How To Array In Illustrator

Making an array is among the many features of Illustrator. It can be used to transform and duplicate objects and shapes. So, how can you array in Illustrator?

Depending on the type of array you want to make, Illustrator has different ways to array an object. The keyboard shortcut and the transform effect are two main ways to array. A circular array can also be created, depending on your use.

Keep on reading to learn how to make arrays in Illustrator!

Using the Keyboard Shortcut to Array

This is the simplest method for making an array in Illustrator. Depending on whether you are creating a linear or radial array, you might need to utilize other tools in addition to the keyboard shortcut. For this technique, use the instructions below:

1. Select the object, hold the ‘option’ key, and drag it to the right.

2. If you want the object to fall in line with the row, hold down the shift key while you drag.

3. Next, press ‘command’ and ‘D’ simultaneously to automatically create a copy of the object. It will be transformed based on the last action you made.

4. Keep repeating the shortcut if you want to make more copies of the object.

However, the transform effect may be more useful if you want to add more rules on how the object should array. 

Using the Transform Effect to Array

This method is convenient if you already have some values to input. These values may include the number of copies or the distance between the arrayed objects. To use this method, follow the steps below:

1. Select the object and go to the overhead menu. Select ‘effect,’ ‘distort and transform,’ and ‘transform.’

2. Make changes to the settings on the transform effect window. Make sure to input the number of copies you want to create.

3. Click on ‘preview’ to see how the object will look after its transformation.

4. To construct an array with fading effects, click ‘ok’ afterward. If you make any changes to the original object, the array effect applies them to subsequent copies.

Keep on reading to learn how to create a radical or circular array. 

How to Make a Circular Array on Illustrator

Keeping the idea of making objects array around in a polar grid, the ‘polar grid tool’ can be used to make a circular array. 

You can use this video as a visual guide for the steps described below:

Continue following these steps to make a circular array:

1. Select the ‘polar grid tool’ from the same advanced toolbar.

2. Holding the shift key, click and draw on the artboard to make a polar grid. Here, the grid lines are only being used as a guide.

3. Next, move your object on the grid in the desired shape, such as a circle.

4. Select the object and choose the ‘rotate tool’ from the keyboard shortcut ‘R.’ you will see the light blue point on the object, which is the rotation center point.

5. Holding down the “option” key while clicking left or right will duplicate the item. Change the rotation point to the center of the polar grid.

6. Continue pressing ‘command’ and ‘D’ to complete the circular array and delete the polar grid.


In Illustrator, an array can be created using several features. Although the keyboard shortcut is easiest and least time-consuming, you may use the transform effect or the circular array method depending on your use.