Using Publisher’s alignment tools for pixel-perfect document layout

By January 25, 2016 May 29th, 2018 Business Productivity, Tech Tip

In order to achieve a polished, professional look in Microsoft Publisher, sometimes you need tools that will help you line up and arrange items quickly and crisply. In this tech tip, we’ll show you how to get this done in Publisher.

We’ll start with this layout: onto our page we’ve thrown three images and three text boxes which will be image captions.

We’ve inserted these items quickly, and now we want to efficiently and precisely line them up. We want each caption to be directly under its relevant image. We want the tops of the images to be level with each other, and the tops of the text boxes level on the “row” beneath.

To do this, we’re going to use Publisher’s Align and Group tools on the Ribbon!

Note: Like many of the Ribbon options, the Align and Group tools  can be used in other Microsoft Office program, such as Microsoft Word. You can use these instructions to figure out how to select, align, and group images, text boxes, and more in Microsoft Office programs that allow you to insert these objects.

  1. First, select all the images. Click on the first image to select it. Then, hold down the Ctrl key. A “+” symbol should appear next to your cursor. While holding down Ctrl, click on the other two images.
  2. Now that all three images are selected, go to Picture Tools on the Ribbon and find Align in the Arrange group.
  3. Select the drop-down arrow next to Align, and choose Align Top.
  4. Repeat the previous step, but this time choose Distribute Horizontally.Distribute Horizontally will divide up the extra space in between each item and make them evenly spaced. It will not move the farthest left or right items, so it’s best to place these two at the points where you want them to be.
  5. While your images are still selected, click on Group on the Ribbon.

    Now the images are lined up perfectly in a couple of seconds!

  6. Notice that our farthest left and right text boxes are not at their correct locations, so Distribute horizontally isn’t going to move them into the right place.We’ll manually move them over to the edges of the page, like the farthest left and right images are, and let Publisher tell us when they line up.

    When the text box’s left edge hits the left margin, Publisher will highlight it in blue. Red lines show that this text box’s top and bottom are already lined up with the farthest right text box!

  7. Then, do the same with the right text box and the right margin.
  8. Now that the left and right text boxes are set, we’ll go back to the Ribbon and use the Align tools once more. Select all three text boxes, and then do Align Bottom, Distribute Horizontally, and Group.
  9. Now that both images and text boxes are grouped, they can be selected and moved up and down without disturbing their alignment and distribution with each other. We’ll move the text boxes upwards so they are closer to their images.

And that is how you can quickly and efficiently tame a mess of unruly objects on a page! Align, distribute, and group them with the tools on the Ribbon, and let Publisher’s automatic guides show you when your objects are snapping into place as you drag them. It’s that easy!


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