Gplates .rot error message

I’ve been following Artifexian’s guide for worldbuilding with the simulator and I’ve tried this about 5 different times but the .rot file is not working.

What can I do to fix this?

wouldn’t allow me to include this

Hi @abbzcreates

firstly, you should chose a plain text editor for editing your rotation files - looks like you’re using TextEdit on the Mac. This is a rich text editor which writes out files that are not plain text/ASCII. There’s a few choices you have to fix this:

  • VS Codium - a FOSS version of MS VS Code
  • VS Code MS code editor
  • BBEdit - one of the oldest Text/Code Editors on the Mac
  • TextMate - working but no longer developed
  • vi, NeoVim etc: command line editors (not for the faint hearted :wink: ) that you can open using a Terminal.

Once you have such an editor set up, you should put something like this into your rotation file:

The general rotation file format syntax is:

MovingPlateID Time PoleLat PoleLon PoleAngle FixedPlateID

so in your case this would be:

200     0.0  90.0 0.0 0.0    0 
200  1000.0  90.0 0.0 0.0    0
600     0.0  90.0 0.0 0.0    0 
600  1000.0  90.0 0.0 0.0    0
100     0.0  90.0 0.0 0.0  200
100  1000.0  90.0 0.0 0.0  200
400     0.0  90.0 0.0 0.0  600
400  1000.0  90.0 0.0 0.0  600


Note that you can also chose to construct a rotation file in GPlates from scratch (ie without any files loaded) by going to FeaturesView total reconstruction sequence → Then click on New sequence, put in your moving/fixed plate and the rotation steps (like you have in your screenshot). Then click Next → highlight Create new feature collection and click on Create. Open the Feature Manager (CTRL+m) and save your new feature collection somewhere on disk as *.rot or *.grot file. This should give you a starting point. Make sure to open that file in a plain text editor (see above…).


Thank you so much for your help! I got it working!

1 Like

hello, i 2 have been following Artifexian’s guide, and I’m struggling with .rot files. I’m on windows and have gone through loads of options and googling to see how to change a notepad .txt to a .rot and haven’t found anything. there is one lady i found who was working g plates on a windows but the video was 9 years old and also it was a class tutorial, so the files were already linked, she didn’t show how to make the files. through reading this i was able to make the animation and instuctions run inglates no outside .txt or .rot files needed. thank you.
for anyone else like me, on windows and struggling to get it to run, u can run it all in app no outside stuff hope it saves u some stress. :slight_smile: love gplates, thx guys for an awesome aplication.


I’m on windows and have gone through loads of options and googling to see how to change a notepad .txt to a .rot and haven’t found anything.

Unless I completely misunderstood what you’re after: If this only concerns the file suffix it is probably the easiest in Windows Explorer, with the file highlighted to hit F2 (Rename) and instead of a .txt suffix, just use *.rot in there. Windows will likely complain but as you’re just changing the file suffix this doesn’t matter.

Otherwise the instructions above should explain how to set up a rotation file from scratch (both on Windows or Mac). As Windows’ built-in Notepad app sucks, I suggest to use something like Notepad++ or VSCode (see link above).