Was wondering if there is an automated way to re-position shapes to minimize the space between them. Besides manually trying to guess the optimal configuration.

I am trying to achieve some layouts like the following enter image description here

  • The feature you are describing is called "nesting" and Illustrator does not have a native way to do this. It requires special plugin software that you can buy separately.
    – 13ruce
    Mar 10 '20 at 16:59
  • Manual placing is easy in Inkscape. There the bounding box contains the stroke and snap to bounding box is possible. Let objects have a stroke and drag them to lean against each other. Select all, remove the stroke => objects have equal gaps between them
    – user287001
    Mar 10 '20 at 19:52

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