I'd like 36 circles of equal size to be spaced out in a 3x12 (wide) grid. I would like to control the spacing between columns, and between rows, so that I can figure out what is aesthetically optimal by trial and error.

If possible, the space between columns 4&5, 8&9 should be a bit larger, so as to suggest visual grouping of columns into groups of 4. This is not essential, since I can easily do it manually, but would be nice to know.

I would like to do this all efficiently. Obviously I can precalculate the X/Y coordinates and tediously enter them for each circle. But who has time for that?

Here's an example of what I want: enter image description here

  • I don't have any idea what your question is. You seem to know how to place objects evenly, so what are you trying to figure out?
    – Ryan
    Apr 12, 2016 at 19:54
  • @Ryan I want to know if there is a tool in Illustrator to automatically space out objects on a grid, which would not be very tedious for a large number of objects (eg. 3600 circles instead of 36). I likewise don't have any idea what your question is.
    – Superbest
    Apr 12, 2016 at 19:57
  • You should edit your question to say you're looking for a way to automate this in a way that is scalable if that's what you're looking for.
    – Ryan
    Apr 12, 2016 at 20:03
  • Are these circles already drawn on the board? If not have you tried out the "Transform Effect" option on a single circle? Effect>Distort&Transform>Transform? Nesting the appearance effects would do the trick. Apr 13, 2016 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


You could draw one circle Xpx, copy it horizontally (Object > Move > Copy) fourteen times by Ypx, then select the row of circles and copy them vertically by the same Ypx. Then simply select/delete the fifth and 10th columns.

  • It even understands algebraic expressions like X+Y px! Perfect. Not quite what I was looking for, but close enough.
    – Superbest
    Apr 13, 2016 at 16:18

Have a look at the align tool Window > Align there is a tool in here to create equal spacing of a specified width or to create equal spacing between two objects

enter image description here

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