I've been given a file that has several objects arranged in a circular fashion. I'd like to arrange these along a straight line. Is this possible in Illustrator? I've seen methods for doing the opposite of what I want to do, but doing these steps in reverse won't do what I need it to do.

Short of manually rotating each object I cannot see an easy way to do this. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Here's a script that might get you some of the way there. I wrote it pretty quickly so it is what it is.

It takes objects inside the selection, aligns them vertically to the same position and then moves each object forward. It doesn't rotate anything though.

enter image description here

var gap = 4;

var doc = app.activeDocument;
var selection = doc.selection;
var firstBounds = selection[0].visibleBounds;
var lastX = firstBounds[0];

for ( var i = selection.length; i--; ) {

    var item = selection[i];

    var bounds = item.visibleBounds;
    var x = [ bounds[0], bounds[2] ];
    var y = [ bounds[1], bounds[3] ];
    var width = x[1] - x[0];
    var height = y[1] - x[0];

    var newX = lastX + width + gap;
    var newY = firstBounds[1];
    item.position = [ newX, newY ];

    lastX = item.position[0];


Let's assume you have your shapes distributed uniformly, for ex the spacing is 30 degrees. Let's assume one of the shapes has the wanted angle position, others need rotation. Then

Pick one shape, copy it to the clipboard, paste it elsewhere, select again your whole circular pattern, rotate it 30 degrees, pick the next shape and copy it to elsewhere, etc...

You can repeat the last rotation with Ctrl+D if you haven't rotated nor moved anything between. Scrolling the page forth and back to be able to paste elsewhere doesn't harm.Only remember to reselect the circular pattern.

Align your separated shapes vertically and distribute horizontally with the Align and Distribute panel.

If your shapes are non-uniformly distributed or need more complex than linearly cumulating rotations for some other reasons, the only way is to rotate them one by one, Illustrator doesn't know the right angles.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.