How do you rotate in inkscape?

How do i rotate is one of the most frequently asked questions for beginner Inkscape users. There are multiple ways to rotate in inkscape, and this FAQ will show you the basics for four of them. The three different ways for rotating objects are: the toolbar buttons, the on-canvas rotation handles, transform dialog, and the keyboard shortcuts.

Method 1, the toolbar buttons

Rotating with the toolbar buttons only lets you rotate objects 90 degrees at a time. To rotate with the toolbar buttons, first choose the select tool:

Next, select the object that you want to rotate by simply clicking on it. Once you have clicked on the group once, arrows  and a dotted line should appear around the object:

Finally, press the rotate button on the toolbar to rotate your selection in 90 degree increments.

Method 2, Rotate on Canvas

Using the toolbar buttons to rotate objects in inkscape is by far the easiest method to discover. However, it only lets you rotate in 90 degree increments.

For a wider range of motion, using the on-canvas rotate handles is the way to go. As with the previous method, choose the select tool, and then select the object that you wish to rotate. The select box and handles should appear as before:

Now that the resize handles are visible, simply click on the object again to display the rotate handles:

Now that the rotate handles are visible, simply click on one of them, and drag it to rotate your object freely.

Method 3, the Transform dialog.

The free rotate that the on-canvas rotate controls (method 2) give are great, but what if you need more accurate control? When using method 2, you can hold down the ctrl key to limit the rotation to 15 degree increments, but what if you want to rotate the object by a specific, arbitary amount?

That is where the transform dialog comes in. First, as with the other methods, select the object that you want to rotate. Then open the transform dialog from the menu, Object > Transform.

Switch to the “Rotate” tab of the newly opened Transform Dialog, enter in how many degrees you need your object rotated, and click apply to rotate.

Method 4, the keyboard shortcuts

This method is super simple. Select the object(s) that you wish to rotate, and press the square brackets key( [ or) to rotate left and right by chunks.

For finer-grained rotation with the keyboard shortcuts, use the shortcuts alt + [ and alt + ] to rotate one degree at a time.


The four methods above outline the basics of rotating objects in inkscape. For further information about rotating and transforming objects in Inkscape the “Select Tool” chapter of the Inkscape Manual has more detailed information, including how to change the rotation point or rotation center of your object. The transforms chapter of Tav’s Inkscape Guide also provides some in-depth documentation of rotating in Inkscape.

Modifying your helicopter

So, you have followed the tutorial posted a few days ago, and created a cartoon helicopter of your own in Inkscape.

However, you have decided to do some modifications to your vehicle, adding extra weaponry and gadgets. Luckily, did a follow-up tutorial on how to modify your vector helicopter, which is pretty easy thanks to the power of Inkscape and SVG!

Drawing a 2D Helicopter with inkscape

Here is an awesome, detailed, step-by-step on drawing a side-view 2d helicopter by Chris Hildenbrand. Chris’ tutorials yield some impressive results, however they are aimed at intermediate inkscape users.

Update: After this tutorial, be sure to check out the next one in the series, that shows you how to modify your helicopter!

Graffiti / Street Art type design

Here is a tutorial to create a vector design in a street art / graffiti style. This tutorial does not go into much detail on each of the steps, is more of a demonstration of the workflow the artist used to create the design. Well worth a look for intermediate and advanced Inkscape users.


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Chrome Text Effect using Inkscape SVG filters [video tutorial]

As a follow-on from yesterday’s tutorial, the chrome effect in today’s tutorial is another text effect that utilizes Inkscape SVG filters. We have previously featured a tutorial to created a chrome text effect, but that was achieved using just gradients and blur.

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Creating an Inkscape Filter effect to style text

Here is a quick how-to outlining the process to create custom inkscape SVG filters to style text. The tutorial covers the procedure to create a filter for text with a shadow, slightly inset text and raised, super glossy text. The tutorial also has a downloadable SVG so you can open up the image in Inkscape and play with the filters yourself.

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Creating an Urban Design using Concentric Circles, Clouds and Spiro Swirls

Here is a neat tutorial showing how to create an urban design by layering different types of vector elements. In this tutorial, you first create a range of concentric circle stamps (or “brushes”), and layer them on top of different coloured cloud silhouettes. Finally, you create a whole bunch of swirls using the spiro curve and path effects.

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