Notes Alignment

I believe the two Notes Center Alignment commands (Horizontal and Vertical) are reversed. That is all. Love the product.

I say this because I assume aligning the “Horizontal Center” would mean aligning each item with a center line running horizontally and, therefore, the items would be placed on a centered line running horizontally, i.e. left to right. I’m wondering if you don’t mean you are aligning the horizontal planes, but on a vertical axis; the reverse being true for vertical alignment. Can you tell I’m confused?

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Glad you like the product. These items are labelled correctly, though. The commands are Align > Horizontal Centers, which aligns their centres along the horizontal plane, and Align > Vertical Centers, which aligns the centres along the vertical plane. The horizontal centre of something is the midpoint in the horizontal line through it.

All the best,

I love and use Scapple all the time. Great product.

Here’s the thing though, as a language expert, I’m somewhat conflicted by the choice of terminology for alignment when it comes to grouping notes.

To align a group of notes in the vertical plane, I have to choose ‘align horizontal centers’. And likewise, to align notes in the horizontal plane, I have to choose ‘align vertical centers’. It seems counter-intuitive.

I’m trying to understand how this might work from the developer’s point of view:

  • all notes have a Vector2 for position (x, y)
  • the note centers have different x-values in the ‘horizontal x-axis’
  • all notes are then given the same x-value as the top-most note (note with highest y value)

In other words, I can see there are two camps here about what align vertically might mean.

Option 1
ALIGN VERTICALLY - align top-to-bottom (same x-value)
ALIGN HORIZONTALLY - align left-to-right (same y-value)


Option 2
ALIGN VERTICALLY - modify vertical y-values
ALIGN HORIZONTALLY - modify horizontal x-values

I understand why a developer working with grids would choose the second interpretation, but I would argue that lay-people understand ‘align vertically’ to mean align a group top-to-bottom.

Maybe the issue is about aligning a single object vs aligning multiple objects. Alignment is literally ‘to put in a line’.

For a single object, ‘alignment’ is equivalent to position, so vertical alignment is literally vertical position, or y-value.

But to align multiple objects relative to each other, alignment means to put in a line ‘top to bottom’ (vertical plane) or left-to-right (horizontal plane). Their position is relative to each other, to put them in a line in the y-plane means having a normalized x-value, and vice versa.

It’s perhaps confusing that to align a group vertically, you only have to modify the horizontal x-value.

Anyone else struggling with this? Which would you choose, option 1 or option 2?

For those and other Scapple features, I use Keyboard Maestro to present more logical names (or put features just a mouse click away). The KM palette says vertical for vertical alignment and horizontal for horizontal. I was pulling my hair out without that.

Yes, I too found Scapple’s convention counter-intuitive.

I had to wrap my mind around the approach, which I interpret to be: vertical alignment is when the midpoints of the selected shapes’ horizontal planes align. And yes, it certainly is. That’s a legitimate way of looking at it, and now I’m fine with it.

But if the feature had simply been called ‘Align > Vertical Centers’ - yeah, I would have got it immediately without the gymnastics.


Thanks for the suggestion.

I also notice that when it comes to ‘distribute horizontally’, the terminology then flips again. :smile:

So ‘distribute horizontally’ is to put an equal spacing between items on the horizontal plane.

I have to disagree Keith, both technically and semantically.

To achieve a horizontal plane alignment, objects are moved in the opposite axis plane (i.e. objects are moved in the vertical plane until they are in alignment on the horizontal plane, i.e. until they are on the same line moving left to right).

You have made the error, it would seem, of labelling the movement (in the vertical y-axis) and not the function of that movement (horizontal alignment).

You have confused movement and alignment. You move horizontally to align in the same vertical plane, and you move vertically to align in the same horizontally plane.

A vertical plane alignment is an equal x-axis value for all objects. A horizontal plane alignment is an equal y-axis value for all objects.

I think that rather than call it an alignment (movement) of ‘horizontal centers’, which few people will intuitively understand, you should adopt the terminology of ‘align vertically’, and ‘align horizontally’. I would argue this is would be easier to understand for the majority of people.

Apologies for the edits, but this is a tricky subject to achieve clarity with.

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