Your PDF file is upside down, shows white edges or does not have the desired size? No problem! In our practice guide, we will show you how to rotate PDF documents quickly and easily – with or without an online tool.
Adobe Acrobat is the first stop for most users who want to rotate their PDF. If you don’t have a Creative Cloud subscription, you will usually try the free Acrobat Reader which is installed on most devices. But this program does not provide the required functions. Read on to learn how to rotate your PDFs nevertheless.
Rotating PDFs – non-permanent view rotation
There are two ways to rotate the pages of a PDF document in Adobe Acrobat. You have to distinguish between the view rotation and the permanent rotation of the page. The problem with the first method is that the PDF rotation is not retained after saving, closing and reopening the document.
The Rotate View function is useful, for instance, when a vertical flyer includes one page in landscape orientation (e.g., a reply that fits into a DL envelope) which should be left unchanged but is inconvenient to read, e.g., for the proofreader. To remedy this, open the View menu in Acrobat, choose Rotate View and choose either the icon for 90° clockwise rotation or a 90° counter-clockwise rotation. The free Acrobat Reader also offers this command but not the following function for a permanent solution:
Rotating PDFs – for view only and permanently
With the second approach, the pages are rotated permanently and output accordingly. You will find the corresponding command in the View menu · Tools · Organize Pages · Open if the toolbar is not displayed. The so-called secondary toolbar includes the page range where you can enter the page number or range to rotate. You can also select the pages to be rotated in the thumbnail view: To do so, press the Shift key to select consecutive pages or use the Control key(Ctrl) to select multiple, single pages. Subsequently, click on one of the two rotation icons next to the page range entry.
The page is rotated in 90° increments without quality loss. To rotate single pages, move the mouse over the corresponding page. Two rotation buttons are displayed on the page thumbnail view which you can click.
Frequently, scanned pages have to be rotated by a few degrees only. Acrobat Pro DC provides a function which automatically straightens the scanned document. To do so, open the View menu, choose Tools and Enhance Scans · Open. The Enhance command then appears in the bar above the page. Select Scanned Document and make further enhancement settings in the bar below. Click Enhance to start the correction function which straightens the page or removes stripes and creases. Unfortunately, it is not possible in Acrobat Pro DC to rotate individual pages by a custom angle.
Rotating pages with Acrobat Reader?
If you work with Acrobat Reader, you can only rotate the page view temporarily as described above. Similar to the zoom function, Acrobat Reader will rotate the view only but print the original format. So users of Acrobat Reader have to use third-party tools if they want to rotate pages permanently.
Caution, source of errors! The commonly used free Acrobat Reader does not allow pages to be rotated permanently. Always upload correctly aligned files to the print shop.
Online services such as smallpdf.com are a quick and comfortable alternative to rotate PDF files and usually provide a number of other functions to edit, convert or extract content. Moreover, they don’t have to be installed and can be used directly in your browser.
However, some users may feel a bit uneasy about uploading their data on the server of the provider. Alternatively, you can work with a locally installed tool. Below, we will take a closer look at the two options.
The free online services include
The services of rotatepdf.net, rotatepdf.eu and sodapdf.com generally rotate all pages in a PDF file (if it has several pages). To rotate single pages, split the documents first. In contrast, PDF24 Tools and smallpdf both enable the user to rotate each page individually in any direction using the preview – a clear advantage of these two services.
Rotating PDFs with offline tools
If you want to extend the range of PDF functions permanently, use a separate (and usually free) tool such as
- PDFtkbuilder: http://www.angusj.com/pdftkb (Win)
- PDF shaper: http://www.pdfshaper.com (Win)
- PDF rotator: https://pdf-rotator.en.softonic.com (Win)
- PDFCreator: https://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator (Win)
- Foxit Reader: https://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/ (Win)
Mac users have fewer download options, but they already have a mighty page rotation tool installed on their computer – the Preview. The Tools menu contains the command to permanently rotate pages clockwise and counter-clockwise.
By the way, OpenOffice also provides a function to rotate PDFs. To do so, open the PDF document in OpenOffice, select the page, choose “Position and Size” in the context menu and rotate the page using the toolbar. Afterwards, export the file as a PDF document.
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