In previous versions of Photoshop you could use the ruler tool to determine the correct angle of rotation for a layer and then automatically have it pre-populate the "Arbitrary" field in the "Rotate" command.

Now, with CS6 this method has been added to the crop tool and the ruler method is supposed to be just for individual layers. I'm not able to get it to behave as it has in the past. When I draw a line with the ruler tool and then click the "Straighten Layer" button, it seems to just arbitrarily straighten the selected layer based on what is in the layer graphically, rather than the line that I drew. Is the old method of using the ruler to rotate a layer no longer working? If so, how would I go about recreating that within the new tools in CS6?!

Here's an example of the issue

This is the desired result.

  • I don't understand the question. In your example you draw a line through the top lefthand corner. PS then straightens the image according to your line, as if your line was the horizon? Isn't that what you want? Sep 3, 2012 at 13:33
  • Essentially I'd like it to work similar to if you were to choose Transform Path -> Rotate. The shape is rotated so the top edge is parallel to the ruler line. When you use the ruler on a non-shape, the Rotate command simply puts you into free transform mode. Sep 4, 2012 at 18:02
  • OK, I understand what you want. I've always used the method you say is the issue, so I have no solution for you, I'm afraid. Sep 5, 2012 at 9:45

4 Answers 4


Until I can find a better way I have a dirty way.

I Use the ruler, then go to "Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary..." Using CW or CCW you can decide the orientation of the rotation. Then I copy the layer I want, Undo and Paste.

It isn't pretty but it works. The only alternative I've found is to copy the value from the ruler in to the Free Transform, but that I've found the Copy - Undo - Paste way faster.

If anyone has a better way I shall adopt it. You might consider asking this question in the Graphical Design forum as it is not strictly Photography.


If I understand you correctly, you're just looking for the inverse rotation (instead of rotating such that the drawn line becomes horizontal, rotate the layer such that the top edge is parallel to the drawn line).

That should be just a matter of flipping the sign of the prefilled rotation angle...


Adobe did change the behavior in Photoshop CS6 and it took me a while to get use to the change. I've read your description and I think it's working as intended.

Here's a quick video demo of what happens for me.

I've tried this with a single layered image straight from the camera with similar results.

If you have Photoshop, you can download my ugly Photoshop file to play with. Select the 'Rectangle 1' layer and follow my actions in the video.


Turns out I'm not the only one with this problem. I was able to get a response from the Adobe team here:


And by sending a PM to the Adobe team member I was able to get a modified version of the Straighten.jsx file used by Photoshop to make it work the same as it has in previous versions.

  • I'm not sure I understand how this would fix things. See my answer below for clarification.
    – ckoerner
    Oct 18, 2012 at 18:01
  • It fixes it by reverting the behavior of the ruler tool to how it worked in previous versions of Photoshop, which is what I wanted. Oct 18, 2012 at 19:05

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