How to Flip a Canvas in Photoshop

Ever wanted your image to be the other way? Or maybe upside down? Photoshop makes it easy to flip a canvas in the other direction either horizontally or vertically.

Hey there, I’m Cara! As a photographer, I’ve done my fair share of image manipulation in Photoshop. I’ve found that flipping a canvas is a useful feature when working with digital images.

So let’s look at how to flip a canvas in Photoshop here!

Note: the screenshots below are taken from the Windows version of Photoshop CC. If you are using the Mac version, they will look slightly different.

Why Flip a Canvas?

Did you know that traditional painters would use mirrors to look at their work backward? Tools nowadays for digital artists and designers aren’t so crude – the software does all the work for you.

But what is the point? Flipping the canvas allows you get to a fresh perspective on the image. It’s easier to spot compositional errors or study symmetry and balance. 

This feature is so useful that some programs have a one-touch keyboard shortcut for flipping the canvas. Photoshop’s method isn’t quite so fast but it’s still easy and can be done in one click.

Here’s how to do it. 

How to Flip a Canvas in Photoshop

With your image open in Photoshop, go up to Image in the Menu bar. Hover over Image Rotation (I know, counterintuitive, but trust me). Another dropdown will appear. Click Flip Canvas Horizontal or Flip Canvas Vertical according to which direction you want to flip the image.


How to Flip a Layer

Sometimes you might want to flip only a layer and not the entire image. The procedure is basically the same, you just need to access the flip tool in a different spot. 

Select the layer you want to flip and go to Edit in the Menu bar. Hover over Transform and choose either Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical at the bottom of the menu. 

Make a Keyboard Shortcut

If you plan to flip images often, it may be worth it to you to create a keyboard shortcut to speed up the process. To do this go to Edit in the Menu bar. Go all the way down and choose Keyboard Shortcuts near the bottom of the menu.

You can also hit Alt + Shift + Ctrl + K or Option + Shift + Command + K.

In this menu make sure the Shortcuts For box says Application Menus. Then go down to Image.

Click on the arrow to expand the menu and scroll down until you find the Flip Canvas Horizontal and Flip Canvas Vertical commands. Click on them, then type the keyboard shortcut you would like to assign. Click Accept to assign it. 

If you’d prefer to set the shortcut under the Transform command, you can do that as well. Simply choose the Edit menu and scroll down until you find Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical. Then you can set the keyboard shortcut you desire.

Interested in learning to mirror an image with the flip command? Check out our easy tutorial here!

About Cara Koch
Cara fell in love with photography circa 2014 and has been exploring all corners of the imagery world ever since. When she felt limited by Lightroom, she dove headfirst into Photoshop to learn how to create the images she wanted.

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  • Kristin Bruun

    I found that you can flip the canvas without changing the work itself:
    Under View, and in the section for zooming in and out, you’ll find Flip horizontal.
    Could you make a video, also on how to create shortcut?

    • June

      Hey Kristin, thanks for sharing the tip!

      We don’t have video tutorials at this time, but might consider doing it later on 🙂