Lightroom Tips

The Secret Cropping Tip To Go From Horizontal To Vertical

Knowing how to crop a horizontal image into a vertical one, or vice versa, has been this little secret among Lightroom users for a while now. It’s one of those things that, while it is indeed in a menu, it’s not something that would ever jump out at you. So here’s the secret. When you’re in Crop mode (the keyboard shortcut is R), all you have to do is press the letter X and it’ll switch your crop orientation automatically. If it’s horizontal, it’ll make it vertical. If it’s vertical, it’ll do the opposite. That’s it!

Have a great day!

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71 comments

  1. Ana Anderson 29 October, 2018 at 18:45 Reply

    I know this post is old, but this tip still works!!!! I had 170 photos I needed to switch the orientation on, and you just saved me SO MUCH work!!!! THANK YOU!

    • Sebastian von Wachenfeldt 14 July, 2019 at 14:53 Reply

      ummm… this doesn’t work at all. it just makes a smaller square within my image… I’m amazed I can do this with any cellphone but not LR fucking unbelievable

  2. lm 16 November, 2016 at 16:15 Reply

    This is fabulous news, but now I want to copy this “vertical” crop to several images. What I do a copy/paste, it reverts back to a “horrid” crop.

    • RT McLean 12 September, 2016 at 16:00 Reply

      Got stuck on this after my first 5 minutes trying this post – Picasa adventure – ??!!XX&X! – so I can calm down now until the next one. Thank You! There HAD to be a way…would never have guessed this was it.

  3. Graham Riddell 25 July, 2016 at 08:26 Reply

    That’s what I love about Lightroom. You have to interrogate it to find out how to use it. Rubbish. Just wish Apple hadn’t scudded up Aperture. It was so much more intuitive which LR definitely is NOT.

  4. Michael 22 April, 2016 at 22:57 Reply

    I’m adding my chorus to this hymn of praise – thank you! I actually have bookmarked this page as I never actually remember the hint when I need it.

  5. Charles Cohen 6 January, 2016 at 21:01 Reply

    Just another vote of thanks!

    The Lightroom developers were too lazy to put in an “Orientation” box? And they didn’t enable “Custom 8×10” as one orientation, and “Custom 10×8” as the other?

    I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time on this website!

  6. Mark 26 November, 2015 at 08:32 Reply

    Simple – when you know how. I don’t know why I bother going anywhere else on the net for stuff like this, the solution is always here and easy to understand 🙂 thanks

  7. Lisa 5 May, 2015 at 11:46 Reply

    You seriously just made my day. This has been my biggest complaint about Lightroom. I can’t believe it took me this long to think to google it. Thanks!

  8. Peter 10 January, 2015 at 16:57 Reply

    Thank you so much, as many other comments been tearing my hair out only to find it to be something so simple, well if only I knew!!

    Thanks again much appreciated for sharing.

  9. Melissa 7 January, 2015 at 11:33 Reply

    I could jump through the screen and hug you. My goodness I have been looking for that option through several videos and electronic tutorials and nothing talked about it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  10. Jim 3 January, 2015 at 15:27 Reply

    I’ll add myself to the list of thankful readers. I never knew about this very useful shortcut. You’ve saved me a lot of time and it’s much appreciated!!

  11. jtmcg 4 April, 2014 at 13:44 Reply

    This is a pretty common thing to do. Why is it so hard to find? It’s certainly not obvious. Thank God for Google. I Googled “Vertical crop in LR” and it brought me here. Thanks Matt. I even watched J. Kost’s video on cropping and she didn’t mention it. Significant lapse by Adobe.

  12. Matt 2 November, 2013 at 22:00 Reply

    Way to make it intuitive Adobe! I’ve been trying to crop a landscape into a 5×7 portrait and it doesn’t matter if you enter 5×7 or 7×5 for the custom aspect ratio, LR always keeps the original!

    • elle 6 October, 2013 at 09:13 Reply

      Are you in Develop mode or Library, previewing/flagging your images?

      I’m assuming you need to be in Develop mode.

      I hope that helps.

  13. andi 19 August, 2013 at 19:36 Reply

    Dear Matt,

    What took you so long to tell me this? There is a minor bug in 4 that has driven me crazy – switching from whatever my ratio is as I’m rotating it to turning off the lock and going to whatever it wants. Seriously, it’s been a pain.

    With that said, I will now be eternally grateful to you for teaching me this trick!

    Thank you,
    Happy in CO now.

  14. Ross Dillon 19 August, 2013 at 19:30 Reply

    If I want to crop it but keep the original orientation, I’ll often hit “X” twice…gives me a centered crop that makes a great starting point.

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