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.

Inkscape FAQ: How do I crop in Inkscape?

One of the most frequently asked questions from Inkscape users is “how do i crop an image or object?” The Clipping feature is by far the easiest and most versatile way to crop vector  or bitmap/raster objects in Inkscape. This FAQ provides you with a step by step tutorial covering the basics of clipping.

Let’s start with our little monster friend that i downloaded from the Open Clip Art Library:

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Inkscape FAQ: Why do my gradients change when I move or resize an object?

The gradient tool in Inkscape is a powerful feature that allows artists to add and edit linear and radial colour gradients on-canvas. Gradients in vector graphics provide the ability to provide the illusion of depth and light to otherwise flat images. When combined with the blur filter, gradients can be used to create photo-realistic vector images.

A Lamborghini Gallardo drawn entirely with Inkscape vectors.

However, having gradients behave strangely when moving or resizing an object is a common issue encountered by Inkscape users.

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