Please Please PLEASE Improve the Alignment Tools

The available alignment options are SUPER limited for a vector app. Other vector apps allow for alignment to a reference point such as “to the last item selected,” or “the first item selected,” or to the canvas itself.

When I select multiple shapes or curves or what have you, I DON’T want both things to move when I align to the center. I would ideally want one to stay in place and move the other item to it. You should be able to say “align all of these to have the same center line of this one other specific selection.”

Another alignment option that’d be helpful would be the concept of “mating” selected items, wherein you could align a selected item to have its rightmost side be to the left of a different selection’s leftmost side. Like wise for left-to-right, or above and below.

Other software allows this basic functionality and honestly it keeps driving me away from Vectornator and back to them. But I check back here periodically, and it still isn’t there. And I would love to love Vectornator, but the lack of alignment renders what I specifically makes highly difficult to accomplish here.

For your first alignment suggestion, I agree it would be helpful. I have tested in Affinity Designer, and the behavior is the same as in Vectornator. What might be useful is to introduce the idea of an “anchor” item when aligning multiple items. For example, I could imagine option-clicking (on Mac) or long pressing (on iOS) the alignment icon (e.g. aligning items on vertical center) to allow additionally selecting the “anchor” item to align to.

Your second suggestion is less convincing for me. It sounds like distribution or something that can be achieved by enabling “snap to edges” and moving the items into position?

First off, thanks for the reply.

Second, in Affinity, if you use the alignment tool buttons that appear when selecting shapes then yes, it will behave like vectornator. HOWEVER, affinity also has an ever present alignment drop down menu above that, to the right of the snapping magnet on my screen, wherein you can also choose alignment with reference to “first selected, last selected” etc. And THAT is what I’m referring to. Note this menu will not change the behavior of the other default shape buttons, which is something I’ve long wanted to message Affinity about as well, funnily enough.

As for the second, yes snapping is my vectornator work around. BUT, when selecting a hundred little disparate items and wanting them to sit to the left of something, enabling snapping and dragging them all is tedious, rather than a button click.

And also, Inkscape has all of this functionality for you to test in one place: Selection references, mating, all of it.

Not sure whether Affinity has mating, for you to test against. But in my defense, I don’t do the sort of projects where I use mating in in Affinity.

Ah yes. I see the alignment tool in Affinity, but I think what I was suggesting is more flexible beyond “first” and “last”, i.e. to be able to select any “anchor” item. It’s also less clicks. But it’s just an idea.

I’m also not refuting it your idea.

I would however posit two counterpoints:

  1. as addressed above, two other software options offer drop downs. Not that at any moment in my life would I suggest conformity over individuality. Just user comfort in adoption of a UI.

  2. iOS users sans keyboards might prefer a dropdown option.

But most importantly: why not both? Make a keyboard shortcut to select an anchor, as well as a dropdown to select the default when the keyboard shortcut is not invoked?