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Aligning layers

You can align layers using the six alignment buttons in the top row of the Inspector, hover over each one of them to preview how any selected layer’s will align.

An image showing the different distribute and align buttons in the Mac app

Left to right: Distribute horizontally, distribute vertically, align left, align horizontally, align right, align top, align vertically, align bottom.

If you have a MacBook Pro with a touch bar, you’ll also see these options when you select a group of layers.

Aligning Touch Bar

The Mac app will align a layer you select to its Artboard (if you’re using them).

If you select two or more layers, alignment is calculated using the edges of all the layers. For example, if you choose to align layers to the left, all layers will be aligned to the left most edge of the layer that is furthest to the left, and vice versa for right alignment. Using the Center option will calculate the central point of all the layers combined and align them along it. To override this and align objects to a specific layer, select that layer and lock it (L), hold to keep your locked layer selected, and then select the objects you want to align.

To align a selection of two or more layers to an Artboard, select your layers, hold down and click the alignment button you want to use.

How to align and arrange multiple layers with Tidy

You can quickly align multiple layers into a neat grid, with distributed spaced rows and columns, with the Tidy button. To do this, select the layers you want to tidy and click on the Tidy button at the top of the Inspector. Your grid will fill the space of your selection and we’ll attempt to arrange layers evenly in rows and columns.

Make Grid

Select a layer and head to Arrange > Make Grid in the menu. Drag the handle in the bottom-right corner to edit the number of columns and rows in your Grid. Use the handles to edit the spacing between layers. You can also use the controls in the Inspector to edit the number of cells and spacing in your Grid.

You can make grids out of several layers. Make sure your layers are evenly aligned, select them and drag the bottom-right handle to make your Grid.

Note: The Mac app will use the last layer of your selection to create the Grid.

Moving Multiple Layers with Smart Distribute

With Smart Distribute you can quickly adjust even spacing between multiple layers, horizontally Distribute layers horizontally or vertically Distribute layers vertically. To do this, select two or more layers, then click and drag on the handle that appears between them. If you have layers arranged in a grid, you can adjust the spacing between each layer in a horizontal row, as well as the vertical spacing between rows themselves.

Smart Distribute won’t appear if your layers aren’t evenly distributed. To fix this, you can either evenly distribute your layers manually or use the Tidy button.

For very small selections, or when you’re zoomed far out from your selection, Smart Distribute handles hide to make the layers themselves easier to see. If can’t see a set of Smart Distribute layers for your selection, you may need to zoom in.

Note: From version 67, Smart Distribute and Tidy work with selections of layers that are inside and outside of different groups.

Swapping Layers within a Smart Distribute selection

When you’ve selected a set of layers with even spacing between them, you can click and drag on the circular handle that appears in the centre of any layer to move it within that selection. The layers around it will automatically swap positions with the one you move.

This also works for entire Artboards, making it handy for rearranging entire flows on the Canvas.

Swapping Layers in grid-like layouts

You can swap layers in your grid layouts without changing the number of rows or columns in your grid. Select all the layers in your grid, then drag on the circular handle that appears in the centre of any layer to swap it with another.

Positioning layers relative to the Artboard’s edge

You can precisely position a layer relative to an Artboard’s edge by using operators in the X or Y field. Add a l, r, t, b, or c/m operator in the X or Y fields to position them at the exact number of pixels from the left, right, top, bottom, and center/middle of the Artboard they’re in.

Last updated on 20 May 2022

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