{Solved} How To Rotate An Image in GIMP with 7 Pro Tips

Editing your photos in GIMP is a breeze since it has a lot of the same features and tools as Photoshop.

But what do you do when your horizon is crooked? 

Or you’re working with an image that has a different orientation from your project? Like with this text effect design.

Well, you’ll need to rotate the image as desired. So, today, I’m going to share seven pro tips to rotate an image with GIMP.

If you’re ready, let’s do it!

Table of Contents

Pro Tip 1: How To Use GIMP's Rotate Tool To Rotate An Image

Using the Rotate Tool for rotating an image with GIMP is easy. First, grab the Rotate Tool with the keyboard shortcut; Shift + R. This will reveal the tool adjustment dialog.

Locate the adjustment dialog (top right of image), grab the slider under “Angle,” and move to the right or left as needed to rotate the image. Once you’re happy with the rotation, click the “Rotate” button to finalize it.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. Wouldn’t you agree

That’s a fundamental use of the Rotate Tool, though. It’s a lot more advanced than you may think. There are some useful features within the Tool Options. Once set up, you’ll wonder how you ever rotated your images without it!

We’re going to explore these advanced features of the Rotate Tool in the remainder of this tutorial.

Pro Tip 2: Adjustment Dialog Missing?

When accessing the Rotate Tool from the toolbox vs. using the keyboard shortcut, there’s an extra step to take to activate the tool. To use the Rotate Tool, you’ll need to click on the image to reveal the adjustment dialog.

Pro Tip 3: Advanced Rotate Tool Options

GIMP Rotate Tool Options

The power of the Rotate Tool is located within its Tool Options. Inside the Tool Options panel, you’ll find options like Transform, Direction, Interpolation, and more.

For this article, we’re going to focus on my recommended options for rotating pictures. If you’d like a detailed description of every feature, check out this guide on rotating in GIMP.

Pro Tip 4

When you activate any tool, its corresponding tool options are presented in a panel. This panel is located under the toolbox by default (unless you moved it as I did here). If you don’t see the panel, go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Tool Options.

Recommended Settings

Notice how the image is confined within the canvas boundary vs. the first image above.  This is due to selecting “Crop with Aspect” in the Tool Options.

Pro Tip 5: How To Create (Perfect) Straight Horizons

Here’s a couple of tips to help you straighten your image perfectly.

ONE

The first tip is to display a grid to be used as a guide for the horizon. Go to; View > Grid to turn it on. Now, when you rotate, use the horizontal lines to help you straighten your photo.

The “Rule of Fifths” overlay applied. Click to enlarge.

TWO

My preferred method for straightening images is to add a Guide. Click on the top ruler and drag it down to add a new guide along the horizon. You can now rotate the image and use this guide for, well, as a guide.

I used the a guide to help align the horizon to it… making it straight.  Although the horizon was pretty straight to begin with. Click to enlarge.

Pro Tip 6: Add a Grid

Depending on the settings in Preferences or your image’s size, the grid may not be visible at first. Try zooming in to see if that helps. If so, the size of the grid is too small for that photo.

To increase the size of the grid, go to, Preferences > Default Image > Default Grid

Set both the Spacing and Offset to 100 pixels. Click OK and restart GIMP to complete the update. You should now see the grid. If not, increase the size from 100 to something larger until you see it.

For this image, I had to adjust the settings to 100 to see the grid.  Click to enlarge.

Depending on the settings in Preferences or your image’s size, the grid may not be visible at first. Try zooming in to see if that helps. If so, the size of the grid is too small for that photo.

To increase the size of the grid, go to, Preferences > Default Image > Default Grid

Set both the Spacing and Offset to 100 pixels. Click OK and restart GIMP to complete the update. You should now see the grid. If not, increase the size from 100 to something larger until you see it.

Pro Tip 7: How To Use Your Mouse To Rotate An Image

Rotated at a 45-degree angle.

The options in the adjustment dialog are helpful for precisely controlling the rotation. A better and faster method is to use your mouse! Once you have the Rotate Tool activated, click on the image and move up or down to rotate.

Let’s say you want to rotate an image at a 45-degree angle. All you have to do is hold down your Shift key, click on the image, and rotate. This will lock in the rotation at 15-degree increments. Or, just type 45 in the Angle box!

Now What?

Now that you know how to rotate an image with GIMP, what would you like to learn next?

How about how to remove anything in GIMP!

Or how to remove a background in GIMP (and retain fine hair too).

Like this article? If so, please share!

bio photo

Hello! My name is Chris Parker and I run this place. But, more importantly, what’s in it for you? Well, my passion is to help you achieve your creative vision.

With 30 years experience I believe I can help you do just that. So, if you’re ready… let’s do it!

 

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