(Ai 2014 CC)

Edit: Specifically this is when copying and pasting from one file to another file.

I'm using align to "Key Object" not align to "Artboard"

What I find odd is that it moves more every time I press allign.

Has anyone else experienced this and have an explinanation as to why this happens?

An obvious solution is to manually move the object but I'd rather have an explanation, not a solution.

Although, a solution would be appreciated if offered.

NOTE: I've censored the actual art but you can still see it's bounding box and a rough idea of the elements inside. Both of these objects are independently grouped, so I'm not selecting the wrong key object.

ALSO NOTE: In the gif I never deselect anything.

enter image description here

  • Do you have Align to Artboard or Align to Selection checked? Looks like you have some sort of offset applied, but I've never seen that before.
    – ckpepper02
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:01
  • @ckpepper02 I'm using align to Key Object not align to Artboard Mar 2, 2018 at 19:09
  • 1
    This happened to me a number of times while opening artwork from other providers or via EPS or SVG or PDF or even older AI formats. I did not find a solution and always assumed this is a bug. Possibly rogue or hidden objects affecting the way align behaves.
    – Lucian
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:46
  • 2
    Possible duplicate: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/64704/… -- (note also references CC2014, might be a clue) I, personally, have never seen this behavior. And the duplicate, while it has a few answers, none are up voted or marked correct. It must be something with the file itself and the object construction. My sheer and utter guess would be possibly symbol registration points????
    – Scott
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:59
  • 1
    I get this quite often with objects that come from non-Illustrator PDFs. Sometimes copy/pasting into a fresh AI file remedies the problem, but not always.
    – 13ruce
    Mar 6, 2018 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


Gosh, usually when I have an issue like this in illustrator (and I have the time) I'll dupe the file and delete assets one at a time and see if that resolves the issue. Sometimes I start with broader strokes (delete whole groups, etc).

I wonder if this could have anything to do with how the assets are grouped?

Also, when you align to selection or artboard does it behave normally?


Partial answer

Saving before using align, then opening the file, does seem to fix it.

My hunch is it has something to do with a partially deleted object and a clipping mask because if one of those elements are missing then this doesn't happen.

enter image description here

  • Ah so information is cached somehow.
    – joojaa
    Mar 7, 2018 at 17:47
  • @joojaa I'm not sure I follow. If that's your explanation as to why it only works when you don't save I'd be curious if you have a slightly more detailed guess ;) Mar 7, 2018 at 17:53
  • @joojaa I'd be happy to share the actual file with you. It's confirmed to work with Ai 2014 - Ai 2017 Mar 7, 2018 at 17:54

Object > Flatten Transparency > Move Raster slider to 100 > Check Convert all text to outlines just in case. Then try to align.

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