Illustrator is a tool more geared toward artistic purposes, but it has deterministic internals when it comes to most objects features, but sometimes it feels like it lacks certain functionalities.

I'd like to be able to constrain the distance between objects (objects' edges) in a quick way. Is there a way? Or am I limited to Object > Transform > Move...

I'm working on a house floor-plan. I'd like to define the distances between objects (walls and what not) in a practical way, while being able to stylize the objects afterwards. The issue is that I need to set several many measurements at the same time while not knowing the final position of most objects. The Move... command is just too error prone.

If it weren't for the need to stylize objects visually I would just use Solidworks.

  • It's difficult to tell exactly what your problem is from the description. Look into Illustrator's Align panel. Also be aware that when you have multiple items selected, clicking on one of the selected items will make it the anchor from which all align functions calculate. It is the best and easiest way I know of to constrain distances between objects with accuracy.
    – 13ruce
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:16
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    Illustrator at this time doesn't have a constraints system such as you describe, though there are workarounds to get a manual sense of this - at this time, Affinity Designer and Sketch App both have exactly the behaviour you are describing, and it is in both apps called constraints, and is used frequently in UI, mobile app, and website design contexts. Sep 27, 2018 at 16:05
  • Thought about something like the CADTools plug in for Illustrator?
    – Scott
    Sep 27, 2018 at 17:17
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    You said "I'm working on a house floor-plan". To be honest here, Illustrator is not designed for what you are trying to use it for. Illustrator is a vector image editor whose main use is for graphic design, logos, illustrations etc. There's specialist CAD software out there for creating architectural plans and drawings to scale.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 28, 2018 at 9:28

3 Answers 3


I guess you can achieve that by using the align panel : enter image description here

Select your various objects to distribute, select " align to : Key object " and define the distance you want between them. That way you will be able to define that distance between to be the same in a procedure typical in Ai. Hope it helped...


You can create a square object with no fills or strokes which should define this distance. You then go into Outline mode and you move this square around, touching edges, then drag objects until they touch the square on the opposite side. Make sure object snapping is on. Its likely the quickest thing you can do.

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion. I guess what I'd like doesn't quite exist in Illustrator. Your suggestion seems ok, but it doesn't constrain objects and doubles/triples the number of objects in the project (although I could handle it through layers). PS.: What I mean by constraining is, when you change a measurement, the object moves to its new position automatically.
    – A. Vieira
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:03
  • I know what you meant but don't think you can do that in AI. And you can use just ONE square and move it around for every couch, wall, etc. As long as you remember how big the square was (0.125 inches or something), you can always delete it or put it back and don't need to keep 100 identical squares.
    – Lucian
    Sep 27, 2018 at 12:16

Instead of using Object > Transform > Move, you can instead use Crtl + K to open the Preferences panel, then on the General tab change your keyboard increment. Then hit Enter or OK, and you can move the object that increment with one tap of an arrow key. This can be pretty quick because when you hit Ctrl+K it should automatically have the Keyboard Increment setting selected. You can then type the number for the increment and hit the enter key, then you are ready to move the object using the arrow keys. I use this frequently to position objects at an even spacing.

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