Using Adobe Illustrator, how can I evenly distribute a group of objects along an arc?


9 Answers 9


Have you tried using the making two instance of an object (e.g., a circle) and then going to Object > Blend > Make to make a Blend?

You can modify the spacing and orientation via Object > Blend > Blend Options.

You can attach it to a path by selecting the Blend (the one you made previously) and the path and going to Object > Blend > Replace Spline.

  • It's not exactly what I wanted to do, which was to take a group of objects without blending them and line them up against a pre-existing line, but it looks like this doing this and then modifying the spline of the blend is the Illustrator Way. Thanks!
    – Dan Monego
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 22:03
  • For those novices like me, this video is a nice visual guide for using this method. youtube.com/watch?v=HNQqHqtmgZ8
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 16:57

If these objects are identical, you can make a "scatter brush". This solution is not panaceum and needs tweaking if you want to have specific number of elements or elements exactly on both ends of the shape. Anyway it's quite flexible :).

Example of scatter brush evenly distributed elements


The most general case I can think of (not to detract from Krazer's excellent suggestion) is to put a stroke on your path temporarily and use the "Dashed Line" option to create a 1 pt. dash with a large value for the gap. Adjust the gap value until you have the correct number of dots on your arc, and use these to align the objects.

There is an option to align the dashes to ends and corners. If you keep that turned on Illustrator will make subtle adjustments to ensure that you have a dot at each end of the arc and even spacing between.

This is one situation in which InDesign scores over Illustrator, because it allows inline objects to be pasted into a text path and manipulated with Justification, Tracking, etc., just as if they were text characters.


I recently had a similar issue - I wanted to repeat a group of objects around a circle but didn't want to rotate it or to make it a brush (I wanted a specific number of iterations). Here's what I did:

  1. I created my circle and centered it to my artboard.
  2. I made a star object (the polygon tool will work too) with an even number of points, at about half the radius of my circle, and centered it to my artboard and locked it (so that I wouldn't accidentally move it in the next few steps). PLEASE NOTE that if you want to use an uneven number of points it may not align properly to the center of the art board, in which case you can make a circle with the same radius as the longest radius of your star and then fit the star inside, group them, and align.
  3. I lined up my group's center to one of the points of the star.
  4. Holding Alt, I dragged the group, which copied it, and aligned the copy's center to the next star point.
  5. I repeated this process until all of the star points had copies of my group centered on top of them.
  6. I grouped my groups together, then unlocked and deleted the star - thus I had all of my group objects evenly distributed in a circular shape with no rotation on the original objects, without going through the hassle of using the "move" and "rotate" tools to the utmost precision.

This will almost certainly work for an arch shape, you just have to know how many instances of the object that you want before you start and make a star or polygon with the appropriate number of points. You can even stretch or deform your star or polygon before starting it you want a specific shape, though this can impact the spacing of your object.

I don't know if this helps, but I hope it does.


That's a really good question.

A quick and dirty way to to cheat is to create your arc and put type along it (for example, 1, 1, 1, 1), and then letterspace them evenly (literally, hit the space bar the same number of times between each character). Turn the whole thing into guides and align your items to the characters. Imprecise, but it should get you close.

  • In that scenario, I'd probably play with tracking as more exact and simple to manipulate. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 22:14
  • In fact that would be brain dead easy to do in InDesign, where one can put any graphics as a "glyph" using "text on path"…
    – thebodzio
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 23:48
  • Also, instead of "spacing" the characters or modifying their tracking, it's much easier to use "full justification" granted "start" and "end" markers are on both ends of path.
    – thebodzio
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 23:54

just a simple way, object which has to be placed on path you can drag in to brushes panel - than select path & click on brush which you had set your vector....

  • 1
    Welcome to GD.SE! It looks like @thebodzio gave the same answer as you...
    – Brendan
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 12:56

If your arc is a circle and not an ellipse then this is an easy method. Create your circle and place your object in position one. Then do a rotation and copy of the object around the circle identifying the circle's center as the center for rotation and the rotation angle dependent on the number of items around the circle that you wish (360/number of objects).

Hope this helps.


I know I'm 5 years late to the party, but CHECK OUT THIS TECHNIQUE!

I call it the circle overlap blend: Create a circle and duplicate it. Make sure the two circles are a different color so you can see what is happening. Select both circles and blend them (object>blend>make). Select your blend and go to "blend options"(object>blend>blend options). Use "Specified Steps" for the spacing and put in how many total circles you want (I used 21). For "Orientation" select the right icon which is "Align to Path". Select OK.

Make a new (larger) circle which will be your path. Select the blended circles and the large circle and replace the spine (object>blend>replace spine). This will rotate the blend around the larger circle, aligning it to the circle's path.

If the circles are not connected/touching (and you want them to), select the scissor tool (C) and click the blank portion of the larger circle. This will make sure all of the circles are connected. At this point you can scale the overall shape to get the size you want, or expand (object>expand) and play around with them individually.

Good luck!

  • that's what Krazer's answer said in their answer
    – Luciano
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 9:37

Using this awesome script by Hiroyuki Sato called dupAlongThePath.jsx.

This script duplicates the foreground selected object on the rest of selected paths with specified interval. Optionally, you can apply random scaling to each of duplicated object.

You bring the object you want distributed to the front (Right Click → Arrange → Bring to Front) and then run the script.

Now simply choose your settings

dupAlongThePath.jsx Settings

Note; this won't work for a group of objects, but it will work for one object which you want distributed, you can then make changes to the object manually.

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