Aligning Annotations

Aligning Annotations There are many times that you will need to fill out a form in PDF format. For example, if you are a freelance contractor in the United States, you'll often fill out a W-9 form. A client may ask for this form, which is a request for your taxpayer identification information.

You can fill out these PDF documents using the Text tool. For most of these forms, you will use a text tool with a transparent background and without a border. While you can add these text boxes manually and try to align them, it is difficult to get them arranged neatly, and the outcome will look unprofessional. Using the alignment tools make it easy to get your entries aligned perfectly.

Enter your information

First, enter your information by creating multiple text boxes using the text tool. Don't worry about getting the text boxes aligned. Just click on the document and add your text. When you are finished, choose the Select tool.

Choose the Select tool

Then, move one text box to the location where you want the text boxes to align. For example, when filling out a form you may want all of the entries to align to the left of the page.

Select text boxes and align them

Select annotations to align

The alignment tools will only be active when two or more annotations have been selected. They will be greyed out otherwise and will be unavailable.

Using the Select tool, select all of the text boxes that you want aligned. You can select them all by placing the selection arrow at one corner and then pull it down diagonally across the text boxes until all of them are selected. Or you can do this by using the Lasso tool to "draw" a circle around all of the text boxes. The boxes are now temporarily grouped to a selection.

The previously greyed out alignment buttons will now be activated on the tool bar. Click on the left side alignment tool and the text for all of the text boxes will be aligned to the left.

Left aligned annotations

Additional selection and alignment tips

If you do not want all of the text boxes to align together, you can choose only the boxes you do. To do this, hold down on the CTRL key and then click on each box you want to align. One click will include an annotation into the selection, clicking it again will exclude it.

This allows you to work with forms that have multiple text entries on a single line that you do not want to be aligned to the left. This could cause them to layer on top of each other. If that happens, just use the Undo arrow to move the items back to their original position.

Here is a list of all of the alignment possibilities available:

Left align Align current selection on the left side (it will choose the leftmost annotation)
Center horizontally Center horizontally
Right align Align on the right side (it will choose the rightmost annotation)
Equally space horizontally Space selected annotations equally horizontally (uses the leftmost an rightmost annotations for anchor points and adjusts the inner annotations equally from them)
Top align Align on the top side(it will choose the topmost annotation)
Center vertically Center vertically
Bottom align Align on bottom side(it will choose the bottommost annotation)
Equally space vertically Space selected annotations equally vertically (uses the top and bottom annotations for anchor points and adjusts the inner annotations equally from them)

In this example, we have aligned some text boxes on the left, then spaced them equally, vertically:
Left align and equally space vertically

The alignment feature works for more than just filling out text boxes on forms. You can also use it for other annotations, such as stamps.

Group and Lock

If you group several annotations, they will be treated as though they were one selection. This allows you to align several different groups of annotations separately, and then align the grouped selections.

Remember that locking an annotation or group of annotations keeps them from moving on the document. If you have an annotation where you want it, lock it in place to keep it from being affected by further alignment procedures. They can be unlocked later if you desire.