I'm trying to place four circles inside a rectangle, all with the same margin from the corner edges and although I can do this using guides or some calculations, I was wondering if there is a better way of doing this.

For example, can I select one of the circles and set it 20mm away from the bottom-corner edges of the rectangle, simply by choosing the edge line and entering the distance in an input field?

  • I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to accomplish, can you please include images and try to better explain it?
    – Welz
    May 22, 2019 at 13:46
  • @WELZ Imagine a square with four screw holes on it.
    – Mahdi
    May 22, 2019 at 13:55

3 Answers 3


No, illustrator is a direct modeller. It has no understanding of relationships of objects.

However there is a easy way to do this. Offset the square by -20 mm then copy-drag the circle form center of the circle object by holding alt. and snap to the corcer points of of offset rectangle.

PS: there are cad apps thst can do this easily but they are not direct modelers.

  • Yes, I might do it in Fusion 360 if the design gets more complicated -- it's an enclosure box that is going to be laser cut-ed.
    – Mahdi
    May 22, 2019 at 13:57
  • @Mahdi Only if you never need to make changes.
    – joojaa
    May 22, 2019 at 13:59
  • Why is that? In Fusion 360 I can pretty much design everything related to each other or some core variables, if that's what you were referring to.
    – Mahdi
    May 22, 2019 at 14:47
  • @Mahdi you dont even need variables just constrain your sketch and it will update, you get thsi with 2 seconds of extra work. If, you uderstand how fusion is supposed to be used (and dont use newbie features)
    – joojaa
    May 22, 2019 at 15:30

Of course you can do that. In this example, placing the circle 20 mm up/right from the bottom/left corner of the rectangle:

  • Align both shapes bottom/left
  • Select the circle
  • Put the cursor at the end of the X Value field and type +20Enter
  • Put the cursor at the end of the Y Value field and type -20Enter

enter image description here

  • 1
    I don't know why I didn't try that myself! Great solution! Thank you also for putting an effort for creating a GIF as well!
    – Mahdi
    May 23, 2019 at 8:48

Illustrator already tells you the distance you've moved an object from its initial position. I would either use guides, as you mentioned, or use the built-in system.

For instance, you can see that I dragged the ellipse below 30px from the top of the rectangle. Just change your units in AI to mm instead of px:

enter image description here

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