On an 8" x 8" artboard, how do I evenly place 8 1" circles to make a circular grid? They should be overlapping by 1 pt.

  • Taking two 1" circles, placing one on each end and creating a blend to span the distance. And then copying and pasting that row 8 times. Not exactly precise. Feb 20, 2013 at 1:42

2 Answers 2


You realize that 16, 1" circles will not fill an 8x8" artboard, right? You need 16, 2" circles to fill 8x8" or 32, 1" circles.

  • draw a rectangle, 8" x 8" and center on the 8x8 artboard.
  • choose Object > Path > Split into Grid
  • enter 4 rows and 4 columns for 16, 2" circles (enter 8 rows 8 columns for 32, 1" circles). Make certain the Gutter values are set to zero and click Ok.

split into grid

  • choose Effect > Convert to Shape > Ellipse
  • tick "Absolute" and enter either 1" or 2" into the width and height fields and click OK


  • Lastly, choose Object > Expand Appearance to get the circles as objects rather than squares with effects applied.


These are 2" circles, not 1" in order to fill the 8"x8" area.

  • Worth mentioning that, if anyone wanted to use this method with a shape that couldn't be made using the Convert To Shape menu, they could use the Copy to multiple objects script. Feb 20, 2013 at 13:11

Here's an alternative that works just as well on circles and also works on any other shape or group, not necessarily just the three in the 'Convert to Shape' menu. Also, this way, the number of items in the grid and their spacing remains completely editable until you choose to expand it.

Use Effect > Distort and Transform > Transform (note the 'Move' and 'Copies' settings):

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...then, do the same again, Apply New Effect, and do it vertically instead of horizontally with the appropriate number of copies:

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Until you expand it (Object > Expand), it remains completely editable:

1- You can change the number of copies, the spacing, and add things like rotation at any time by editing the effects which are stored in the Appearance window (window > appearance).

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2- Double-clicking into isolation mode on the original then editing it immediately updates all the copies.

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If you want to use the Grid method on any shape or object, check out the Copy to multiple objects script.

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