How to Rotate an Image in Preview on Mac

When you’re taking pictures or creating images you may not have time to think about their orientation when saving the file. We often just save the image and then come back to it later when we’re ready to use it.

Once we do come back to view or use it we often find that the picture is sideways or upside down, making it difficult to view. Fortunately, there is a quick way to rotate your images in Mac’s Preview application.

I’m Eric and I have been learning about computers and operating systems for many years. I’m still exploring Mac systems and like you, I am always eager to learn new features and shortcuts. Once I learn, I also enjoy sharing knowledge with others.

If you’re ready to see how you can easily rotate an image using Mac Preview, then keep reading and you too will be able to use this handy feature.

How to Rotate an Image in Preview

While Mac’s Preview is not a full-featured image editing application, it does have some very useful tools. It allows you to do quite a bit of basic editing. 

As you’ll see below, rotating an image is fairly simple. If that’s all you need to do, it may be much easier than opening a more sophisticated tool like Adobe Photoshop just to rotate one of your pictures.

Things to Prepare

All you’ll really need to do this is your Mac and to know the location of your photographs, assuming you already have them on your computer. If you do not yet have them you will need to transfer them to your Mac first.

Take a look at this Apple support article if you need more information on how to transfer your images and photos from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac.

How to Rotate your Image

Step 1: Use Finder to find and navigate to your file.

Step 2: Right-click on the file to bring up the context menu.

Step 3: Select Open With and then select Preview.

Step 4: Your image will open in Preview.

Step 5: Press the Command and R keys to rotate right or press the Command and L keys to rotate left.

 Image rotated to the right and to the left.

Step 6: If you want to save a copy, hit the Shift, Command, and S keys to make a copy. Then hit the Command and S key to save it.

Step 7: If you just want to save the rotated image to the original file name just press the Command and S keys to save it.

As you can see, using the Command+L or Command+R keys makes rotating the picture very simple and quick. If the original image was upside down, you can hit the key combination one more time to bring it right side up. 

Once your photo is positioned correctly you can save the file and you should be good to go.

Rotating Multiple Images

What if you have a whole directory full of files that need to be rotated? No problem, Preview will let you rotate them at the same time. You just need to make sure they are rotated in the same direction. 

Just follow these steps and you can quickly rotate them all at once.

  • Step 1: Use Finder to locate the files.
  • Step 2: Select all the files by holding down the Control key and clicking on each of them.
  • Step 3: Once you have them all selected, right-click on the files and select Open With and then select Preview. This will open all of the files.
  • Step 4: Press the Command and A keys to select all of the images in Preview.
  • Step 5: Press the Command and R keys to rotate right or press the Command + L keys to rotate left.
  • Step 6: Save all of the files to a folder or when exiting as shown in the previous steps above.

Almost like magic, all of your files will be rotated at one time. No need to open every one of them up separately. 

If you have images that need to be rotated in different directions, just select all of the ones that need to rotate one way. Rotate them and then go back and select the others that need to be rotated the other way and rotate them.

Being able to perform actions or adjustments to multiple items at one time is often referred to as batch processing. Batch processing can save lots of time when you have many files that need to be rotated and this can also be done with other types of actions that are available.

More Actions Available in Preview

Rotation is not the only image editing action that Preview can perform. There are others that can be quite helpful and some of these can be used on multiple files just like the rotation feature. Here is a list of the others.

  • Adjust Color
  • Adjust Size
  • Flip Horizontal
  • Flip Vertical
  • Crop

The full list of actions can be seen on the Tools menu. All of these tools are fairly easy to use and will allow you to make basic adjustments to your images. Take a look here for more detailed information on the features of Preview and how to use them. 

Final Words

If you’re looking for a quick way to rotate images on your Mac, then the Preview application has you covered. As you can see from our quick steps above, this is a simple process and even provides the ability to process multiple images at one time.

This application also gives you the ability to make some other simple adjustments to your photos and images without the need to purchase or start-up expensive and complicated image editing software. With Preview, changes can be made and saved in a snap.

We hope this tutorial has helped you with processing your images. Let us know what kind of things you have been able to do with Preview. We would love to hear from you.

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