How to Rotate Selection in Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a freeware software package that enables you to set up layers with which to combine images. One tool that can come in handy when layering pictures is Move Selected Pixels. With that option you can rotate any area of an image or layer. This is how you can rotate selections with Paint.NET.

Open the Paint.NET software and 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

Now you can select a specific area in image to rotate by dragging the rectangle over and around it. 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.

Posted by Matthew on August 4, 2016

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

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?

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