A Quick Tip for Rotating AutoCAD Objects

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It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving will cap off the week, and we all know what comes after that – Autodesk University. I look forward to seeing many of you there, and hope you will join me for my class “Excel-ing in AutoCAD: No Programming Required”. For those of you not coming to Autodesk University this year, be sure to follow me on twitter (@thecadgeek) for live updates throughout the conference.

As much as I love the flagship features Autodesk adds to AutoCAD, my absolute favorite commands are the ones that make common tasks just a little easier. I was thumbing through some old notes the other day, and came across one such tip for rotating AutoCAD entities in increments of 90 degrees with a compass.

A Quick Tip for Rotating AutoCAD Objects rotate shortcut
Enter “N” at the command line to rotate an object 90-degrees.


When using the ROTATE command, instead of entering 90, 180, etc, enter N, W, S, or E to correspond with the directions of a compass – North, West, South, East.

Generally speaking, N = 90 degrees, W = 180 degrees, S = 270 degrees, and E = 360 degrees. I say “generally” because this behavior is controlled by the way you have your UNITS command configured. I venture to say that most drawings are configured to measure angles counter-clockwise, however the above would simply be reversed if you have your drawing configured to measure angles clockwise.

Speaking of reversed angles, what if you wanted to rotate an object -90 degrees (thereby rotating it clockwise, not counter-clockwise)?

The great news is that this trick works just like positive and negative numbers do at the command line. That means, all you have to do to rotate something -90 degrees is enter -N at the command line. Simple – right?

Well there you have it, a quick tip just before Autodesk University kicks off. For those making the trip to Vegas, safe travels, and I look forward to seeing you there!


2 thoughts on “A Quick Tip for Rotating AutoCAD Objects”

  1. Hold down the shift key to temporaryly toggle Ortho on for many commands including Rotate.  Mouse pick the rotation.


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