Align Items in Layouts

This example presents a quick sequence of alignment commands that are used to align text in a print layout using tools on the Alignment toolbar. The print layout contains a map of Europe and four text boxes that are arranged in the four corners of the layout. The task is to move the texts so they neatly line up with each other.


Before we begin aligning elements, let's change the selection style so that selected items are shown with a red border only and not with the default, filled-in red dot pattern used for selections.




Click open the Selection Style menu.




Choose Border.


Step 1: Select and align leftmost text


We'll begin by aligning the lower left text so that it is even with the upper left text.




Click on the lower left text to select it.




CTRL-ALT click on the upper left text to select it for editing. Selecting another item for editing using CTRL-ALT click will not deselect the lower left text. When an item is selected for editing, it becomes the primary selected item.




images\btn_align_left.gif Press the Align Left button on the Alignment toolbar to move the lower text box to the left to align to the primary selected text box. The text will move to the left.


Step 2: Select and align upper text.




Next we will move the upper right text up to align with the "Europe" text in the upper left. We begin by SHIFT clicking on the upper right text. This will select it without deselecting any other items.




We then CTRL click on the lower left text to deselect it. A CTRL click toggles back and forth between selected and unselected without affecting other items.




We now have only two items selected, with the upper left text being the primary selected item.


images\btn_align_top.gif Press the Align Top alignment button to move the upper right text upward so it is even with the primary selected item, the "Europe" text in the upper left.


Step 3: Select and align rightmost text.


We will now align the two rightmost texts using a similar procedure.




CTRL-ALT click on the lower right text to make it the primary selected object.




CTRL-click on the upper right text to deselect it. Both texts on the right are now selected with the lower right text being selected as the primary selected object. We will move the upper text to the right to align with the lower text.




images\btn_align_right.gif Push the Align Right button to move the upper text box to the right to align with the primary selected text in the lower right.


Step 4: Select and align lower text.


The final step in this example sequence will be to align the lower texts. We will move the rightmost text down in alignment with the lower left text.




We CTRL-ALT click the lower left text to select it as the primary selected object and then we CTRL click on the upper right text to deselect it. We now have the lower left text as the primary selected item and only one other item selected, the text box that is to be moved down.




images\btn_align_bottom.gif Press Align Bottom to move the text on the right down so that it is aligned to the lower edge of the text box at lower left.




The result is a symmetric layout with evenly aligned text.


Text Box Formatting and Alignment


The procedure above neglected to mention an important point in order to show a simple example of how to use the alignment tools. Because text boxes can be drawn much larger than the text they contain it is important to align the text within the text box using the Format Toolbar controls in a way that anticipates how the alignment commands will be used.


The alignment tools in the Alignment toolbar will align the edges of the text boxes. If we want two texts to be left-aligned to a common vertical margin, we should not only align the text boxes but we should also use the Format toolbar to left align the text within those boxes. This can be done either before or after the above procedure.




For example, if we look at the label in the lower left corner, the default format setting is that the text is centered within the text box. This leaves some space between the left edge of the text box and the beginning of the actual text. If we used the Align Left command with this text box to align it to the left edge of another text box, the text boxes will be aligned but the text within this text box will appear slightly indented due to the space between the left edge of the box and the beginning of the actual text.


We can remedy that by CTRL-ALT clicking on the text box to select it for editing and then using the Format toolbar to left align the text within the box.




In the Format Toolbar we can click Align Left to left align the text within the text box.




We can also click Align Bottom to align the text to the bottom of the text box, a good idea when aligning single lines of text so that they all share the same base line for the characters.




The left alignment is visible, but the bottom alignment is not because the text box is very small compared to the size of the text within it.




Likewise, the texts that are to be aligned on the right side of the layout should be right aligned within their text boxes. We can do this by CTRL-ALT clicking each one to select it for editing.




Each will have the default formatting of being centered within the text box.




We can click Align Bottom to bottom align them and then click Align Right to right align them within the text box.




If the labels on the right are aligned to the right within their text boxes, when the text boxes are aligned to a common margin on the right side the texts will also be aligned to that margin.


See Also


Alignment Toolbar

Format Toolbar