I'm a biologist. What we often do we copy "spots" of yeast plates into Illustrator. The problem is, whenever I copy a "spot" from Photoshop it goes in some pretty random place in Illustrator. What would be great to be able to tell Illustrator to copy a spot into some grid, next to other spots, etc.

I use smart grids so it's relatively easy to place new spots, however, it would be amazing to be able automatically to tell Illustrator where spots should go.

Is there any way to do it?

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The solution implemented as Action in Photoshop and in Illustrator actually can make it very easy and I can use only one key F2, and in total two mouse clicks and two f2 clicks. (In Photoshop I made "Copy" as an Action triggered by f2). See screencast at YouTube. Thank you!

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    How Illustrator would understand automatically where spots should go? Maybe you can have grid the same size as your pastes from PS and in this case using Snap to Grid will makes things easier? Otherwise it's possible to make a script that would paste an item to the left/right or to the top/bottom of the active spot image: maybe this will makes things easier? Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 12:57
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    It would be possible to script this, that way you could even ensure that the object is always same size too.
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


When you copy and paste into Illustrator, the paste position is not random. It's centred on the document window. I don't know of any way to change that behaviour.

However, using that information, the following hacky solution is possible. Hopefully it might work for you:

If you can arrange it so that there are a blank squares in your grid in illustrator which are the same size as the content you are pasting, then you could select that object, then do CTRL++ (zoom in) followed immediately by CTRL+- (zoom out). This will centre the selected square in the view window.

Now when you paste CTRL+V it will be centred in the same location.

Here's an example

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If you find that's too many key presses, you could record an action so that the zoom in, zoom out, and paste menu items can be invoked by the press of a single function key. Here I set the action to be called by pressing F2

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This should help speed things up a bit

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  • THis will not work in older versions of illustrator, or illustrator users who have disabled the center zoom on objects. But this could be scripted.
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 17:30
  • @joojaa - well one could re-enable the centre zoom quite easily. And I'm sure it could be scripted, so why not answer with a scripting solution? Then everyone will be happy ;)
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 19:31
  • Well sure, if one wants to reenable it. I cant for earth of me understand why id like to zoom towards the center of the selected object (which is often nothing once you zoom close enough). It makes it impossible to zoom in on a corner without changing selection. And you cant get anything accurate done if you can not do this,
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 19:36
  • @joojaa - well, the centre zoom feature does seem to be useful at least for this particular task. One could always disable it afterwards. Scripting it would obviously be a better solution than mine, or Adobe could just fix the mess they made in the first place and come up with something better - such as pasting at the cursor location, or pasting where there is a selection. Although hell may freeze over before Adobe fixes anything in Illustrator. LOL.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 20:06
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    Thanks for this solution, with Actions, is now quite fast to copy the spots. I also made an Action for Photoshop as well to Copy so I can do the work with 2 mouse click and two f2 clicks :-) And since the positions of spots are not always the same (this not a plate with walls where you pretty much know positions of the spots) this solution seems to be very good so far. youtube.com/watch?v=0Con4XToNPM&feature=youtu.be Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 9:09

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