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I seem to have put too much detailed information in my previous question, confusing the masses. My apologies. Let me try again from a different angle.

I want to rotate labels interactively/visually, using edit tools. I don't want to use the Data defined Rotation method, found under Layer Properties > Placement.

Is there a way to interactively rotate labels in QGIS using any of the edit tools?

While Data defined Rotation works well, it is tedious to set the text rotations for a feature, having to manually enter and "guesstimate" the text angle value into the attribute fields. Especially for point and polygon features.

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    You can only rotate point around other other point. Are you going to change point location? If not, what on Earth are you talking about? – FelixIP Mar 20 '17 at 8:52
  • Make sure you have Label toolbar visible. As it might not be clear, you need first create columns X, Y and rotation. And link these columns in style settings to make the label edit tools available. I also wonder if this question is not duplicate because I remember many years ago facing this same issue. It is not very intuitive for QGIS beginners that label settings are saved together with other data in table and you must link the columns to make manual label editing tools available. – Miro Mar 21 '17 at 3:02
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Yes, you can rotate labels interactively.

If you set up a data defined label position and rotation field (should be a double on your dataset's attribute table) then you can edit the position and rotation using the label tools.

Here's where you set the field:

set up rotation

Next you edit the layer, and use the 'rotate label' tool:

rotate label

And now you can rotate labels interactively.

Rotated labels

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    This is exactly what I had done, but the label manipulation tools remained inactive. The problem was the rotation angle field type was not "double". I edited the table and generated a "real" number field type and reassigned that as the Data defined Rotation field. This made the label edit tools activate. Thank you, Alex. – Ed Camden Mar 22 '17 at 0:12

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