Keyboard shortcuts for Align/Distribute commands and 'Align to' modes
I miss having keyboard shortcuts for align/distribute from my CorelDraw days. I'm a pro designer in a fast turnaround environment, and keyboard shortcuts are essential to my workflow.
As far as I know, the numeric keypad isn't being used in Illustrator. My proposal is: Pressing 0 toggles between absolute to the artboard or relative to last item selected. Pressing 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 will perform the align .2 = bottom, 4 = left, 5 = centre, 6 = right, 8 = top. Additionally 7 = distribute horizontal, 9 = distribute vertical.
Also, please copy the CorelDraw keyboard shortcut Tab = select next object/group, Shift Tab select previous object/group
The most recent version finally has the Object > Distribute menu added.
Now both Align and Distribute commands can be accessed via menu and have assigned keyboards shortcuts to them.
The order of the commands though seemingly matches the one the panel has: horizontal first for Align and vertical first for Distribute. If you find this odd and want to change it — vote here: https://illustrator.uservoice.com/forums/333657-illustrator-desktop-feature-requests/suggestions/45855823-sync-the-order-of-align-and-distribute-menu-comman
Also, Align To and Distribute Spacing commands are still missing in top menus, so please keep voting here to make them added too.
There is now a dedicated request to have hotkeys (and menu items) for Distribute Spacing commands: http://illustrator.uservoice.com/forums/601447/suggestions/47529830
Bobby, I think I remember a request to 'treat the first / last selected object as a key object', the same way Corel Draw does...
However, currently I can’t locate it. Would you mind to log it separately? If I find one later, I will merge them.
Please describe the way you think it should work, the way for Preferences and / or Align to handle it, if it should highlight a key (and why not if not), etc.
As for the hotkeys in general — as you say, RLCTBE in Ai do something else and reassigning them hardly worth it...
But there are plenty of requests about hotkey customization in general, including more modifiers and more flexibility. Please upvote them, it helps.
Bobby Henderson commented
One thing I'd really like to see is an option to change how key objects are assigned for object alignment in Illustrator. Currently the user has to select both objects and then click the desired key object again to make it lock in place. Illustrator's default object alignment behavior has all the selected objects moving to a new, unpredictable place when aligned. That is a result I almost never need. I'm almost always having to use extra clicks to keep one object locked in place.
Some other rival applications default to the first or last object selected automatically locking in place for alignment and distribution purposes. Flexi makes the first selected object the key object. CorelDRAW does so with the last selected object. The fewer clicks required combined with the R-L-C-T-B-E keys (add shift for distribution) can allow a user to really fly through certain kinds of drawing tasks.
I've tried on multiple occasions to create a work-able "recipe" of custom keyboard shortcuts in Illustrator to mimic the align hot keys in CorelDRAW, but can't really come up with any more than a partial set. Too many other keys can be over-written. Some combos just don't end up working properly either.
It's really easy in .Ai to set up Keyboard Shortcuts. I'm a Corel user and wanted .Ai to work in a similar way...
Edit - Keyboard Shortcuts - Menu Commands (Drop down) - Object - Align. You can set up whatever Shortcut you like (as long as it's not already being used elsewhere.
For Aligning, I use Ctrl L / Ctrl R / Ctrl T / Ctrl B (Left / Right / Top / Bottom)
I found out that I can assign shortcuts using Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts, however the shortcuts should consist a Ctrl (Cmd) to be validated and no arrow keys are allowed! I also use Adobe XD and they have done a great job on alignment shortcuts and how alignment works itself. It would be amazing to have that implemented in AI as well.
They use following mapping which is very handy:
Align left: Ctrl + Shift + ←
Align Right: Ctrl + Shift + →
Align Top: Ctrl + Shift + ↑
Align Bottom: Ctrl + Shift + ↓
Align Center Horizontally: Shift + C
Align Center Vertically: Shift + M
Distribute Horizontally: Ctrl + Shift + H
Distribute Vertically: Ctrl + Shift + V
oh my YES! PLEASE ADOBE allow us to be able to assign keyboard shortcuts to the object align command. It feels extremely clunky trying to get anything done in Illustrator vs CorelDraw. Having grown up on Adobe I never thought of it. Got a job using Corel for the past 6 years, hardly ever opening .ai and when I need to it's always a pain doing things because I know it can be done so much faster. Came here looking for answers and saddened there is still no fix to this day.
