enter image description here Hello, I have drawn a table using the rectangle grid tool in Illustrator. how can I place the data at the center of each cell? (I want each number at the center for their assigned cell)

Do I have to do it manually? Or there are some ways? Thank you.

  • 1
    Tabs.... and line feeds.
    – Scott
    Dec 27, 2020 at 18:19
  • Oh no!! I know this from InDesign... but never knew I have it in illustrator as well. Thank you. Dec 28, 2020 at 3:25
  • @Scott what is line feed? any other term? Google cant bring anything relatable. Dec 28, 2020 at 3:42
  • 1
    Line feed = carriage return / new line / hit return
    – Scott
    Dec 28, 2020 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


Illustrator is not made for this:

  • Use InDesign
  • center 100 pages of table cells with a few clicks
  • sleep more :)

Use Illustrator for logos, icons, and one-off shapes with little, to no text on the artwork. More than half a page of text (and yes, especially tabular data), you should be looking at InDesign without blinking.

  • I am learning Indesign. I find it difficult. But yes, You are right. Illustrator is the wrong choice. Dec 28, 2020 at 17:32
  • 1
    At the very least set up in InDesign and export to EPS/PDF then open that in Illustrator if you must.
    – Scott
    Dec 28, 2020 at 18:56
  • Ok That's an Excellent Piece of Advice. Dec 29, 2020 at 7:33

If you are in a hurry or it's possible that the data content needs edits you can copy and paste from Excel.

enter image description here

If there's no decorative borders in Excel you'll get a simple result. It has only the cell content and a clipping mask.

enter image description here

Release the clipping mask and you have a group which contains the outline rectangle (=previous clipping mask) and text objects. The rectangle can be used to place the artistically wanted grid.

If you insert borders or fills in Excel prepare to get complex grid. There's probably much more complex clipping masks, groups, colored rectangles and multiple lines than you expect. And the newer Excel you have the more complex it becomes. But if it happens to be visually ok as is and you accept RGB colors, let it be.

I have still alive a version of Excel 2003 because it makes relatively simple graph and table structures if pasted to Illustrator.

At least my legacy Illustrator refuses to place Excel files. That can be otherwise if you have modern versions of Excel and Illustrator. I can only copy and paste directly or Place a printed PDF.

In the web there seems to be much demand how to use Excel data in Illustrator. Search for it. There's even scripts which help to take certain fields from an Excel file and from what's linked to it. Check this for a start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50WQPxTlVL0

  • Thank you so much. I learned a lot from your answer. Dec 28, 2020 at 3:24
  • 1
    You can also use open source software such as LibreOffice Calc which is similar to Excel, to copy and paste a table into Illustrator.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 28, 2020 at 17:09
  • @BillyKerr Thank you. I didn't know. Dec 28, 2020 at 17:33

Select your rectangular grid and go Pathfinder> Divide. Then Object> Ungroup. This will create individual rectangles and you can then use the Align Panel to center each number. It is important to select the individual rectangle as "Key Object" so alignment happens relative to the rectangle and the rectangle does not move. You can also just center each number at the left and right ends of your "grid" and then use distribute in the align panel to add the center numbers.

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Note- You may want to copy your rectangular grid and then hide it's visibility in the layers panel (or just lock it)- this way you have something to go back to in case your rectangles get moved.

Also, to get things centered better optically, you can outline your text (Type> Create Outlines). This will take the type's bounding box (ascenders, descenders, etc.) out of the centering- it will not be editable text afterwards. This will also require that you make a single Compound Path for the numbers that have 2 characters after outlining so they align as one unit and not 2 separate characters.

  • Thank you so much. I have tried this. It takes days. :'( Dec 28, 2020 at 3:23

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