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Even with the use of Smart Guides inside of Adobe Illustrator it can be somewhat difficult to lineup multiple objects or even distribute them evenly across a page. In this movie, I'll show you exactly how to utilize some of the Alignment commands inside of Illustrator to lineup your artwork and evenly distribute it in multiple directions. As you can see here I've got several circles on my artboard, and they are all scattered about, but I want to make sure that they line up properly and that they are evenly distributed across the page. Maybe I am showing multiple versions of a logo and I don't want the position of one of them to throw the client off when they are picking one.
I want everything to be right in the middle so they can just go straight across and look at all the different versions. In order to utilize the Alignment tools inside of Illustrator you can go to two places; one would be the Control panel. Remember that's the area that stretches all the way across the top, like so. Or you can bring up the Alignment panel by going to Window and choosing Align. The Alignment panel has several different options in it. You can align horizontally to the left, align to the horizontal center, align horizontally to the right, vertically align to the top, vertically align to the center or vertically align to the bottom.
You also have distribution options like distribute vertically from the top, distribute vertically from the center, or distribute vertically from the bottom. You can also distribute horizontally from the left, distribute horizontally from the center and distribute horizontally from the right. I can also go up to the Align panel menu and choose Show Options. Inside of the Show Options I can actually determine the Distribution Spacing and where the objects aligned to. By default you are aligning to the selection, meaning that you make a selection and all of the objects align themselves based upon the selection you have made.
Or you can choose to align them to the artboard. Aligning them to the artboard allows you to align things based upon the size and dimensions of your artboard. I am going to turn on Align to Artboard first to show you how this works. I will select all of these circles. Since it's set to Align to Artboard I can now vertically align them to the bottom and watch what happens to the circles. They all go flushed to the bottom of the page. I can then Horizontally Distribute them from the Center and they all spread out evenly across the artboard.
If I want them in the middle of the page, as I discussed before, I can actually come right here and vertically align them to the center. Now I have accomplished my task that I have originally set out to do. All of the logo variations are right there in the center, perfectly aligned and distributed. Pretty neat! But what if I wanted to align them to each other? Well let's undo this, get them right back to their original position. If I choose Align to Selection, now when I hit Vertically Align to the Bottom, they are all going to vertically align to the bottom edge of the lowest object that was in the set.
Then if I Horizontally Distribute them, they are going to horizontally distribute based on this selection. So you notice there is not so much spacing in between them, that's because this one was here and this one was here, they were not able to spread across because we were not aligning to the artboard. We were aligning to the selection of the overall bounding box. So let me undo and go back to the original position. Every project is different and you are going to have to use the alignment options based on your needs, but just remember, you can open up the Alignment panel and utilize these options at any time to help you evenly distribute and align your objects perfectly on your artboard.
Let's close this panel up and take a look at how we can utilize the same options without ever having to open that panel. Let's say I had all these objects selected on my artboard, I don't want to go find the Alignment panel because I have to go to the Window menu and find it and all that kind of stuff. If I want to access the Alignment Controls from this screen here, I can simply look in my Control panel for a small link that says Align. When I click that it automatically brings up the Align panel for me. These are all of the options we just saw. I can change this to Align to Artboard, I can also align them to the bottom and horizontally distribute them, or I can align them to the middle and horizontally distribute them as well.
Look at how much easier that was for me to do. A click, make a few other clicks, and I am done. I didn't have to find a panel, I didn't have to open a panel, didn't have to close the panel, anything. It pops up, I use it while I need it, it closes when I don't. So no matter which way you choose to align or distribute your objects, hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how to use that feature and how it can help you in your workflow.
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