I've got a polar grid with 8 concentric dividers and 24 radial dividers that creates a sort of circular table. I would like to put text into each of the cells and have it centered between each of the radial dividers. So far I am just creating text boxes and "eye balling" the rotation and spacing to place them into each cell as I go around the concentric circles. After straining my eyes and patience, I've decided to ask the community to see if there is a more efficient way to do this.

More data: Currently I use Adobe Illustrator, but if there's a better option I'll switch. The texts are just numbers, 1-4 digits currently. I would like them to stay editable. They don't need to curve with the cells but it would be ok if they did.

  • What application are you using?
    – joojaa
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:08
  • Currently using Adobe Illustrator but if there is a better option, I'll switch. The text are just numbers, 1-4 digits currently. I would like them to stay editable. They don't need to curve with the cells but it is ok if they do.
    – HansW
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:41
  • 1
    What is the intended output format? This is the kind of thing that is trivial to do with TikZ.
    – Cactus
    Aug 14, 2021 at 7:58
  • Wow, excellent suggestions!! Thanks so much.
    – HansW
    Aug 14, 2021 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


This method involves a bit of setting up.

  1. Draw the polar grid and lock its layer

  2. For one column, create arcs positioned for the text

enter image description here

  1. Use the Type on a Path tool to add some text, centre each, maybe reduce the font size on each going towards the centre of the grid.

  2. Select all of the text on paths. Hit R to engage the rotate tool, then Alt+click the centre of the grid. Set the rotation to 15 degrees, and hit Copy.

  3. Press Ctrl+D repeatedly to duplicate and rotate copies all around.


enter image description here

  • Mr. Kerr: I'm not a power user of Illustrator. How do you create the short arc segments and make them perfectly match the arc of the cell border adjacent to them? You also got them perfectly centered within each cell.
    – HansW
    Aug 17, 2021 at 19:49
  • @HansW - Draw a circle, add an anchor with the Add Anchor Point tool, select and delete the other segments, or I suppose you could draw curves manually with the Pen (Bézier) tool. Whichever way works best for you is fine.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 18, 2021 at 1:21

One easy way is to envelope distort with Arc warp a rectangular table. It has separate rectangular boxes which everyone has a text object with centered text.

180 degrees sector is the widest allowed:

enter image description here

Full circle needs 2 pieces. Unfortunately warping is not fully accurate - the seam doesn't fit exactly. Or actually it's accurate, but it forces the stroke inside the envelope.

enter image description here

It would be better to remove the strokes of the boxes and overlay a separately drawn perfect grid. Another possibility is to use inner strokes which are not 50% of the width out of the object area.

But the numbers are still editable. Envelope distortion allows editing as well the object as the envelope. Envelope distortion can also be released which makes the warped table back to its original form. The warp mesh object will be released, too. It can be reused in Envelope Distort with Top Object.

Warping has no options for inner radius. You can edit the result with the direct selection tool (=really tricky) or have dummy lines in the table.

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