I have a plot with lots of labels on the x- and y-axes in Illustrator. I want to downscale the image vertically, but not horizontally. Obviously, when I do this the text looks silly as it becomes distorted.

Is there a way, after the fact, to change the text aspect ratio back to its original, while keeping the image vertically scaled?

Googling I didn't find an answer. Note this is different from asking how to maintain global aspect ratio when resizing (I know to do that to hold down shift key when resizing).

What I'm doing now is very time consuming: I ungroup, pull the text away, resize the image, and then drag the text back in manually and resize it separately. This is incredibly inefficient and time consuming. It feels stupid.

4 Answers 4


The only real way to reset text is possibly to select it and look to the Character Panel.

If the text object has been scaled non-proportionally, the width and height fields will be something other than 100%. Simply reset them to 100%.

enter image description here

Other than this, I know of no way to reset text if it has been transformed other than to retype it in a new text object.

However, you may find using Select > Object > Text Object And then Object > Lock > Selection useful. This will lock the text objects in place, allow you to resize the art work, then use Object > Unlock All and all the text objects are selected again.

I'm not 100% this will work for your particular files, but it may be helpful.

  • I'm having trouble getting it to work: the problem is that there is text interleaved in the middle of the rest of the figure, so it is impossible to select the art without selecting text, so even after "locking" the text, when I then select the art, it selects the text. It is a little surprising there isn't functionality that treats text special: in our papers we are constantly resizing things in ways that changes the aspect ratio, but we want the text to not appear like a freak after :) Imagine my figure is like this: koonec.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Example-Figure.jpg
    – neuronet
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 16:42
  • 1
    Yeah Adobe messed with the lock feature a few versions ago and now if a group contains a locked object, there's a tendency for the lock to do practically nothing if you move or adjust the group. Try ungrouping first.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 16:48

Not sure if this exactly helps, but if you started with something like this: enter image description here

Then scaled down: enter image description here

You can just retype the the horizontal scale: enter image description here

The only problem is that your text alignment might might effect the positioning.

  • No problem. I didn't see Scott update his answer. :)
    – Rsiel
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 18:27

Try this method. Worked for me. It is a lifesaver. https://github.com/burghoff/Scientific-Inkscape

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review
    – Lucian
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 14:22

You can use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+shift+x

This is the default keyboard shortcut for uniform text and can be found in your keyboard shortcut menu by searching for "uniform text" (as shown in the image below).

Selecting the text, then executing this command will reset the aspect ratio of your text.

enter image description here


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