I have multiple objects accross many layers. What I would like to do is to select all of those objects and then align everything selected (as if it was a group) to something (e.g. to artboard, to some other object etc.). I don't want to align every of selected objects separately but rather to move them all at the same time, exactly as they would be moved if they were grouped.

The problem is - if I select objects and then make a group, all selected objects are pulled out of their layers and are put in the layer of the topmost selected object. If I, after aligning the group, ungroup the objects then I end up with initial layering of the objects being lost, what is not what I would like to happen.

In other words, I'd like to align selected objects treated as a group - but without losing/changing the layering.

  • Save selection may be an option: designgeek.com/group-across-layers-illustrator-0
    – ispaany
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:01
  • Unfortunately, that way align to artboard works just the same as after 'normal' selecting - every object is still aligned separately so they all end up in the same place.
    – Chupo_cro
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


You cannot use the align options unless the objects are grouped together. So here might be a workaround for you.

  1. Select all of the objects you would like to move and go to Select -> Save Selection (Ex. Selection 1). Thank you to ispaany for mentioning that.
  2. Copy those objects (CTRL or CMD + C) and paste in front (CTRL or CMD + F).
  3. Group the copied objects together. You can now align these objects to the artboard. Place the objects where you want them to be and lock them.
  4. Reload the selection, Select -> Selection 1. Move the selection to the same spot as the grouped objects and then unlock and delete the grouped objects.

*You will most likely need Snap to Point turned on in the View options.

  • Yes, that seem to be the only way. There is just one small change - when reselecting the objects in the step #04, Select > Selection 1 selects both the original and the newly created objects so the newly created ones must be first locked. Thank you very much for your help!
    – Chupo_cro
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:40

To center non-grouped selected objects to the artboard or to other objects:

  1. select the key object (the one you want to align to), noting the X & Y coordinates in the Transform panel (make sure the Reference Point selected is the center point);
  2. select your collection of objects and enter those previously noted X & Y coordinates from step 1 into the Transform panel in the respective X & Y fields.

A quick way to get the X & Y coordinates of the Artboard: just activate the Artboard tool (Shift+O) and the numbers will be right there in the Control Bar. Again, make sure the selected reference point is the center point for centering.

[Note that when aligning to an artboard, be sure you reset the ruler origin point to the artboard while the Artboard Tool is active. Do this by double-clicking the spot where the rulers meet in the top left of the artboard.

I think this has something to do with whether or not you are using Artboard Rulers or Global Rulers (a setting I never knew about until now). My setup had Artboard Rulers enabled.]

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