How to Rotate a Scanned PDF

So, your boss requested that you scan a pile of documents and get them sent to him ASAP. You manage to get all the documents scanned and on your computer.

You have scanned documents before so you don’t bother to look at the images, going ahead and sending them to your boss. A few days later you get an email from your boss asking about what you sent. He seems mad.

Apparently, all the documents you sent him were upside down. That did not make sense. You know how to scan a document. So, you go to do it again and the scanner does the same thing. It scans your document upside down.

Even when you flip the documents around, the same thing happens. Now you are panicking as your boss is mad and you have no idea why your documents are not scanning right.

Though an extreme case, this is a very real scenario. Sometimes technology just will not work for us and we find ourselves in situations we have no clue how to get out of.

If you are doing work for your boss, you never want to tell him you do not have a solution. That is why you are here today, to find out that solution. Even in less serious scenarios such as scanning a family photo to upload to Facebook, if your scanner messes up and will not cooperate, you might not know how to fix it.

Well, there is no need to worry about that now. Today you will learn exactly how to rotate a scanned PDF.

Reasons for Scan Malfunction

Technology is not always guaranteed to do exactly what we want it to do. This is no exception for scanners. Your scanner can work one day and just as easily mess up the next.

Scanning images in the wrong orientation is a common issue from scanners. Even so, most people do not know how to fix the incorrect orientation of their scanned document. The reasoning behind the scanner malfunction can be a lot of things.

The main cause is age and the amount of use of your scanner. The quality of the scanner also plays a role in the error arising. Either way, there are many ways to fix the orientation of your scanned PDF without panicking.

How to Rotate a Scanned PDF

Learning how to do a task multiple ways can help you. Sometimes one method may not work and you will need to use a different method. For that reason, we will go over several different techniques you can use to rotate a scanned PDF.

Image Method

When you scan a document, that document becomes an image. Working with images is rather simple. Most computers are capable of rotating images quite effectively.

For this to work, however, you should make sure to scan the document with image settings. Converting the document back into a PDF can be done later.

Each scanner is made different, however, when you scan a document you have many options for how you want the file to come out. Most of the time, when you are scanning a document then you would want it to be in the PDF file format.

This way you can edit the document later. In this case, though, you will want to save the document that is not scanning in the correct orientation to an image file. Common image files include JPEG and PNG file extensions.

Once the document is saved in one of these two file extensions then you can rotate the document. For Windows users, it is as simple as right clicking the image and clicking on rotate right or left.

If you are using a Mac then you should first open the image. Once the image is open, click on the “Tools” menu and click on rotate right or rotate left. Now that the image has successfully been rotated, you might want to change it back into a PDF document.

This can be done multiple ways but the easiest way is to drag the image into Microsoft Word and saving the document as a PDF. There are also PDF file converters available.

Adobe Acrobat Method

Adobe Acrobat is one of the official software used to work with PDF documents. It should not be a surprise that you can use it to rotate the documents you scan in.

This method is faster than the image method and requires you to download Adobe Acrobat. Once you scan the document that is having orientation issues, you will want to open it up in Adobe Acrobat.

Next, locate the “Document” menu at the top of your screen and click on the “Rotate Pages” option. Here you have specific options for rotating your document.

You can choose to rotate every page in your document or certain pages. If your scanned document has some pages that are not displaying correct orientation and some pages that are, you can also choose to only focus on those pages displaying incorrectly.

Using Adobe Acrobat gives you more power with editing your PDF document. This method also allows for you to edit documents with multiple pages.

Once you have the proper settings in place, you can choose to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise to a certain degree. Clockwise corresponds to rotating to the right and counterclockwise corresponds to rotating to the left.


Working with technology can be rough sometimes. This is especially true when the tech refuses to do what we want it to do. Scanners tend to mess up and when they do, there is no need to lose focus or your patience.

Fixing issues with your scanner can be quite simple, you just need to have the proper knowledge. Today you should have learned how to rotate a scanned PDF document. With two different methods, you will be able to fix any orientation problems you come across in the future.

No matter if it’s for your boss who needs some scanned documents sent in or if you just want to upload a family photo to Facebook, rotating a messed up scanned PDF is easy.

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