How to Flip & Rotate Pictures in Mac OS X with Preview
The Mac OS X Preview application has a a few little known image adjustment features for rapid image orientation flipping or rotation that are quite powerful, and if you’re looking to make quick adjustments to rotate a picture or mirror vertically or horizontally the general orientation of any image file, a great Mac app to do so is bundled on every OS X machine from the get go with Preview.
Using the app to complete these tasks is quick and easy, here’s how to adjust orientation of either a single picture or multiple pictures at the same time.
Rotating / Flipping a Single Picture in Preview
To rotate or flip a single image, you just need to do the following:
- Open the Picture into the Preview application
- Pull down the “Tools” menu and select one of the following:
- Rotating the Picture: “Rotate Left” (Command+L) or “Rotate Right” (Command+R)
- Flipping the Picture: “Flip Horizontal” – flips sideways, like a mirror – or “Flip Vertical” to flip the picture orientation up/down
Rotating and/or Flipping Multiple Pictures at the Same Time with Mac OS X Preview
If you have a group of pictures on a Mac that need rotating or flipping, you can accomplish what is basically batch rotation or orientation flipping of all the images by using the Preview app as well. Starting off from the OS X Finder:
- Select multiple images in Finder and open them all in Preview
- Hit “Command+A” to Select All, or choose “Select Al” from the File menu
- While all images are selected, go to the “Tools” menu and choose your rotation or flipping adjustment:
- Rotating All Pictures: Select “Rotate Left” or “Rotate Right”
- Flipping All Pictures: Select “Flip Horizontal” – flips sideways, like a mirror – or “Flip Vertical” to flip the picture orientation up/down
You can also use the same rotation keyboard shortcuts when modifying pictures in bulk through the Preview app if you’d like, and make quick progress of the entire task by selecting all images (Command+A), then mass rotating all of the selected images together by using either Command+R (for rotate right) or Command+L (for rotating left). Hitting Command+S will then save all the changes to the orientation, and you’re done!
Whether or not it’s faster for users to go with the keyboard shortcuts or the File and Tool menus is purely a matter of preference, the end result is the same.