Getting To Know Photoshop: Quick Guide To Alignment Options

Ever wondered how to center a layer in your document or even within a selected area of your document? Some of you may not know but photoshop has its own “Alignment Options Bar”. In this quick and easy guide I’ll be running you through the basics.

In Blog, Getting To Know Photoshop

Where To Find The Alignment Options Bar

The “Alignment Options Bar” is displayed when the “Move Tool” (V) is selected or in conjunction with “Paths” and “Vector Shapes”.

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Putting Alignment Options To The Test

Create a new document any size then turn on the rulers in photoshop by going to “View > Rulers” (Ctrl + R).

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Position the mouse cursor over one of the rulers then drag whilst holding down the left mouse button towards the center of the canvas, when you get near the center of the document the guide should snap into place. If the guide doesn’t snap into place make sure snap is turned on “View > Snap” (Shift + Ctrl + ;). Repeat the same steps for the second guide only this drag the guide from the opposite ruler.

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Select the “Rounded Rectangle Tool” (U) and drag out onto the canvas a small rectangle. Select the “Move Tool” (V) then drag the shape into the middle of the canvas. The shape should snap into the middle of the guides.

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

If you would like to center layers without using guides then this is possible. First you have link the shape the background layer. Simply highlight the two layers then click the chain icon.

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Now select the background layer then the “Move Tool” (V), to center the shape simply press “Align Vertical Centers” then “Align Horizontal Centers”. Try pressing other buttons on the alignment options bar to get a feel for how it works.

Centering Objects Without Linking Layers

There is another method of centering objects within your document, this method doesn’t involve linking the two layers together. Simply select the shape layer then select the whole canvas by pressing “Ctrl + A”, select the “Move Tool” (V) then press the “Align Vertical Centers” button and the “Align Horizontal Centers” button. Magic! the shape is centered again.

Combining Selections With Alignment Options

Move (V) the shape from the center of the canvas then select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” (M), drag a selection around one of the four boxes, the selection should snap into place.

Photoshop Basics: Aligment Options Bar

Select the shape layer with the “Move Tool” (V), then from within the “Alignment Options Bar” experiment with the buttons and watch the shape dance around selection. With more than one shape you can accurately position each shape with no hassle at all.

Conclusion

That’s the basics of the “Alignment Options Bar” if you found it useful then please leave a comment below. Thank You

  1. Blake
    August 4, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    There is some useful info here I didn’t know about. The problem I have with the alignment in Photoshop is that I can’t figure out how to specify which layer remains in place while the others align to it. Sometimes it seems to randomly pick which layer the others align to, and other times it moves all the layers and none remain in place. Can you offer any advice on this?

  2. Evon
    August 6, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    Thanks..It was helpful

  3. August 8, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    Useful tutorial! Thanks for share.

  4. August 8, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Thanks for your comments much appreciated. I think the these small toolsets in photoshop are often overlooked

  5. chotu
    August 17, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    good….than Q

  6. September 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Very useful tool…. Thanks

  7. LUCIA
    October 1, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    BOM ,ESTAVA MESMO PRECISANDO SABER SOBRE COMO ALINHAR AS CAMADAS FOI MUITO UTIL,QERO CONTINUAR APRENDENDO .

  8. parimal
    January 6, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    It is very useful and learnt a lot about allignment. thank u

  9. Dimension-X
    June 28, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Great, thank you. I found out you can even draw a random lasso selection and align objects to that selection.
    Yet, as BLAKE wrote above, I have the same problem. “The problem I have with the alignment in Photoshop is that I can’t figure out how to specify which layer remains in place while the others align to it. Sometimes it seems to randomly pick which layer the others align to, and other times it moves all the layers and none remain in place.”

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