Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Rotating a Drawing Object.

Rotating a Drawing Object

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 26, 2019)

Word allows you to create drawing objects in your document. These objects (such as an oval, rectangle, line, or AutoShape) are positioned on what is termed the "drawing layer," which is separate and distinct from the text that appears in a document. You generally create such objects by using the tools on the drawing toolbar.

You can rotate a drawing object to any degree you desire. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the drawing object.
  2. Click on the Free Rotate tool on the Drawing toolbar. Rotation handles appear at the corners of the drawing object.
  3. Click on a rotation handle and drag the object in the direction desired.
  4. Press Esc when you are done rotating the object.

If you know exactly how much you want to rotate the drawing object, you can also do the following:

  1. Right-click on the drawing object. This displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose the Format AutoShape option from the Context menu. This displays the Format AutoShape dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Size tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Size tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

  5. Change the value in the Rotation box as desired.
  6. Click on OK.

You should note that Word allows you to insert text within an AutoShape. Rotating the AutoShape, however, does not result in the text within the AutoShape being rotated. Instead, you can only change the orientation of the text within the AutoShape, as described in other WordTips.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1726) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Rotating a Drawing Object.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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