Align objects by stacking (align top to bottom, left to right, etc)


This comes up a lot, so I'm wondering if there's a proper way to do this. Sometimes I want to create an object by placing two objects next to each other, for example, when drawing an arrow (or a snowman, or a stack of boxes or a shelf of books, etc):

Quick methods

As you can see, it's somewhat difficult to make these perfect, which I suppose isn't the worst thing in the world, but I'd much prefer to get it perfectly right. At the moment, the best way I can find to do it perfectly is to create a third object to use as a key object for the first two:

Long Method

This is obviously way more involved than I really want it to be, so I'm wondering if I'm missing some easy/obvious way to do a top-to-bottom alignment.

Edit: Sorry, Illustrator 6.0, Windows (7 or 8, though that probably doesn't matter).

7/28/2013 3:46:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Do you mean, you want to get objects perfectly stacked so the top of one just touches the bottom of the next one?

If so, you can do this like this:

  • Select them all
  • In the align window, switch it to align to key object
  • Make sure the numbers box is set to 0
  • Hit the distribute objects vertically button in the bottom left of the panel

This puts everything in a stack based on the stacking order , where the distance between each object is the number in the box. If they're in the wrong order, re-arrange which objects are on top of each other.

This stacks any number of objects:

enter image description here

That said, if you're just making simple arrows, there's an easier way using the arrowheads options on the Stroke window. I think in versions earlier than CS6, arrowhead options were buried in the Effects menu somewhere. If you can't see these options, hit "Show options" in the flyout menu at the top right of the box (Adobe love hiding useful tools without leaving any clue that they are there):

enter image description here

8/1/2013 5:08:00 PM