When I create a shape such as a rectangle the dimensions are correct. But if I rotate the shape the horizontal and vertical dimensions don't switch. Is there a way to change this? See screenshot below for clearer example.
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That is correct, the dimensions of the shape don't change.
Have a look at Window > Transform panel.
You will see that the properties of the shape are different from the W/H.
Is this a recent change with Illustrator? I have been using the program for over 10yrs on a daily bases and the size always swapped when a shape was rotated. Makes it hella confusing when trying to design signage..haha
This is true for Shape objects, like ellipses, rectangles and polygons.
Look in the expanded Transform panel. The top part shows the behaviour you want, the bottom part the size of the shape.