Image rotation is one of the most basic adjustments that you’ll need to do as an image editor, and it’s also one of the easiest edits you can do in GIMP. There are a couple of different ways you can go about it, but if you just need to do a quick 90- or 180-degree rotation, here’s how.
The Quick Way to Rotate an Image in GIMP
This one is so quick it only has a single step, as long as you already have your image open in GIMP!
Step 1: Open the Image menu from the GIMP menu bar, select the Transform submenu, and then choose the rotation angle and direction that you want.
This method will apply the rotation to your entire image canvas. If you want to rotate a single layer within your image, you’ll use the same commands, but you should access them in the Layer menu instead of the Image menu.
This quick method is great when you want to swap a photo back and forth between portrait and landscape orientation or a quick 180 flip, but you’ll need to do a bit more if you want a custom rotation angle. It’s almost as easy, but there are a couple of different ways to do it.
Rotating an Image in GIMP
As I mentioned before, there are a couple of different ways to rotate an image in GIMP, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, so let’s take a closer look at the three most commonly used methods.
1. Using the Unified Transform Tool
The Unified Transform tool does exactly what it says: it combines move, scale, rotation, shear, and perspective into a single transform tool. This can be very useful when you’re doing multiple transform adjustments all at once, but it can be a bit finicky if you just want to rotate your image.
Find the tool in the toolbox or use the keyboard shortcut Shift + T to switch to the tool. Click once anywhere on the image, and handles appear for precise control over your transform. To rotate, click a blank area of the workspace outside your image boundary and drag in the direction you want to rotate.
GIMP provides a small popup overlay that shows a transform matrix describing the changes in your image, but I find it a bit counterintuitive to use unless you’re doing precise calculations. When your image is rotated the way you want, click Transform to finalize the rotation.
2. Using the Rotate Tool in GIMP
Despite the Unified Transform tool, GIMP hasn’t abandoned specialized tools. If you want to prevent yourself from accidentally resizing during your rotation or any other tiny mishaps that come from overly helpful tools, you can ditch Unified Transform in favor of the dedicated Rotate tool.
The Rotate tool is your go-to option for precise control over image rotation in GIMP, from fixing horizons to adjusting your compositions. You can find it in the toolbox nested under the Unified Transform tool, or use the shortcut Shift + R to access it.
Not only does it allow you to specify the exact degree of rotation, but you can also set the point your image or layer will be rotated around.
Most of the time, you’ll be happy to leave this at the default center point, but there are lots of times when it’s useful to rotate your layer around one of the corners or edges, especially if you need a very precise layer alignment that’s being calculated with pixel transforms.
To finalize your rotation, click the Rotate button in the Rotate popup window, and you’re done!
3. Arbitrary Rotation
You probably noticed back in the Quick Way section of the post that there is an entry in the Transform submenu labeled Arbitrary Rotation.
Despite what it might seem from the name, this command allows you to specify exactly what angle and direction of rotation you’d like to apply to your image. It may sound like you’ll get a random result, but actually, GIMP simply selects the Rotate tool for you.
It feels like this is a bit of a legacy command left over from previous versions of GIMP, but feel free to use it if you prefer. As far as I can tell, there’s no difference compared to using the Rotate tool. I like the word arbitrary, but it’s probably not worth the extra clicks when a shortcut will do.
That’s everything there is to know about how to rotate an image in GIMP!About Thomas Boldt