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Straightening Images Quick and Easy

Here's a bit of text that needs straightening. We could do it using free transform and eyeball it but there's an easy way to do it with precision without knowing the angle it's rotated at.



Under the eyedropper in the toolbox lurks a handy little tool called the Measure tool. the measure tool calculates the distance, postion and angle of any two points on the work area, and we can use it to quickly straighten any image.


Activate the measure tool and click under the C in crooked. Now drag to under the last T in text, and click. Try to be as close as possible to a straight line.



We now have a non-printing line from point A to point B, and the options bar and (Info palette as well) show the following information:

options bar

  • The starting location X,Y coordinates
  • The horizontal (W) and vertical (H) distances traveled from the x- and y-axes
  • The angle measured relative to the axis (A)
  • The total distance traveled (D1)
  • When using a protractor, you can view two distances traveled (D1 and D2)

Click the Clear button to clear the measure lines.

All that was merely as a point of information because we don't need to concern ourselves with it at all to use it for straightening.

Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary and the angle has already been entered for us, along with CW or CCW:


All you have to do is click OK and Photoshop rotates it just the right amount and direction to be straight!


The same method is easily used on a crooked photo. Find an area that should be straight in the photo and use the measure tool to drag the measure line the same as we did before. Lake Michigan has a crooked horizon here and at this rate all the water will be in Wisconsin before long so let's straighten it out. The area that should be staight here is the horizon, so I used the measure tool to drag a line across it.


Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary and click OK. Instant straight photo! And quite obvious it has been straightened. We have to fix the edges.



Use the crop tool to get rid of the area around the photo.


Pretty easy, huh?



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