4 Simple Ways to Rotate a PDF File and Save It

how to rotate a pdf

If you are a regular PDF user, chances are, you have wanted to rotate and save PDF documents at some point. While PDF file rotation is supposed to easy, without the right tool, it may appear complicated. We have done our research to determine the best ways for rotating PDF files. By the time you reach the end of this article, you should know how to rotate a PDF and save it.

Why Would I Need to Rotate a PDF File and Save It?

This is a common question that most people would ask. Documents featuring the wrong orientation are the main reason why PDF users want to learn how to rotate a PDF. 

For example, if your document is upside down, using the document may be quite tough. Also, your document may feature images whose orientation you would like to change. If you already know how to permanently rotate a PDF, solving these problems should be pretty easy, irrespective of whether they are on a document you downloaded from the internet or a scanned document. 

In this article, we will show you how to rotate a PDF and save it – you may want to know why saving the document after the rotation is necessary. The reason why you have to save the document is so that you can make the rotation permanent.

If you rotate a document but fail to save, every time you open the document, you will have to go through the rotation process. This can be time-consuming. 

How to Permanently Rotate a PDF?

1.    Use an Online Program to Rotate a PDF

Parting with your money just to rotate a PDF file is generally not very appealing. Most PDF users would want to use a free method. Most online programs will allow you to rotate your PDF files for free. 

Before we show you the various online PDF rotation programs you can use, you need to keep in mind that you should only use the online programs for the less sensitive documents. When dealing with sensitive documents, consider using computer programs which reside on your local hard drive. 

The reason why we discourage the use of online programs for private or sensitive documents is that your documents may be accessed by third-party entities. While the online program you decide to use may promise your documents won’t be accessed by anyone, this does not mean that the online program owners will keep the promise. 

Below, we will show you how to rotate a PDF and save it using a number of online programs:

Use Rotatepdf.net 

Step 1: Using a computer web browser, visit https://www.rotatepdf.net/

rotate pdf file at rotatepdf.net

Step 2: Scroll down and tap the “Select the PDF document” button. This should allow you to choose the PDF file you would like to rotate. 


  • The online program does allow you to upload a file from cloud storage. If your document is on either Google Drive or Dropbox, click the Other options button. 
  • The online program only allows its users to convert a document featuring a size that does not exceed 25 MB. 

Step 3: Select the rotation angle. You can choose between 90 degrees clockwise, 180 degrees clockwise and 90 degrees counterclockwise. 

Step 4: Finally click the Rotate PDF button to complete the process. After the rotation, you can download the rotated document to your computer. 

Use SmallPDF

Step 1: Visit https://smallpdf.com/rotate-pdf

Step 2: Drag and drop the file you would like to rotate in the work area. Alternatively, you can hit the Choose file link. If your documents are on Google Drive or Dropbox, hit the links for these cloud storage services to upload the files. 

Step 3: You can choose to rotate specific pages or rotate the whole document all at once. Also, you can rearrange the pages within the program. You can also delete some of the pages. 

Step 4: Once you are done with modifying the document, simply hit the Apply Changes button. Finally, download the rotated PDF. 

2.    Rotate a PDF Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat will work on both your Windows PC and Mac computer. The computer program is not 100% free. However, since it comes with a 7-day free trial version, you should be able to rotate as many documents as possible before the free trial version runs out. 

Adobe Acrobat is not complicated to use. Assuming you already have the pro version or the free trial version is yet to run out, we will show you how to permanently rotate a PDF using Adobe Acrobat:

Step 1: Open the PDF file you would like to rotate in Adobe Acrobat. 

Step 2: Visit Document > Rotate Pages.

Step 3: Choose the direction you would like to rotate the pages. 

Step 4: Select whether you want to rotate all the pages or you have a range of pages you would like to rotate. 

Step 5: Click the OK button. Finally, save the document to retain the rotation settings. 

3.    Use PDFelement

You can install PDFElement on both your Mac and Windows PC. The application has all the PDF features you might need, including a feature that allows you to rotate your documents. The program does allow its users to use the trial version for free. If you prefer PDFElement over Adobe Acrobat, follow the steps outlined below to learn how to rotate a PDF and save it:

Step 1: Launch PDFElement on your computer. Add the PDF file you would like to rotate. You can do this via the drag and drop option. Alternatively, click the Open File button and then locate your file. 

Step 2: Rotate the Pages

There are various ways through which you can rotate your PDF file using PDFElement, we will describe the methods below:

Method 1: Using Thumbnail 

After opening the PDF file, simply tap the Thumbnail icon available on the left-hand column. If your goal is to rotate just a single page, right-click the page in the thumbnail view and then choose the Rotate Page option. Next, select the direction you would like to rotate your chosen page.

If you would like to rotate multiple pages, simply select these pages. You can hold down the Ctrl button when selecting the pages. After the selection, right-click one of the pages and then select the Rotate Page option.  

The moment you click the Rotate Page button, a pop-up window will appear on the screen. Here, you will be able to select the direction you would like to rotate your selected pages. 

Method 2: By Right-Clicking the Page 

If you intend to rotate a single page, you can do this by navigating to that page in the main view and then right-clicking it. Next, choose Rotate Page. On the popup that appears, tweak the settings and then complete the rotation. 

Method 3: Using the Page Menu 

After opening the PDF file, simply visit the Page tab. Select the pages you would like to rotate and then select Rotate to right or Rotate to left. When selecting multiple pages, be sure to hold down the Ctrl key. 

Method 4: Using the Hotkeys 

After opening the PDF document in PDFElement, you can tap the Alt key to view the hotkeys you can use. Next, press the G button to proceed. To rotate the selected page to the left hit T + L to rotate to the Right, hit T + R. 

Method 5: Use Shortcuts 

PDFElement does allow its users to use shortcuts for rotation. While viewing the PDF document, press Ctrl + Shift + L to rotate the current page to the left. To rotate the current page to the right, tap Ctrl + Shift + R.  

Step 3: After rotating your document, select the File tab > Click Save As, and then hit the save button after giving your document a name. This will rotate the document permanently. 

4.    Rotate a PDF with PDFMate PDF Manager

While this application may not have a lot of features, it has the ability to rotate PDF files. Being a freeware, it may be appealing to a large number of people. To learn how to permanently rotate a PDF using PDFMate PDF Manager, follow the steps outlined below:

Step 1: After installing PDFMate PDF Manager on your computer, add the file you would like to rotate. 

Step 2: Go to the Output Settings > Layout. Here, you will need to select the PDF orientation. You can select either the horizontal or vertical. 

Step 3: To initiate the rotation, click the Build button. The rotated document should be created within a couple of seconds. To find the document, simply visit the output folder. 


If the poor orientation is making a PDF file hard to read, rotating and saving the document should fix all your problems. PDF file rotation can be done using the methods we have described above. You do not have to part with your money considering that free trial versions for computer programs are available. Additionally, the online programs described above are both free and extremely easy to use.

Author: Treyton Collins

A tech editor for Starzsoft.com offering professional how-to articles for Windows, Android and Apple users.