I am trying to align objects in Illustrator in a grid.

enter image description here

(The grid must not show in the final image). I want the center of each object to be aligned vertically and horizontally, as if it were at the crossing of each line on this grid.

Objects are not the same size.

When I use Illustrator’s Vertical Distribute Center option, I get this (note the red lines = not good):

enter image description here

but what I want is this (note the blue lines = good):

enter image description here

If I group my objects horizontally first, then distribute the space vertically, I get this (red = not good):

enter image description here

(My objects are not rectangles, but a logo of the same company name. Under each instance is the name of the country-specific branch, which is what makes each object a different size). Image 2 was done in Blender with Oscurart alignment tools

How do I grid-space objects in Illustrator?

  • Maybe it's me.. but I'm completely confused as to what's being asked here. Something regarding alignment I get.. but I'm having some trouble deciphering what the problem is. The images are, to me, poorly labeled and unclear. You cite "image 3" but I see either 2 or 5 images depending on how you are determining what an image constitutes.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 22:57
  • Thanks for the feedback, I rewrote the question to try and explain my goal better Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


It would seem to me that it's a multi-step alignment procedure, not a simple one or two click issue.

  • Align each side to itself on vertical centers.
  • Align the top objects on horizontal centers using one of them as the key object
    (To set a key object, select everything to be aligned then, with the Selection Tool, click the object a second time and it should be set as the key object indicated by a bolder highlight)
  • Align the bottom objects on horizontal centers using one of them as the key object
  • Distribute Spacing on the side containing equal sized objects
  • Align the interior objects on horizontal centers setting the distributed side's object as key objects.

enter image description here

I realize it's not a simple one or two click solution, but it will be accurate.

A second option would be draw a rectangle around each object with no fill and no stroke which is the same size for every object. Align the object to the center of the "hollow" rectangle. Group this "hollow" rectangle with the object. Then you could align and distribute things as if they were all the same size because though bounding area would be, even though the visible area would be different.

  • Thanks, great answer! I'm glad my rewrite helped you understand my issue. I'm baffled as to why there isnt' a simpler way to do this... (I have 7 columns of 32 logos so I'm hoping there's a faster way!) Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • Yeah there's really not much available if the objects vary in dimensions You can align/distribute on center but that's really never going to accomplish a "smart" alignment. All I can think of is to use symbols of the same size, set up a grid and then swap the symbols for the desired, varied, objects. I don't really think that would be any faster though.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 17:46

You can make such an action that selects each one of your placement rectangles (you must use the 'select via note' from the Actions flyout menu, and have attribute notes written into your rectangles (which could be just clear paths)), that selects each rectangle and fits your artboard to it. Then it selects your logo group, or whichever element you want aligned, and you can have it align to center vertically and horizontally. Your alignment mode must be set to 'artboard' though. So your action will go through all of the rectangles, playing a block of alignment operations for each object. At the end, you may have the action select a large clear rectangle which would be the size of your original artboard and then 'reset' the artboard by fitting it back to this rectangle. You must have drawn this rectangle first. And this way, you can automate some of it.

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