How to Rotate Selection in Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a very powerful freeware software package for image editing and manipulation. Like most modern image editing programs, it includes layering functionality that lets you work with different layers on your images. When working with layers, one tool that can come in very handy is Move Selected Pixels. This tool is very useful in rotating a selection within your image file. In this article I will show you a brief and basic tutorial in rotating a selection in Paint.NET.

How to Rotate Selection in Paint.NET

Open the Paint.NET software and a select an image to edit. Then click Tool and Rectangle Select. Move the cursor over the image and hold the left mouse button to drag and expand a rectangle as shown below.

rotate image

Click Tools and select Move Selected Pixels from the menu. Now you can move the selected area with rectangle by dragging it with cursor as shown below.

rotate image2

To rotate the selected area, move the cursor outside the rectangle. A curved arrow appears as in the snapshot below. Hold the left mouse button and move cursor to rotate the selected area.

rotate image3

Rotating a selected area in a single layer leaves a blank background behind it as in the shots above. So this is not really ideal if you rotate text added to the picture in the same layer. However, you can rotate text added to a second layer without having any impact on the image. Click Layers > Add New Layer, and then enter some text by selecting Tools > Text.

Now select the text with Rectangle Select, and rotate it with the Move Selected Pixels option. Then it rotates without having any impact on the background image. You can always switch between layers by pressing F7. The snapshot below includes text rotated on the same image layer and on a separate foreground layer.

rotate image4

So it’s easy to see how you can now add and rotate image text without ruining the picture’s background. You can also rotate any other area of a foreground image over a background layer much the same. However, you might need to cut out an area from a picture first by removing its backdrop as covered in this Tech Junkie guide.

When you’ve done that, click Layers > Import From File; and open the image you erased some background from. It will then open in a second layer above a background picture as shown below. Note that Move Selected Pixels is automatically selected when it opens. Now rotate the top image over the background with that tool.

rotate image5

So the Move Selected Pixels tool can come in handy when you apply it with layers. With it you can now rotate and move one layer over a background image, which is great for adjusting text layout.

4 thoughts on “How to Rotate Selection in Paint.NET”

Catherine Fitzpatrick says:
I could not get this to work to save my life, even reading the further tips. So I did this a completely different way. Make a file the size of the text space you want. Use magic wand to make it clear. Go to Tool/Text and type out the font, colour and size of the text you want. Select this square, copy it, and then paste it as a new layer into the original photo you want to overlay text on. Then it is easy to tilt it and move it around as you like.
Kung Fu Jimmy says:
Kaz, right click when rotating.
Matthew says:
Yes, it might be the case that you’re rotating the rectangle with the background layer selected. When that happens, the rectangle rotates without the text and leaves a blank background. You’ve got to make sure that you’re rotating the rectangle’s text on the blank foreground layer you entered it one. Press F7 to open the Layers window and then select the blank Layer 2. Then try rotating the text again.
Kaz says:
Hi there, I’m feeling like a dummy because I am following your instructions exactly… add layer, type text, use select rectangle, but when I rotate the select rectangle, only the rectangle rotates, not the text! Gah! I’ve been through your steps 6 times now and still no text rotation… any clues about what I’m doing wrong?
Albanian says:
Keep in mind that after ma king the selection, you should use “Move selected pixels” tool (the one in blue), not the “move selection” tool (the one in white). That should be the problem.

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