How to Evenly Space Objects in Adobe Illustrator

There are three methods of evenly spacing objects in Illustrator. You can use the Align, Duplicate, and Grid methods. The Align method is the fastest way and it gives you more accurate results. 

Evenly spacing objects in Illustrator makes your design appear clean and professional. Learning to space objects is useful when creating brochure designs, magazines, infographics, website UI, etc.

Hi, my name is Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. When I started using Illustrator, I struggled to space objects. Manually spacing was tiring and frustrating until I learned to use these methods.

In this tutorial, I will show you three easy ways to space objects in Illustrator. 

Key Takeaways

  • You can use any of the methods above to space objects in Illustrator. However, we’ll recommend the Align method.
  • The keyboard shortcut for “Horizontal Distribute Space” is Shift + Ctrl + Alt + H (Windows) or Shift + Command + Option + H (Mac).
  • It is better to first group objects before distributing them (especially for complexly arranged shapes and text). Grouping ensures group collective spacing. 

3 Easy Ways to Evenly Space Objects in Adobe Illustrator 

Spacing objects in Illustrator with any of the methods listed above helps you work faster. I will show you how to use all three methods.

Note: All screenshots are from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Versions. Mac and other versions may appear different. 

Method 1: Align Panel

You can evenly space objects easily and in minutes using the Align Panel. The align panel options help you space multiple things (shapes or text) with a few clicks.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Step 1: Select/create the objects you want to space. 

Use the keyboard shortcut V to activate the Selection tool. Hold Shift to select all the objects or drag across them while holding your mouse.

I spaced the circles by sight. Let’s see how well-spaced it is using the Align Panel

Step 2: Open the Align Panel

To open the align panel, go to the overhead menu and click Window > Align. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + F7

On the Align panel, you’ll see Align Objects and Distribute Objects

Step 3: Click on the hamburger icon at the top-right corner of the Align panel to see more options. Click Show Options.

You should see the Distribute Spacing options.

Step 4: Select your preferred alignment option at the bottom-right corner of the panel (Align to Artboard, Align to Selection, or Align to Key Object).

For this tutorial, I will choose to align to the “key object” (to decide the position of the shapes). I will also use the Horizontal Distribute Space option. 

Step 5: Select the Distribute Spacing to your object. You will see two options: Horizontal Distribute Space and Vertical Distribute Space

Click on your most preferred option while the objects are selected. 

As you can see, now the circles are evenly spaced.

Method 2: Step and Repeat

This method works great for spacing identical objects because you just duplicate/repeat previous steps. 

For example, Let’s use this method to space a few rectangles.

Step 1: Use the Rectangle Tool (or keyboard shortcut M) to draw a rectangle. 

Step 2: Hold Alt (or Option for Mac users) and the Shift key, click and drag the rectangle to the right to duplicate it. 

Step 3: Repeat the last step (more like duplicating the shape and space between them). You can use the step and repeat keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Command + D

That’s it! Easy right?

This method works best if you want to space the same shapes. 

Method 3: Grids and Guides

The Grid/Guides method works well when spacing a few objects. You can just use only the Smart Guides to space shapes in Illustrator.

Once the guides are activated, you can see the distance between objects as you move them around. However, the Grid method ensures more accurate spacing.

Let’s use the Grid method to evenly space the text on the rectangles.

Step 1: Go to the overhead menu and select View > Show Grid to see the Grid.

Step 2: Determine the distance. You need to decide the distance between your texts. Let’s space our text using two rows between them. So I duplicated the text and dragged it two rows down.

Note: Zoom in to see the Grids and your texts.

As you can see, I’m keeping the text in one row and using two rows to space the text. 

You can see that our text is evenly spaced and looks professional. 

Select the text/shapes and use the repeat method to space them (If you need to create multiple objects like this).

You can also reuse the guides/grid methods to space them.

You can turn off the Grid after positioning the objects. From the overhead menu, go to View > Hide Grid

If you want to center your objects, go back to the Align Panel to arrange your objects. If you are working with the artboard, select Align to Artboard. Then, Horizontal and Vertical Align Center to place your object in the center of the artboard. 

Final Thought

You can easily space objects evenly in Adobe Illustrator with any of the methods in this tutorial. 

Some methods are more convenient than others depending on the objects you work with. For example, the Align method is faster and more convenient when you have different objects, while step and repeat works great for duplicating and spacing objects.

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *