Got some x-axis text (point text) that's rotated. I cannot seem to acurately horizontally distribute the objects using the align tool. All text objects have the same justification settings. What am I missing? Is it the ALL CAPS? screenshot of x-axis with unevenly distributed text objects

3 Answers 3


In this case you would need to use "Horizontal Distribute Right" to get even distribution.

Horizontal Distribute icons with Horizontal Distribute Right highlighted

With this option Illustrator only considers the right edge of the bounding box for each item, ignoring the width of the text itself.

  • Aligning right is not the same as distributing space though.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 25 at 22:13
  • Thank you! Horizontal Distribute Right solved my problem as the text came to me already rotated. Otherwise, yes, I'd prefer to distribute first, and then rotate. Makes sense.
    – Tami Tolpa
    Commented Jun 25 at 23:10
  • @Scott indeed, aligning right will place the right edge of each bounding box at the same x coordinate. Distribute right will place an equal space between the right edge of each bounding box.
    – Hooiberg
    Commented Jun 26 at 8:54
  • No. I meant distributing space is different than distributing right. I mistyped previously. Distributing right can result in uneven spacing. Not that distributing right won't work in some cases, it certainly will. It's just not the same thing. (and frankly may solve this users issue +1, but doesn't really answer the question as to why distribute spacing isn't working as expected.😀)
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 26 at 9:00

Because Illustrator sees all objects by their rectangular bounding box. Illustrator does not see the text the way it is visually presented.
(I am unable to screenshot this because bounding boxes vanish when commands for a screenshot are pressed.)

Illustrator is distributing a set of rectangles based upon their outermost corners, not a series of angled text glyphs. This is why "ETS1" is closer to the preceding text object in your image, the rectangular bounding box for "EST1" is smaller than others.

Basically, you want to distribute first, and then rotate. Distributing existing rotated text will pretty much always be incorrectly spaced (unless each word is the same length).

A trick is to set the type as straight 90° point type and distribute spacing for that. Then use Object > Transform > Transform Each to rotate the point type - setting the 9-point Origin to the top right corner....

enter image description here

  • Does the height of text objects in Illustrator vary depending on whether the text has ascenders or descenders? If so, that could be a problem with this method in some cases. (Fortunately the OP's text seems to be all uppercase, so they probably won't have issues with this.) Commented Jun 25 at 7:37
  • No. 12pt type is 12 pt type regardless of the case.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 25 at 8:02
  • +1, but a rotated rectangle is still a rectangle - I would call it the "axis-aligned bounding box", but maybe there is a more commonly used term in graphic design. Commented Jun 25 at 11:43
  • @JacobisonCodidact bounding box is generally assumed to be aligned to working coordinate system in most cases. So in this case screen. If it isnt alinged thisway then you would use some extra nomenclature.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 25 at 13:00

In you can do this using the "Distribute horizontally with even spacing between right edges" button:

Inkscape screenshot showing 45 degree rotated text objects distributed using "Distribute horizontally with even spacing between right edges"

In this particular case, however, an even better solution is to first make sure that your text objects are all right-aligned and then use "Distribute text anchors horizontally":

Inkscape screenshot showing 45 degree rotated text objects distributed using Distribute text anchors horizontally"

This will ensure that the baselines of the text objects are evenly distributed even if their heights might vary e.g. due to letters with ascenders and descenders.

I don't have Illustrator at hand to test this, but I'd be mildly surprised if the expensive closed source product lacked such a basic feature that its free open source competitor has. That said, it does occasionally happen. Still, I felt it was at least worth pointing out this possibility, even if it may or may not help you with your specific use case.

  • I was thinking exactly the same.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 25 at 9:51
  • Ok so same works in illustrator as posted by Hooiberg since the distribute panel is mostly the same. But generally the align toolsets in both inkscape and illustrator are somethinmg to be left desired. In general this is where the lets hide transfromations fom users starts to bite the ass. LEt me specify where i consider my object local coordinate to be please.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 25 at 13:04

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