Photoshop - Relative layer position


I've been trying to create a menu with Photoshop CS5 and I've come to realise there's probably an easier way to go about it. I've made a few menus in the past but any tiny modification seems to take a rather long time to recreate across the rest of the menu items.

As an example, let's say I have a horizontal website menu with 5 items. Right now, I'd create that using 5 text layers and positioning them by hand to figure out how far away they need to be. The problem is, if I then decide to try increasing the width between each item, I need to individually re-place each text layer. It doesn't seem like a huge deal, but my way of creating a fixed width between 2 layers is to create a fixed selection, drag it into place and then drag the next item into place. It seems as though there should be an easier way.

The problem for me is that I have very little design experience, so I tend to have to try an awful lot of things to get even the simplest of elements to sit nicely. That ends up with me spending what feels like more time re-placing items to create exact width, instead of actually trying out new ideas.

So that led me to wondering: is it possible to place a layer relative to another? At least this way, if the width of a (text) layer changed, the space between the elements would be preserved. If that isn't possible, it'd be great to hear of more efficient ways of doing this.

11/23/2011 3:54:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Thanks for the answers. These have led me to the solution and I feel a bit embarrassed for having not seen it before. If you select all of the layers you wish to align/distribute, then go to Layer -> Align/Distribute and choose an option, you can align the layers without any fuss.

Hope you guys find that as useful as I will.

11/23/2011 11:55:00 PM

There are alignment options, and there are grids and the ability to snap to them. If you enable the "show transform controls" option when the move tool in selected, you will see gadgets and a band selection around objects. you can eyeball-align the center gadget for an item with a grid line.