me. Sep 8, 2015 at 16:01
  • 2
    He only says rotate the selected object, not move it. In my case the content was off-center after the rotation; if you don't have clear content borders that might not be instantly noticeable, hence my note.
    – fregante
    Sep 8, 2015 at 21:15
  • 2
    Before you rotate anything, make a rectangle with corners at the corners of the original artboard/canvas. Group this with your artwork (Ctrl + G). Now when you rotate the artwork it should stay aligned relative to the rotated artboard/canvas. Then ungroup and delete the rectangle.
    – Mark A
    Jan 22, 2018 at 17:05

Same as Javi, but before rotate anything, press M (Rectangle Tool) and generate a rectangle with the exact dimension of the Artboard.

Then, align to Artboard in both directions (H and V). Next, apply the Javi procedure...finally, delete the rectangle.

  • What's the purpose of rotating a rectangle I am gonna delete? Sep 8, 2015 at 16:02
  • 5
    The objects are rotated around the center of the selection, adding the rectangle to the selection will cause the rotation center to be in the center of the canvas.
    – Gigo
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:15

Design it in InDesign, where you can go to Pages -> Rotate Page View. This rotates the entire page and its contents, so that you can design something upside down (bellybands that wrap around a box or 2-sided packages folded on the short end, for example) and then rotate it back to design the right-side-up part.

  • 2
    What is the advantage to use InDesign? The op asked for Illustrator ...
    – Mensch
    Feb 25, 2016 at 0:50
  • Hi Kara, Welcome to Stackexchange. Your answer is an excellent comment rather than a strictly relevant answer.
    – Stan
    Apr 11, 2019 at 13:03

The quickest way I've found to do this is to create a clipping mask of the contents that lines up exactly to the edges of your artboard (use the align tool to get it exact). Then rotate the artwork, then rotate the clipped mask. Then you can release the clipping mask.


Just print it again to pdf , and open it again in Illustrates it should do the magic .

  • Can you please provide some more information?
    – Welz
    Aug 9, 2018 at 14:34
  • well you have the pdf file just you need to print it again to PDF , so it will be on the correct orientation Aug 10, 2018 at 18:00
  • on windows :Open a file in a Windows application. Choose File > Print. Choose Adobe PDF as the printer in the Print dialog box. To customize the Adobe PDF printer setting, click the Properties (or Preferences) button. ... Click Print. Type a name for your file, and click Save. Aug 10, 2018 at 18:01
  • in OS X: Open the document, web page, or file you want to print to a PDF. Click the File menu and select “Print”, or just hit Command+P. Look for the “PDF” button in the lower left corner, click on that pull-down menu, and select “Save as PDF” Aug 10, 2018 at 18:02
  1. Shift + O - select the "artboard tool" (second-from-last, above the zoom tool). A left-side menu will appear.
  2. At the bottom of the menu, a button appears in the "Quick Action" section: Artboard Options--click it.
  3. The 5th line contains an "Orientation" multi-select field with two options: (1) Portrait; (2) Landscape. Select the option that best suits your needs.

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