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In this comprehensive review article, we present the theory of symmetry in two-dimensional (2-D) filter functions and in 2-D Fourier transforms. It is shown that when a filter frequency response possesses symmetry, the realization problem becomes relatively simple. Further, when the frequency response has no symmetry, there is a technique to decompose that frequency response into components each of which has the desired symmetry. This again reduces the complexity of two-dimensional filter design. A number of filter design examples are illustrated.