I am creating an animated sprite list in Adobe Illustrator. I finished creating the sprites and used the Horizontal/Vertical Distribute Center commands to distribute the objects equally in some area.

But, if the objects are spread too far apart, the Distribute Center tool leaves, albeit equal, much distance between the objects. The opposite is true: if the objects are too close then distributing them will just overlap them.

My question is, is there any tool that just puts objects side by side?

I imagine that this tool would work if the objects aren't even equal in size.

I have viewed this question and answer but it is not what I need.

  • Help! One of the side effects of having Illustrator assign the distance between the objects is that when I animate the sprite according to the sprite sheet, the animation is broken.
    – Lzh
    Feb 15, 2012 at 11:53
  • If you do this with 2 fresh new tables (rectangular grids) be sure to group the tables seperately first, otherwise the cells will start reacting on their own.
    – Kim
    Jul 14, 2014 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


You can align to a specific dimension (horizontal or vertical) using the "Distribute Spacing" selection in the "Align" tab.

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Note: If the text box does not display, in the upper right of the panel is a dropbox... click it and choose "Show Options".

  1. Select the objects you want to distribute.
  2. Single-click on one object to set it as the anchor (aka key) object.
  3. Enter the amount you want them distributed.
  4. Click on either the Distribute Vertically button or the Distribute Horizontally button.

You can also use this to place two objects exactly next to each other; just set your spacing to "0".

  • Oh my, this answers the question perfectly. I have some objects on glow, is there a way to include these in the calculated image width/height? Because Illustrator doesn't take them into account if I set distance to zero and the glow overlaps. Please augment your answer with such information. Thanks a lot.
    – Lzh
    Feb 15, 2012 at 15:37
  • 1
    Well, if you add the glow radius to the spacing it might solve that issue... Feb 15, 2012 at 16:57
  • 4
    If the "Distribute Spacing" buttons are not there, then you must click in the top right corner of that little window and select "Show options". Then it will appear. Jan 16, 2014 at 21:34
  • 1
    You magnificent bastard. To bad my upvote button is only semi-auto. I would machine gun up-vote this!
    – dgo
    Sep 26, 2016 at 17:58
  • 1
    THANK YOU! This was not intuitive to figure out (or gather from instructions outside of stackexchange), but easy now that I know the trick.
    – user391339
    Aug 14, 2017 at 3:09

Referring to align to key object: to determine the key object, select the first object, and then, while pressing the select button, selecting the second one, it will declare the first object as the key object, as referred to above. If you don't do this and select the 2 objects at the same time, it will not give you the option align to key object but align to key anchor and give a different result.

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