Adobe Illustrator – Align to Artboard

Is there a way to align elements on the artboard in Adobe Illustrator, such as centering a group of objects into the direct center of the artboard?

I had originally posted this question on Photoshop Techniques, and found out a few workaround methods for doing this, but it seemed like there would be an easier way to do this, as it’s very simple to do in Photoshop (Select the layer or group of layers, and the background, and click “center”).

Purely by accident, I found out how to do this while working on a customer project at work. I was trying to align two objects along their left margin, and it kept pushing them to the left side of the document at the same time. I messed around with it, and it was actually aligning it to the artboard. It turns out, there’s a simple option, if you pull up the Align pallette. Click the flyout arrow on the Align pallette, and you’ll see an option for “Align to Artboard”.

Align to Artboard

This may have been something that was well-known, but I wasn’t aware of it, so I hope this can help someone else out there!

55 Responses to “Adobe Illustrator – Align to Artboard”

  1. April 17, 2007 at 7:01 PM

    Great tip for the beginners. I’ve been using this one too.

  2. February 5, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Another technique I found that works is to manually center the object using the positioning slots in the top menubar. If your art board is 8 1/2 x 11 then highlight the object or group and then insert the values manually — 4.25 x, 5.5 y, pretty simple. This works nice if you want to have an object the same size as the artboard and are having trouble lining it up exactly or its off by a few hundredths. There is probably a better way to do all this I realize but this is what I’ve been doing and it seems to work.

  3. April 17, 2008 at 11:54 PM

    It took me a while to figure out that you actually have to click the little art board icon next to the arrow. Thanks for the tip though.

  4. 5 Dave
    July 7, 2008 at 6:29 AM

    Wow! Thank you Mark Oates!!! You just stopped the screaming……..

  5. 6 Henok
    July 22, 2008 at 2:56 AM

    Ya I have read your comments.

    But I have one more question. If you draw two rectangles (one big and one small) and if you want to align the small rectangle inside the big one i.e when you click align left it will align the small box inside the big withouth changing the postion of the big one. And also if you click align right it works too without changing the big rectangle postion. But when you click align center, it will change the postion of the big box rather than aligning it inside the big box.

    So is there any way to align center (vertically or horizontally) the small box inside the big one with out changing the postion of the big one.

    Thank you in advance

  6. 7 Kevin
    July 22, 2008 at 6:47 AM


    First, disable “Align to Artboard”. Then select the two rectangles, and align their centers. That should work for you!

  7. October 26, 2008 at 3:43 AM

    Man, I spent the whole night trying to get this. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. November 30, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    Thaxs man, that was very useful.

  9. 10 tillamook
    February 12, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    Thank you!

  10. 11 Chris
    March 4, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    Thanks for blogging this tip. Blasted hidden features.

  11. April 24, 2009 at 12:03 AM

    wow, thank you for this quick tip! i was looking how to do it for a long time, coz i’m used to work with macromedia freehand where there is a visible option on how to align an element to the center of the page.

    thanks, kevin! :)

  12. May 26, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    GREAT TIP!!! Saved me a lot of time.

  13. 14 Jo
    June 10, 2009 at 6:32 AM

    Thank you! I’m still making the painful transition from Freehand to Illustrator and this helped a stack!!

  14. 15 twirl29
    August 28, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Mine still doesn’t work. I click on the textbox, click on the artboard down arrow, click on align to artboard, and then click on the align to artboard icon. but nothing happens.


    • 16 Kevin
      August 28, 2009 at 9:11 AM


      Are you clicking on the intended alignment button after you click the align to artboard button? Clicking the Align to Artboard button simply changes the reference point, so after you click it, click one of the buttons (such as left lalign, center, right align, distribute, etc.)

  15. 17 illustrated
    September 8, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    thank you for this!!! I have been using illustrator for a while and still seemed to overlook this feature somehow. I was making a box equal to the artboard size and lining guides up to the center of the box for center reference. I also found the nudge adjustment trick today as well. Always learning I guess

  16. September 29, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    AWESOME! I’ve always been frustrated w/ this (I don’t use illustrator that often) – i don’t even know how to do it in photoshop. THIS IS AWESOME! TAHNK YOU!

  17. December 3, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Thanks for the tip! Finding the answer to my alignment problem here was much faster than with Illustrator’s help file.

  18. 20 anthony
    June 25, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    great! never knew abt this stuff. Thanks a lot ………………

  19. 21 ryan
    July 5, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    Mine doesn’t seem to work, I’m trying to align a rectangle the same size as the artboard(in cs3) when I click the icons on the align panel nothing happens, I’ve made sure the rectangle’s selected, the artboard option’s selected and the reference point’s centered under the transform tab…what else can I try???

  20. January 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Thanks a lot,

    It changed my life!

  21. 23 Tim
    February 1, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    Exactly what I was looking for at 11:30 last night. Thank you.

  22. 24 ric
    April 10, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    i love you man!
    your my savior!

  23. 25 ajith.m
    July 26, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    thanks man

  24. 26 Joanna Heath
    January 4, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Just need to reiterate, you have to click the little artboard picture, I have been weeks trying to figure this out!

  25. 27 mohammed
    June 13, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Thank u,,,,so much

    • 28 purunjay
      October 30, 2012 at 5:33 AM

      @ Henok Dear when you click align center on short box , it will change the postion of the Big box too rather than aligning it centre inside the big box, There is a solution for it. firstly selct both box by hold shift key, both boxes were selected and after that leave the shift key and simply click on the big box and press centre align command. the short box comes in centre of big one .

  26. March 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM

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  27. March 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    This is the million dollar question for me. It seems impossible. I have an arrangement of rectangles and they are randomly arranged, but I like the distance and location of all of them. I just want to center ONE of the rectangles with the artboard while preserving the relationship of the other rectangles. This seems like a really simple idea, I just can’t figure it out. Anyone have an idea?

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  30. August 15, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Great guide!, I am a corel draw user, and now still learning adobe illustrator, your guide helps me. Thank you very much

  31. 35 neoqueto
    November 4, 2013 at 4:01 PM


    Bless you, Sir. It’s sometimes crucial to do certain things with just one click, rather than getting the dimensions of the artboard, pasting them into the X and Y position edit boxes for an object and dividing each by 2. Once again – bless you.

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