How to Rotate an Image in Google Docs

Easily flip images to any orientation you need

Google Docs is a useful, online word processing application that lets you create, share, and print documents for professional or personal needs. In addition to being able to work with text by adding bullets, using find and replace, or adding images to your documents, you can also flip or rotate images in Google Docs.

Rotating and image in Google Docs means you can change how it’s laid out on the page. Flipping an image is actually creating a mirrored version of it. There are a couple of ways to rotate images but only one way to flip images. Here’s how it works.

The instructions in this article apply to Google Docs on the web only. You can add images in the iOS and Android mobile apps, but you must be using a desktop browser in order to change the orientation of the images.

How to Rotate Images Using the Image Options

Even once you’ve inserted an image into your Google Doc, it might not be immediately obvious how to rotate the image. There are, however, several ways to get to it.

  1. First, insert an image into your document if you haven’t already done that. To insert an image, place your cursor at the spot in the document you want it to display, and then click the Insert Image icon. Navigate to and choose your image.

    The image option in Google Docs.
  2. Once the image is in the document, select it so the blue bounding border appears. You’ll also see a small menu immediately beneath the image.

    The Image options menu in Google Docs.
  3. Click the Image Options icon (three vertical dots) and select Size & rotation.

    You can also choose Image options from the context menu above the document.

    The Image Size & Rotation option in Google Docs.
  4. The Image options pane opens on the right side of the screen. There, you can use the options under the Rotate section to either change the Angle of the image (by degrees) or you can rotate the image 90°.

    The Image Rotation options in Google Docs.
  5. When you’re finished you can close out of the Image options pane and click outside the image in your document to close the controls and remove the bounding box.

How to Rotate Images Using the Rotate Control

When you’ve selected an image, you may notice that the blue bounding box has square points at each corner and in the center of each side. These points are used to resize your image. But there is also a round blue circle at the center of the top edge of your image. This is a Rotation control. Once you’ve selected an image, you can click and hold on that blue circle to change the rotation of the image.

The Rotation handle on an image in Google Docs.

If you’re changing the rotation of an image in your document and it suddenly disappears, don’t panic. Scroll further down in your document. It’s possible that changing the orientation of the image made it too large to fit in the space available on the page it was originally located on.

How to Flip an Image in Google Docs

Flipping an image is not the same as rotating it. Flipping an image will create a mirror image where text is backward and objects appear on opposite sides of the picture. But, to flip an image, you’ll need to insert it in your document using a different method.

  1. To insert the image into your document, please the cursor where you want the image to appear and then select Insert > Drawing and then choose + New.

    The New Drawing option in Google Docs.
  2. In the Drawing dialog box that opens, choose the Image icon.

    The Image icon in the Drawing box on Google Docs.
  3. Navigate to and select the image you want to insert into the document. The image will be inserted into the Drawing dialog box.

  4. Before you close the Drawing dialog box, select the Actions menu in the upper left corner.

    The Actions menu in the Drawing window on Google Docs.
  5. Hover your cursor over the Rotate option and from the flyout menu, select Flip horizontally or Flip vertically. Flipping the image horizontally will move items in the image on the right side to the left side. Flipping it vertically will move items on the top of the image to the bottom.

    You can also use this menu to rotate your image if you want to do that while you're editing it in the Drawing window.

    The Flip options in the Drawing Window on Google Docs.
  6. When you’re finished, click Save and Close to insert the image into your document.

If you need to change the image again once you’ve inserted it, you can select the image and choose Edit from the menu that appears beneath it. That will take you back to the Drawing editor so you can make your changes.