The Missing Alignment Tool For Photoshop

As of version 2015, Photoshop still doesn't have a proper space distribution alignment tool.

While not perfect, Photoshop is still the software of choice for most designers, and as Adobe keep updating it with ridiculously smart, albeit mostly superfluous tools, there are a number of core functionalities that are curiously withheld. One such tool is the ability to select and distribute spacing between multiple layers.

Both InDesign and Illustrator have this feature, and even software like Sketch has it, so I’ve always wondered why Photoshop doesn’t. Okay, so you have the ability to distribute horizontally and vertically by each element’s center point or edge, but not by spacing between the elements. Unless the width or height of the elements you’re aligning are the same, the distribute-by-center (or edge) tool becomes redundant.

Why distribute space between layers?

Distributing space between layers is very useful when you have unevenly sized elements. For web design it can be useful in complex layouts where you want to arrange layers as quickly as possible, especially for places where the grid doesn’t apply — such as in the vertical realm.

Solutions

Thankfully, there are a couple of scripts developed by Trevor Morris that will do the job, which you can download here. I actually have two versions of the script; because while the latest version is able to align all layers inside and outside a group, an earlier version is able to align groups as a whole. Alternatively, there’s also a HTML extension panel by Chuck Uebele called Space Equal.

Maybe one day Adobe will bake this useful alignment feature into Photoshop, but for now I shall be hanging on to these scripts!

By Christian Miller  |  Follow me on Twitter