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How to Use the Align Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Don’t scream with rage the next time you’re frustrated with Adobe Illustrator…just read some tips! If you’re stumped about object alignment, then you’ve come to the right place. I’d like to use my Illustrator expertise to teach you a thing or two! Today’s lesson will be the first in an ongoing series of AI-themed blog post tutorials.

Here’s how to use the Align tool in Adobe Illustrator:

The Align Tool can be found under Window>Align on your tool bar:

By selecting Multiple Items and using one of the align features, you can easily manipulate the items in relationship to each other.

The most common buttons you will use in proofing is the Horizontal Center Align and Vertical Center Align buttons.

With the Horizontal and Vertical Center Align buttons selected, objects will be centered in relationship to each other:

Select all of the items you want included and distribute accordingly, as shown below:

So, now you know how to properly align objects and text in Adobe Illustrator. Hungry for more helpful hints? We’ll have more for you before you know it. Stick with me and I’ll have you up to speed on Illustrator in no time!

Do you have any AI-related questions about design, resources, or tool bars? Give us some ammunition for future tutorials and leave feedback below!


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  1. Scooby DOO!

    Thanks K-bird! So how many bubbas does it take to align vector art?

  2. Jill Tooley

    Kelly, this is wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I’m still trying to get a firm grasp of AI, so it’s really helpful to get tutorials from experts like you. I have a couple of topic suggestions if you ever need some…leave it to the Illustrator newbie to have questions! πŸ˜‰

    You made alignment look so easy; I think I’ll go try it out now and try not to fail miserably at it!

  3. Kyle

    Very informative post! Too bad I’m also an Illustrator newbie so this is somewhat a foreign language to me, but I was able to follow these instructions pretty well and that’s saying a lot. πŸ™‚

    • Amanda

      Same here Kyle. I’ve never used AI, so it’s also a foreign language to me too. But Kelly, you made it look easy! Great job! =)

  4. Ness

    Please do more of these! I need all of the help I can get! πŸ™‚

  5. Joseph Giorgi

    Great post, Kelly. Seeing as how I dabble in the visual medium, programs like Illustrator could definitely come in handy for me in the future. I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet, but I’m sure I will soon. When I do, I’ll be sure to familiarize myself with helpful tips like these.

  6. Bret Bonnet

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this handy dandy tip Kelly; keep them coming!

    SIDE NOTE: I use the align toolbar in Adobe Illustrator ALL the time; I love it! – but it’s super important to make sure if the individual items (in this case Bubbas) contain multiple paths/elements that you group these multiple paths into one object first. If you use the align tool before you group the various elements together you’ll end up with a mess of random paths from different parts of your artwork all squished together. Nothing CRTL + Z can’t fix, but I’ve caught myself doing this countless times before and for all you “newbies” out there, I though this might help you out.


  7. Yowhatup!

    Great tips!

  8. Paige

    I am having trouble in a previously-designed illustrator file, in that when I try to align objects with one another, they instead align with the top or bottom of the page? ??? I’ve never had this happen and don’t know how to fix it. I need to align numerous items as I’m designing packaging. Help!

  9. Paige

    I just figured it out! After selecting the items/object for which you want to align, change the preferences to “align to selection”. The preferences option does not appear unless two objects are selected.

  10. Lena Johansen

    I am still frustrated, because this only works with objects. I need to center my text. I have been reading tips for almost 2 hours now, and are still empty handed.. So if you could please ass to your text how to do this with text i would be forever grateful.

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