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Using the Alignment Panel

The 'Alignment' panel provides a series of tools that can be used to refine the positions of the diagram's elements relative to each other. Groups of elements can be selected and their edges aligned or their centers aligned vertically or horizontally. An element's position in the visual stack can be altered by moving them forward or backwards, and you can display a convenient grid that can be configured so that elements and connectors 'snap' into position on the grid.

Available Facilities

Most of the options on this panel become available when you select two or more elements together (press Ctrl or Shift as you click on the elements). Usually, the last-selected element is the reference element against which the others align; this element is indicated by a hatched border.

Facility

Description

See also

Make Same Height

Click on this icon to make all selected elements the same height as the reference element.

Make Same Width

Click on this icon to make all selected elements the same width as the reference element.

Make Same Size

Click on this icon to make all selected elements the same height and width as the reference element.

Align Vertically

Click on this icon to align the centers of all selected elements vertically with the center of the reference element.

Align Horizontally

Click on this icon to align the centers of all selected elements horizontally with the center of the reference element.

Bring to Top

Move the selected elements to the top of the diagram relative to other elements (the top of the Z-Order).

Z Order Elements

Send to Back

Move the selected elements to the back of the diagram relative to other elements (the bottom of the Z-Order).

Align Left

Click on this icon to align the left edges of all selected elements vertically with the left edge of the reference element.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow

Align Right

Click on this icon to align the right edges of all selected elements vertically with the right edge of the reference element.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow

Align Tops

Click on this icon to align the top edges of all selected elements horizontally with the top edge of the reference element.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow

Align Bottoms

Click on this icon to align the bottom edges of all selected elements horizontally with the bottom edge of the reference element.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow

Space Horizontally

Click on this icon to evenly separate the selected elements by the same amount horizontally.

Space Vertically

Click on this icon to evenly separate the selected elements by the same amount vertically.

Snap to Grid

Click on this icon to display a short menu of options for applying a grid to help you position elements on each diagram you review. If all of the options are deselected, you can move and resize elements freely.

  • Standard Grid - make elements 'snap' to the nearest grid point when you move or resizing them
  • Smart Placement - place elements even distances away from other elements and space elements evenly; for Sequence diagrams, this helps position Notes on Messages
  • Show Grid - display the grid on the diagram as pale gray dots against the diagram background

Learn more