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InDesign has a very rich set of features around Align and Distribute. You have got a lot of power there. Fortunately, most of that power is available without actually having to open the Align panel, so it doesn't take up so much screen real estate anymore, and a lot of the functionality is just built into Smart Guides. So if I want to align one object to another object, I can just click and start dragging. As I drag that number 1 object, and it lines up to some meaningful way for the number 2 object. Here their centers are aligned. I can just let go and those two objects are now aligned. So I didn't even need to do anything, just drag things around. However, when you want to align a bunch of objects at the same time, there are quicker ways to do that.
So let's undo that move. I am going to go ahead and make a selection of these four objects just by Drag+Selecting, and now I want these objects to all get aligned, either to their tops or their bottoms, their centers, whatever. By default, the Align and Distribute commands are based on the selected items, so align to selection. So if I were to choose the Align to Top button, what's going to happen is it's going to align all your selected objects to the topmost object in your selection. So in this case it's the number 2 square.
If I click that Align Top button, sure enough, that's what happened. They all jump up to line up to the top of number 2. I am going to go ahead and undo that. Same thing if I choose the Align Bottom button. That's going to move them all down to the bottommost image here or object here, and that's number 3. So let's go ahead and choose that button. Okay, fair enough. Pretty easy to understand. It's based on the items in your current selection. But what if you wanted to align to some other meaningful thing, like the page, for example? I am going to get out of the Preview Mode by pressing the letter W, so I can see my page edges and my Ruler Guides and Margin Guides and so forth.
There is a little button in the Control panel that's the scope of the alignment options. Its what you use to set the scope. Right now it's set to Align to Selection, the default, but you can change it to one of these other three. I am going to choose Align to Page. Now when I click the Align Top button. It's not going to pay attention to the top most selected object, in this case number 2. It's going to take all of these selected objects and pop them up to the top of the page. How cool is that? Or the bottom of the page, or the vertical center of the page, the horizontal center of the page.
In this case they all stack on top of each either, so I am going to undo that. But you can see you have some great options here to change the default behavior. It just doesn't have to be based on the selection. This little scope button here, the Align To button, also determines how things distribute as well. So if I choose Align to Page, and then distribute let's say their horizontal centers, they all become equally spaced to the edge of the page. So that's kind of cool. So this works for the Align buttons and the Distribute buttons. So if I change this to margins, Align to Margins, and then click the distribute horizontal centers again, just repeats that same operation, but does it within the Margin Guides. Very, very cool.
Makes it very quick work, if this is exactly what you are trying to do, just get equally spaced out items. Unfortunately there are no keyboard shortcuts for these buttons, so you do have to kind of use these buttons up here in the Control panel, but again, it does save yourself from having to open up the Align panel.
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