August 4, 2006

ASK MORDY: Origin Point Nirvana

Today's question comes in from Lupe Barba:

I am a product designer who uses Illustrator every day. I prefer to use the transform palette to lay out all my objects. I was just wondering if there is a way to position your rulers origin points (0,0) on a certain spot on the art board other than dragging the origin to that spot. I prefer to have my origin fall on the top left corner of the board or in the exact center giving me 4 quadrants. Thanks for your help and I love the blog.

First, thanks so much for those kind words.

Second, InDesign's guides are totally cool because you CAN position them numerically. Upon selecting a guide, you can punch in an X or a Y coordinate in the Control Palette. But alas, Illustrator has no such capability. The 0,0 point (also referred to as the Ruler Origin Point) is not something that can be placed numerically in either program. But I will tell you that it's quite easy to turn objects into Guides in Illustrator.

So by now, I'm SURE you're totally confused as to what I've said. You're surely thinking, "Mordy didn't understand the question"... and while it's true that I don't understand many things, let me tell you where I'm going with this.

You can't position the ruler origin point numerically, but the wonderful people at Adobe made the ruler origin point snap to guides. When you want to align the origin point to the top left corner, you'll notice that when you click and drag the origin point there, it will snap to the corner. Want to align it to the center of your page?

1. Open the Align palette and from the Align palette flyout menu, choose Align to Artboard.

2. Draw any size rectangle.

3. In the Align palette, click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.

4. Press Command-5 (Ctrl-5 on Windows). This turns the rectangle into a guide.

5. Drag the ruler origin point so that it snaps to the center point of the rectangle/guide.

In reality, you don't even need to turn the rectangle into a guide -- the ruler origin point will snap to any selected anchor point (just as any object would). While it isn't exactly what you're looking for, hopefully this will help.

3 comments:

Lupe said...

Thanks for the prompt response. I was hoping to hear some new keyboard shortcut trick or a ctrl + alt + shift + click while standing on one leg and saying "abra cadabra". Unfortunatly what you described is what I have been doing already. I am just a precision freak and figured there might be a better way to get my origin even more precise. Thanks for the help.

Mordy Golding said...

Well, if all you're doing is aligning the origin point in the center of the page, or in the upper left, you can create two Illustrator template files. That might help.

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