1. If you are trying to align objects in layout mode, you can use the alignent tools found on the Inspector's position tab to aligh objects, space them evenly and even adjust object height and/or width to match the height/width of the object with the largest/smallest height/width.
2. You can copy and paste the conditional fromat expressions. Or you can select multiple objects and assign the same expression to all the selected objects.
Answering in the same order:
1. Agreed, the problem is how to select the items. Formatting doesn't work correctly when I do a 'lasso selection'; it does when I Shift+individually select all the items I want to re-arrange........but of course this takes longer. I only noticed this since I moved the portals onto a tab.
2. When I highlight conditional formatting lines then try to copy, I get an error 'bong'. How would you do the latter suggestion of selecting multiple objects to assign them the same expression?
A lasso selection should work just fine, but in some cases, it may select more objects than you want to select. In those cases, you can shift click the unwanted object--such as a portal or tab panel that lies behind the objects that you want to align to remove it from the group selection. (I sometimes tab a right arrow key, then a left arrow key to see what objects move to double check to see what I have selected.
I indicated that you can copy and paste the expression--the boolean expression that determines whether or not to apply the formatting. You right click the item, select conditional formatting and then you can select and copy the calculation expression so that you can then close the dialogs, right click a different object, open conditional formatting, start a new conditional format and paste the expression. This only duplicates the expression, you still have to specify the formatting to apply manually.
1. I've done the lasso of fields in layout mode the tried to align them at the top of the portal, but instead they align at the top of the tab. NB. I've 'locked' both portal and tab otherwise click+drag moves them. I don't remember fields moving outside the portal during alignment prior to be putting the portals on a tab.
2. Quite time-consuming then!
1) That's because your lasso has also selected the background object and then your objects align to that locked background object. That's why I indicated that you needed to shift click the background object to deselect it.
You can also hold down the ctrl key while dragging to to a "filemaker 11" type lasso selection that will only select objects completely surrounded by the selection box. That should enable you to select multiple objects while not selecting the portal and/or tab control in the background.
2) True, but it still saves time over specfying the conditional format from scratch. For most conditional formatting options, it can go pretty fast actually. But don't forget the alternative that I described: Select all your objects then open conditional formatting and specify a single conditional format. This is then applied to all the selected objects in one go.
Apologies, I missed the subtleties in both your points; they would improve efficiency!