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I have a pair of graphic files representing punch-out cardstock tokens in a board game, one to be printed on the front side of the sheet, and one on the back.

The back of the page needs to be an EXACT mirror image of the front, so far as the placement of the pieces goes, although what art goes on each piece is different. (There's a "heads" and "tails" side to each token.)

To make these line up properly, I'm thinking I need to measure from the RIGHT side of the page rather than the left for the back side of the sheet. So if one token is inset 0.1" from the left on the front art, it needs to be inset 0.1" - exactly - from the right on the back art.

How do I measure from the right side of the page like this?

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How are you measuring the token that is offset from the left? –  Farray Jan 3 '12 at 21:35
    
Using the X,Y,W,H boxes at the top of the window. –  baudot Jan 3 '12 at 21:50

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are more than a few ways to do what you want, but it's important to understand the basics.

If you found your left offsets using W,Y,W,H to find the left edge's position, you can do the same for the right edge. Illustrator's default unit of measurement is a "point", which equals .3528mm. Therefore, your "front" token must be 7.2pts from the left side, while your "back" token must be 7.2 pts from the right side of the corresponding layout.

The "fundamental" way:

  1. Find out what your artboard's dimensions are (in the Artboards window or File -> Document Setup, depending on your version).
  2. Select your object
  3. On the Transform window, select the object's right edge.
    enter image description here
  4. Set the right edge's X coordinate to the artboard's width, less 7.2 pts.

The quick 'n easy way:

  1. Select your object.
  2. Align it to the artboard's right edge (make sure "Align to Artboard" is selected):
    enter image description here
  3. Append -.1" to the object's X coordinate.

Illustrator will do simple conversions and calculations for you and echo the output in your default units. For example, if your default units are Points and you type in a coordinate as 1 inch + 25.4 mm, you will get a coordinate at 144 pt. For simple addition/subtraction, you can use units on both operands. For multiplication/division, the second operand must be unitless. This trick works in any box that you can input a unit of measurement.

Of course, even if you can align an object where it's supposed to be, you're still going to have to register it properly (unless you have a lot of bleed room).

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Thanks. I liked all the answers I got here, but yours cut to the heart of the problem I was actually needing to solve, and got the job done. –  baudot Jan 10 '12 at 1:12

You don't say so, but reading between the lines I sense that you're setting "n"-up pieces on a single sheet that will be printed on card stock and die-cut. I also get the feeling you're making this a lot more complicated than you need to, if, as I assume would be the case, all the pieces are the same dimensions.

One of Illustrator's handiest features is its Step and Repeat capability, which masquerades as a transform.

The most flexible way to work with this is to set up a template in a non-printing die-line layer which will also serve as your artwork guide (even if the pieces won't be die-cut).

Here's an example, starting from an A4 sheet with the units set to millimeters.

  • Place guides exactly 10mm (or whatever is appropriate) from the right and left edges, and the top. Unlock guides View > Guides > Unlock Guides and use Farray's instructions above to place the right-hand guide in its exact position, since A4 isn't exactly 210mm wide. Hold down Shift while dragging out the top and left guides so they snap exactly to the 10mm position.

  • Draw out a frame for the first token, with its top and left (for the front) and right (for the back) edges snapped to your guides. Here's what the back might look like. If you have only a single token on one sheet, skip the next three steps.

Step 1

  • Choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform, turn on Preview, set your number of copies to 2 or greater, and enter a positive (for the front, starting at the left) or negative (for the back, starting from the right) value in the Horizontal Offset field. Adjust this value until you have enough copies sufficiently spaced, then click OK. (It should be obvious that these values must be exactly the same, differing only in sign.)

Step 2

I chose an arbitrary shape that wouldn't fit neatly between the guides to emphasize the point that this technique guarantees you have perfect alignment front and back, even if the left and right or top and bottom margins are uneven.

  • Object > Expand Appearance

  • With the group still selected, use Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform again, this time finding the correct negative value in the Vertical Offset field, accept the transform and Expand Appearance as before.

  • Double-click the layer, rename it "Die-line," uncheck "Print" and check "Lock".

Build your token artwork under this layer, using its frames as guides. You can also snap guides to these frames, to make aligning your art easier.

Note that if your tokens are all the same on any one sheet, you only need to build one piece of art, then use the same values for Step and Repeat to replicate it, exactly lined up with your template.

Sounds like a fun project. Nobody ever asks me to do game tokens...

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Interesting trick. In fact there are clusters of pieces of a similar type, but still a few different kinds per sheet. –  baudot Jan 10 '12 at 1:14
    
I think you won't have trouble extrapolating from what's there. –  Alan Gilbertson Jan 10 '12 at 2:47
    
Indeed. I just did Cntrl-C, Shift-Cntrl-V, and typed a +number into the X or Y for each frame, getting a similar result with a bit more work. I had to go back one by one and double check everything had followed the guides exactly afterwards anyway, so it wasn't that much more work, proportionally. Always good to know the faster way, though. –  baudot Jan 10 '12 at 10:17

Just turn rulers on and set the origin to be the right edge of the page.

enter image description here

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