Home > Articles > Programming > Windows Programming

Using Geometric Transforms for Text Effects in .NET

📄 Contents

  1. Transforms and Matrices
  2. Demonstration
Peter Aitken points out that text is just a graphic image and therefore can be manipulated like any other graphic. .NET provides some built-in tools for manipulating the size, shape, and orientation of text. Just be sure it remains readable!
Like this article? We recommend

Geometric transforms let you take an image and distort it in some way, such as rotation, translation, flipping, or stretching. Geometric transforms are a rather complex topic and are well beyond explaining in a single article. But you can learn and use one very handy aspect of transforms without a lot of fuss: creating special text effects. After all, text is just a graphic image of letters and other characters, so transforming the images geometrically should—and does—work perfectly well.

How can you transform text? The possibilities fall into four main categories:

  • Scaling. Stretch or shrink the text in the vertical and/or horizontal direction.
  • Reflection. Create a mirror image of text.
  • Shearing. Tilt and slant the text in various ways.
  • Rotation. Display text at any desired angle.

Now let’s see how to create these transforms.

Transforms and Matrices

In .NET, geometric transforms are represented by matrixes. You may remember from math class that a matrix is a grid of numbers. But even if you don’t know a matrix from a mango, you can still work with many transforms. It’s true that for some of the more complex transforms you must create the transformation matrix yourself, in code, but for the commonly needed transforms the required tools are built in. A transformation matrix is still at work behind the scenes, but the .NET classes take care of the details for you.

Scale Transforms

A scale transform changes the size of a graphic in the x and/or y direction. Figure 1 shows untransformed text (used in all the examples in this article), and Figure 2 shows text that has been scaled by a factor of 2 in the y direction.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Untransformed text used in the examples.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Text scaled by a factor of 2 in the y direction.

To apply a scale transform, you call the ScaleTransform() method of the Graphics object that will be used to do the drawing. In this and other code examples assume that g is a reference to your Graphics object. Here’s the syntax:

g.ScaleTransform(Xscale, Yscale)

The two arguments, both of type float, specify the scaling in the x and y directions; pass a value of 1 for no scaling. The following example stretches the graphic to twice its normal width while leaving the height unchanged:

g.ScaleTransform(2.0F, 1.0F)


Reflecting a graphic also makes use of the ScaleTransform() method. By passing a negative argument for Yscale, you reflect about the x axis (flip vertically); by passing a negative argument for Xscale, you reflect about the y axis (flip horizontally). The following code causes a reflection about the x axis, as shown in Figure 3.

g.ScaleTransform(1.0F, -1.0F)
Figure 3

Figure 3 Text reflected about the x axis.


Shearing tilts the text in one direction or another. Figure 4 shows text that has been sheared to the left.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Text sheared to the left.

Shearing is a bit more complicated than the other transforms we’ve examined so far, because it requires that you create a matrix for the transform. Fortunately, the Matrix class offers the Shear() method to do the work for you. These are the steps:

  1. Create an instance of the Matrix class.
  2. Call its Shear() method to define the desired shear amount and direction.
  3. Assign the Matrix object to the Transform property of your Graphics object.

The Shear method uses this syntax:

Shear(Xshear, Yshear)

A value of 0 specifies no shear in that direction. To shear horizontally to the left or right, pass a positive or negative Xshear value. Here’s the relevant code snippet for the transform shown in Figure 4.

Matrix m = new Matrix();
m.Shear(0.5F, 0);
g.Transform = m;

To shear vertically down or up, pass a positive or negative Yshear value. Vertical shearing works as shown in Figure 5. At first glance, this example looks like a rotation, but, unlike true rotation (covered in the next section), the individual letters remain upright with vertical shearing.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Text sheared vertically.


Rotation is another transform that can be done with a Graphics class method, specifically RotateTransform(). Pass an argument specifying the rotation in degrees; positive values rotate clockwise and negative values rotate counterclockwise. Figure 6 shows the result of the following transform:

Figure 6

Figure 6 Text rotated 45 degrees clockwise.

Transforms and Output Coordinates

Transforms work behind the scenes by changing the x and y coordinates of the individual pixels in the image. Unavoidably, some transforms change not only the appearance of the text but its output location. You’ll see this principle demonstrated in the program in the following section; please examine the code to see how it accounts for these location changes. You can also experiment on your own to get a feel for how the various transforms change output location.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020