Aligning and Distributing Objects
When working with a range of objects or anchor points, you will often want to align them evenly or distribute them across a specified distance. Rather than being forced to figure out the math on your own and then manually move each object, you can apply the variety of functions that Illustrator's Align panel contains to a range of objects in order to both align and distribute objects precisely. You can open the Align panel by choosing Window > Align.
To align a range of objects or anchor points, select them, and click one of the Align icons in the Align panel. Admittedly, these small icons can be hard to decipher, but if you move your pointer over them for a second, a tool tip pops up identifying the name of the function (Figure 4.65).
Figure 4.65 The icons in the Align panel can be a bit difficult to decipher, so it's a good idea to watch for the tool tips that pop up.
The align functions consider a group of objects to be a single object, so performing an align function on a group won't do anything (you're basically aligning a single object to itself). However, you can select multiple groups and align them as if each group were a single object.
You can use the distribute functions that appear in the bottom half of the Align panel to space multiple objects evenly. Illustrator takes the objects at the two extremes of your selection and uses those as the boundaries of the distribution. All objects that appear between those two shapes are distributed evenly between them, based on the specific distribute function you choose (Figure 4.67).
Figure 4.67 When you're distributing objects, the objects at the opposite extremes define the boundary, and all objects are distributed evenly between them.
If you choose Show Options from the Align panel menu, you can also perform distribute commands based on spacing. You can specify a numeric value and then distribute the selected objects vertically or horizontally. Specifying a Distribute Spacing value of 0 will distribute objects perfectly with no extra space between them (sometimes referred to as a kiss fit).