The latest versions of MacOS include an handy feature that allows you to quickly rotate images directly from the Finder, without having to open any other application like Preview or Photos. This image rotate capability comes as a Finder Quick Action and it can be accessed anytime from the Column view, Icon View, or List views in the Mac Finder.
This article will show you how to quickly rotate images on the Mac directly from the Finder.
Note this Rotate via Finder feature requires MacOS Mojave 10.14 or later.
How to Rotate Images Directly in Finder on Mac with Column View
- From the Finder in Mac OS, navigate to the folder containing the image you wish to rotate
- Choose to display the Finder window in Column view (or use ‘Show Preview’ in the View menu to enable the Preview Panel in Icon and List view*)
- Select the image you want to rotate, then click on “Rotate Left” in the Preview panel
As you likely guessed, the default for “Rotate Left” is a 90 degrees rotation to the left, but you can click the button again to effectively flip an image upside-down and rotate it vertically 180 degrees, and you can click it yet again to rotate it 270 degrees. Of course you can also rotate it yet again to rotated it a full 360 degrees and effectively undo the image rotation as well.
Speaking of undo, you can immediately undo the image rotate with Command Z (Undo command) as usual.
This Finder Rotate tool is really useful and should be particularly helpful to anyone who works with images, whether you’re a photographer (amateur or professional), web worker, office worker, graphic designer, or really anyone else who finds themselves needing to rotate a picture quickly.
Of course you can also still rotate pictures on Mac with Preview, which also allows for other options like resizing images too, whereas the Finder Rotate Left tool is simply for rotating a selected image quickly and not aimed at providing other capabilities or image editing adjustments.
The Finder Rotate tool can also work with multiple images if they’re of the same file type too. If you want to apply rotations to large groups of images, a better use is probably to batch rotate a group of images on the Mac you’ll want to use Preview, or the command line with a tool like sips, or an Automator script if you’ve created one for image modifications.
* If you wish to access the Rotate Left tool in any Finder view other than Column view, you must show the Preview panel in Mac Finder windows via the “View” menu. This works with Icon View and with List View, and with the Preview panel visible you will have access to the Rotate feature.
Know of any other handy tips or tricks for rotating images quickly in the Finder, or for Finder Extensions on the Mac? Share with us in the comments below!