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Aligning Objects

The Align panel provides commands that align objects or distribute them evenly along a horizontal or vertical axis.

To work with the Align panel

  1. Choose Window > Object & Layout > Align. This opens the Align panel blue-f.jpg.


    blue-f.jpg Use the Align panel to arrange objects in an orderly fashion.

  2. Choose Show Options from the Align panel menu to see all the commands in the panel.

To align objects

  1. Select two or more objects.
  2. Use the Alignment menu to choose to what items the objects should align blue-g.jpg.

    • Align to Selection uses the objects themselves for alignment.
    • Align to Key Object lets you designate a specific object to which the others align. (See the next exercise for how to designate the key object.)
    • Align to Margins uses the margins for alignment.
    • Align to Page uses the page trim for alignment.
    • Align to Spread uses the size of the spread for alignment.

    blue-g.jpg The Alignment menu lets you choose how the objects should be aligned.

  3. Click an alignment icon as follows:

    • Click a vertical alignment icon to move the objects into left, centered, or right alignment blue-h.jpg.


      blue-h.jpg Effects of the vertical alignment icons.

    • Click a horizontal alignment icon to move the objects into top, centered, or bottom alignment blue-i.jpg.

    blue-i.jpg Effects of the horizontal alignment icons.

To align to a key object

  1. With the objects selected, choose Align to Key Object from the Alignment menu. A thick border appears around one of the selected objects blue-a.jpg.


    blue-a.jpg The designated key object is indicated by a thick border.

  2. Click another object. The thick border appears around that object. That is the new key object.
  3. Click one of the alignment options in the Align panel. The objects align to the designated key object.

You can also move objects so the spaces between certain points of the objects are equal. This is called distributing objects.

To distribute objects

  1. Select three or more objects.
  2. Click a distribute icon as follows:

    • Click a vertical distribute icon to move the objects so that their tops, centers, or bottoms are equally distributed blue-b.jpg.


      blue-b.jpg Effects of the vertical distribute icons. Notice that the middle object changes position to create an even distribution.

    • Click a horizontal distribute icon to move the objects so that their left edges, centers, or right edges are equally distributed blue-c.jpg.

    blue-c.jpg Effects of the horizontal distribute icons. Notice that the middle object changes position to create an even distribution.

You can also distribute objects based on their size. This ensures that the space between the objects is equal.

To distribute the space between objects

  1. Select three or more objects.
  2. Click a distribute space icon as follows:
    • Click the vertical space icon to move objects so the vertical spaces between them are equal blue-d.jpg.


      blue-d.jpg Effect of the vertical distribute space icon.

    • Click the horizontal space icon to move objects so the horizontal spaces between them are equal blue-e.jpg.

    blue-e.jpg The effect of the horizontal distribute space command.

The Align panel also has controls to space objects numerically. You can apply a numerical distance between the tops, centers, bottoms, or sides of objects.

To use spacing to distribute objects

  1. Select two or more objects.
  2. Select Use Spacing in the Distribute Objects section of the Align panel blue-f.jpg.


    blue-f.jpg The Use Spacing option for Distribute Objects lets you set a specific distance between the tops, centers, bottoms, or sides of objects.

  3. Enter the numerical distance in the Use Spacing field.
  4. Click one of the Distribute Objects icons. Now the objects are separated by a specific space inserted between the tops, centers, bottoms, or sides of the objects.

You can also set a specific numerical distance between the objects themselves. This is very useful when you want the same amount of space between objects, but the objects themselves have different sizes.

To set the spacing between objects

  1. Select two or more objects.
  2. Select Use Spacing in the Distribute Spacing section of the Align panel blue-g.jpg.


    blue-g.jpg The Use Spacing option for Distribute Spacing lets you set a specific distance between objects.

  3. Enter the numerical distance in the Use Spacing field.
  4. Click one of the Distribute Spacing icons. Now a specific amount of space is added between the objects horizontally or vertically.

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