How To: Prevent rotation of ArcMap marker symbols with data frame rotation


The content in this article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Marker symbols rotate with data if the data frame rotation tool is used. Use the ArcMap's Advanced Settings utility to prevent marker symbols from rotating with the data frame.


  1. Close all ArcGIS applications and start the ArcMap Advanced Settings utility.
    1. Navigate to the Utilities folder under the ArcGIS installation directory. For example, for ArcGIS 8.3, the path is c:\arcgis\arcexe83\Utilities. For ArcGIS 9, the path is C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Utilities.
    2. Double-click AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe.
[O-Image] AdvSettings_MarkerRotation
  1. Click the Data Frame/TOC tab.
  2. Uncheck Rotate marker symbols with dataframe. This automatically adds the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Symbology\Settings\RotateWithTransform to 0 (DWORD value).
To reinstate marker rotation with data frame rotation, start the utility and check this box. 
  1. If running a version of ArcGIS earlier than 8.1.2, the ArcMap Advanced Settings utility cannot be used to change marker symbol rotation. Instead, this must be manually edited in the registry.
The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. Click Start > Run
  2. Type regedit and press Enter
  3. Click HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > Symbology > Settings
  4. In the right pane, if present, right-click RotateWithTransform and click Delete
  5. On the blank space of the right pane, right-click New > DWORD value
  6. Name the DWORD value RotateWithTransform
The default value is 0. Adding this key/value will prevent marker symbols from rotating with the dataframe.
When making changes to the registry, be very careful to modify only the specified entries. You can seriously compromise the integrity of your operating system by modifying the wrong entries.
  1. Close the Registry Editor.
  2. Start ArcMap.