Please make the Illustrator easier like Corel draw. We feel a very disturbance while selecting inside objects from outside. The selection should be free from anywhere with the help of the Alt key like Corel Draw.
Also please make the resizing option flexible so that we can easily resize the background or any object from anywhere like Corel Draw. Your current resizing option is very limited, we can resize the object only from 6 nodes that is also wasting of time work. Thank you so much for your work.
You can align objects this way with a CoolSelection plugin for Illustrator. https://www.cool-selection.com Read the last part of the description.
I already do this with actions mapped to function keys. It works really well! I use sequences of them to push things together, align and distribute. There's no problem getting this to work the way illustrator is now.
The HUGE issue is the shortcut key system (or lack of it) I would like to any key be a shortcut or a more advanced system. I particularly like Cinema 4Ds system of key sequences that fire operations.
Please! Would still love this, it would make workflow much smoother than being forced to click through a drop down menu. Thanks!
Ribeye Design commented
I think the best solution here, that would solve this and many other peoples requests is to make any keys customize as shortcuts for either tools, menu commands or palette commands like pathfinder (without having to include the ctrl/cmd key as you currently require with menu commands.
Robert Barker commented
Yes! Give us our freaking shortcuts! I want to be able to align my object quickly!
Ravi Verma commented
Using Adobe Illustrator is very time consuming in comparison to Corel Draw (a gift for Designers).
The lack of keyboard shortcuts in illustrator make it very time consuming to use. ... each time we have to scroll mouse to some tools or a specific action.
Nitesh Angre commented
You are talking about align shortcuts? I have used coreldraw for just about 4 years now but man, using it is such a bliss. I miss it entirely. Adobe please! the least you could do is study Coreldraw!! seriously.
For the love of Corel, I can not stop myself, sorry!
The biggest difference between Illustrator and corel is customization. CorelDraw shortcuts are fully customizable. You can be Just press Ctrl + Shift + E and you get temporary eyedropper tool which vanishes once used. Adobe has countless tools that we may never use. Corel has added a flat shadow tool! Can you believe that? Its a perfect example of how user convenience is considered first.
Just a few issues like,
1. Corel is missing corner round of any object. Currently it supports interactive rounding of rectangle corners only. Also once object is converted (expanded) it loses this interactivity (not sure if solved, latest version is 2019, I am still on 2018).
2. file corruption is big problem. If software crashes suddenly, there is 30-40% chance, it will be corrupted. Must be ram problem or software itself.
3. It misses some really usefull stuff in Illustrator, like width tool, shape builder etc.
4. Its not as popular as illustrator with my freelancing clients (damn!)
sorry if I stretched this too far, but in terms of productivity, big bro Adobe illustrator could take some tips from little bro. Hah!
So we are able to set hotkeys to align now but the numpad numbers are the same as regular numbers.
Could you differentiate them? I've seen other softwares use 1,2,3 etc. for regular number shortcuts and NUM1, NUM2, NUM3 etc. for numpad shortcuts. If the numpad shortcuts are different, we can set NUM8 to align top, NUM4 to align left, NUM6 to align right, and NUM2 to align bottom for quality of life changes.
Faraz Ahmed commented
I'm using Macromedia Freehand for many years. Although now it is obsolete, but it's old version 10 or MX is still very user friendly. Specially alignment short keys, while there is no button or short cut in Illustrator of horizontally and vertically center together. Further more Clipping Mask is not better than Paste Inside (in Freehand) and any many more things which are not in Illustrator. I think Adobe should seriously think about it.
John Peil commented
You can always just assign a custom shortcut: Edit => Keyboard Shortcuts => Menu Commands => Object => Align => Horizontal Align Center and/or Vertical Align Center which I have mapped to [option+command+F] and [option+command+V] which are easily pressed one after the other to quickly align one object to another object.
Yeah, this should have been done a decade ago. At the very least, put the two options in the main menu with the align options so we can use macro programs to create our own shortcuts.
narayanana Star commented
I am using set a Actions for Alignment shortcuts
PFA Adobe Illustrator Action File & i am using it
it is usefull for me
Load attach file in action if u guys needed
1. Center of center F2
2. Align to artboard Shift+F2
3. Left Align Shift+F3
4. Right Align Shifr+F4
5. Horizontal center F3
6. Vertical center F4
7. Top Align F5
8. Bottom Align F6
Comments if its Helpfull
Ahmed Montaser commented
I agree with Matt Irving actually unifying these across XD/Illustrator/photoshop/indesign would be a great idea