Rotate ArcMap Data Frame

August 20, 2008 by  
Filed under ArcGIS, ArcMap, GIS Tips

From time to time, you might find a need to rotate your data frame.  Many people do not realize that it is even possible.  They find that their map would look better if they could just make the slight tweak.  Well this task can be done with just a few clicks.

1.  Open the data frame properties.  Notice the orientation of the United States.

2.  Under the general tab, enter the desired rotation angle for the data frame.

With this new rotation angle set, your data frame will reflect the change.

Also note that on the layout view, the north arrow will rotate with the data frame.


If you rotate your data frame often and would like a more interactive way to do it, then turn on the Data Frame Tools toolbar from the tools menu.

With this tool bar you can click the rotate button and rotate the data frame interactively.  There is also a reset button as well to bring the data frame back to true north.


5 Comments on "Rotate ArcMap Data Frame"

  1. Oldi on Wed, 15th Dec 2010 6:00 am 

    Hey ! That´s what I was looking for !!

    I just found out that when you turn Australia by 194° it looks like the Unites States :))

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Asfaw on Wed, 9th Nov 2011 5:17 am 

    wow nice tip
    thank you

  3. dwb on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 9:21 pm 

    Is it possible to then export this in DWG format rotated? When I do it the export seems to be unrotated :C

  4. Timothy on Sat, 18th Aug 2012 9:04 am 

    The data frame rotation only applies to the map document. You will need to actually modify the data to rotate it. If this is a CAD file or image, you can use the Georeferencing toolbar to rotate it. It will create a world file that will be read by the CAD software.

  5. susan on Tue, 28th Aug 2012 1:56 pm 

    Yes. Now I don’t have to change software to rotate my maps.

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