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I have an illustration consisting of different geometric shapes. All of them are touching each other, they "lock in" to each other if you will. I would like to space them all out from each other equally, as if there was a transparent stroke on every edge of every shape within the overall picture. Is there a way to do this without having to do it manually?

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    Hello and welcome to GDSE. Can you show us a screenshot of the shapes? – Westside Jun 16 '17 at 19:00
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Take the leftmost object and place it as far left as you want your row to go. Do the same for the right-most object. Select all the objects with the black arrow and use the align tools (align to selection, not to artboard).

Horizontal Distribute Center is your best bet (the middle one) because your shapes are odd you might have better results with the other 2, Horizontal distribute left or right.

enter image description here

You'll probably want to use Vertical Align Center also, to make a neat row.

If the alignment is too far or too close than take the leftmost or rightmost object and re position it closer or farther away, select them all and Horizontal Distribute again.

Now keep in mind that horizontally distributing them equally will wreck the interlocking and touching.

If, on the other hand, you are trying to give equal space between them, lets say 1 inch, and your objects are variable width, then you need to manually space them apart. You might make a 1" x 1" square and use it to physically separate them and confirm the distance with your square, or you can use transform>move to shift each one a specified distance to the side. You can move them and then use the measure tool to confirm the distance.

enter image description here

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As an alternative to the distribution centre option, you could try 'Align To Key Object'.

  1. Select all your shapes
  2. Change the 'Align To' type (circled in red in the screenshot) to 'Align to Key Object'
  3. Change the value to a negative one (I've set it to -15). Tweak to suit.
  4. And then click the horizontal distribution button.

This should then slightly 'interlock' the shapes. screenshot of 'Align To' tool

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