How to use the Rotate Tool in Adobe Illustrator 08/03/2016

Illustrator's Rotate Tool can do wonders. It's such a simple tool to use, yet it helps you create amazing illustrations. Simply put, this tool takes a shape you create and rotates it around a pivot point you determine. Here are a few samples of what you can create with the Rotate Tool in Adobe Illustrator and below is a step-by-step guide for using it.



In order to use this tool you first need to have an object selected. We've created this raindrop illustration (see our post on "How to create a raindrop in Illustrator").


Once you have the shape you want to rotate selected, you can follow the steps below.

Select the rotate tool from the toolbar.


Hold down the ALT key and your cursor will turn into a crosshair with four dots next to it. With the ALT key held down, click on the point you would like this shape to rotate from. 


The Rotate Tool dialogue window opens.

First, click on the Preview button to make sure you can see what is going on. 

Secondly, determine the rotation angle in the "Angle" field. Since the rotation happens around a circle and the angle around a point is 360° we can type the following into the angle field: 360 / x (x being the total number of copies you would like to create). In our case, we typed 360/7 and Illustrator gave us the result, which is  51.43°.

Finally, click on the "Copy" button. If you click "OK", Illustrator will rotate the shape. If you click on "Copy" then a copy of this shape will be rotated, which is what we want in this case.How-to-use-the-rotate-tool-in-adobe-illustrator-snapshot-3

Now that you have the shape rotated, you need to repeat this last action. Illustrator has a great way of doing that. You simply press CTRL (CMD on Mac) + D and your last action will be repeated. If you do this 5 times in total, then you will end up with 7 copies (you already have the initial shape and its first copy, so you need 5 more) of this shape.How-to-use-the-rotate-tool-in-adobe-illustrator-snapshot-4

And all you need to do now is to experiment with different shapes and colours. Here is a variation of the same illustration with different colours:



Illustrator is a great application to create both simple and complex shapes. It is also widely used in website design. A great example can be seen in the unique design of the artwork used on


Leave a Reply

emkartofun 4 months ago