Illustrator 01 – Ultimate shortcut for exact positioning


Ultimate shortcut for exact positioning in Adobe Illustrator

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of tutorials. When I think of something that I think will help other designers out, or something that I find useful or important in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, SolidWorks or Keyshot – I’ll get them uploaded.

This first post is for positioning objects EXACTLY where you want them in Illustrator, FAST. I find this method below to be much quicker and more reliable than using Guides – and I only really tend to use Guides for highly complex layouts with many objects. Have a go yourself and let me know if you find it useful too.


  1. Select your object.
  2. Press Ctrl+K to open the Preferences window.
  3. In the Keyboard Increment box, enter the dimension you would like to move your object by.
  4. Press OK, or hit Enter.
  5. Now use your Arrow Keys to move your object EXACTLY by the increment you specified.


There it is. It’s incredibly fast and I use it all the time. I was taught this many years ago when I worked with theSource – a consultancy in the North of England specialised in developing kitchenware products and packaging solutions. Little did I know that one of my future roles would involve a hell of a lot of Illustrator work, drawing up specs for backpack designs and other outdoor products. Had I not learnt this I think I’d have wasted time setting up Guides without really needing them.

Let us know how you get on.


2 thoughts on “Illustrator 01 – Ultimate shortcut for exact positioning”

  1. Roberto Kodi Uchida
     ·  Reply

    This is so simple, yet would make it so much faster! I frequently find myself confused with many guides that are there but I used only once, in the end I end up hiding them.
    I’ll be looking forward to seeing other tips. Thank you!

  2. Nick Chubb
     ·  Reply

    Hi Roberto, thanks for the comment. I appreciate that. I’ll be uploading other tips and tutorials soon. Is there anything in particular you’d be keen to hear about?

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