9 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2012 8:41 PM by jgalt

    Layout alignment tool for shared field edges




      Is there a layout alignment tool (in FM Pro) that would put two selected fields next to each other sharing the common side?


      What methods do you use to quickly align a row of fields so that they don't leave any gaps between the fields?



        • 1. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges
          Stephen Huston

          This is a feature of the Position Tab of the layout Inspector panel.


          While in layout mode, go to the View pull-down menu and select Inspector. When you have selected 2 or more layout objects, the alignment options become active allowing you to allign on any edge, center them vertically or horizontally, or distribute them evenly across the space between them (3 or more objects).


          I leave the Inspector panel open in layout mode all the time for instant access to these features.

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          • 2. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

            Thank you for your response.

            I use the Inspector panel all the time, but the alignment options don't allow for butting two fields side by side, thus sharing the connecting (middle) border.   I like to have a clean edge always without overlapping or creating a thick line because one field is 1 pixel off to the right or below.


            I have used the T-squares, but it too takes precision handling. 


            I would like an alignment button that takes two layout objects and matches them along the shared edge.  


            Similar to the match narrow, longer, taller, shorter buttons, I am envisioning a button that will either move the object to OR elongate/shorten the object lengths toward the center matching line.


            Has anyone explored this handy alignment option?  What say ye?


            Matthew (NYC)

            Using FM Pro 11

            • 3. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges
              Stephen Huston

              I use the numeric position section for placing left edge against preceding field's right edge. YOU can select the left object, read its right position, select the object to the left of it, and enter that same number as it's left postion.


              Not an alignment button, but pretty quick for as seldom as I have needed that option. YMMV (Your mileage may vary), especially if you need this type of alignment repeatedly and frequently.

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              • 4. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges



                I was about to reply that the new Dynamic Guides (FM12) allow (among other things) objects to snap together.  It certainly seems like when you bring two fields next to one another that a smart guide appears indicating they have snapped together along their shared border.  A quick test, however, seems to show this not yielding the expected result:



                It seems that snapping to a common border forces a slight (1 px) gap between the two.  To truly share the border, the lower field would have to be 2 px/pt higher than the position into which it snapped here.


                (Counterintuitively!) this may be another of those things that is contolled by the theme's underlying css specification, as a different theme produces a different result in my quick-and-dirty testing. Here, for example, is the same test done in a different theme ("Dark," vs. "Black" for above example):



                No gap this time, but still a 1 px difference in border positions, thus the "thick line" appearance you're trying to avoid.


                So, dynamic guides (useful though those are) would not seem to be the immediate answer.




                (Edit:  Oops, my screen grabs didn't post.  Well, you get the gist.  I'll investigate image-embedding requirements of the forum when I have time.  The images pasted in just fine when I composed the message, but obviously the format was wrong.  Meanwhile, imagination is required!)

                • 5. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

                  Is there a way to space fields evenly.  Like a a snap feature?



                  • 6. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

                    The answer to the "space fields evenly" is yes.   In the Inspector (FM 11) at the bottom of the Position tab there is the align SPACE tool on the far right.  



                    • 7. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

                      I mean 12



                      • 8. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

                        Yes, Oreste.  The new dynamic guides can snap objects into a spacing based on a consistent amount of space between several adjacent objects.  If you've ever used, say, OmniGraffle, then you can probably picture how this works.  I think I remember this feature working similarly in Numbers, but am not 100% positive about that.  (In this way, FM's dynamic guides are a bit different from Illustrator's smart guides.)


                        It can be a bit wonky, as the dynamic guides look all over your layout for various things to snap or align to, as you drag an object around, the result being that it can take a bit of patience to get something to snap just to one particular object or alignment.  On the whole, however, they work well and provide a nice new tool for designing layouts.


                        Just don't dare turn dynamic guides and snap-to-grid on at the same time, as you'll be snapping to just about every pixel on the screen!



                        • 9. Re: Layout alignment tool for shared field edges

                          No, there is no feature can do this. As you have found, FM12 will let you snap two fields together but since the "line/stroke" is on the inside of the field you end up with double thick lines wherever they touch. The only good solution that I have found is turning off the line on one of the fields where the sides are  touching. At first I was just moving the field over with the arrow key but this is not a good option becuase if you decide to change the width of your stroke you must repostion all of your fields...which is a bit of a pain.