I'm trying to design a settings form for a Desktop Application. There is two groupBoxes in the form. Each groupBox may contains some elements(TextBox, ComboBox , ...). Is it force for good design to align this elements with single alignment ? Or if i don't do that may it break up the rules? Here is the screenshot with alignment:

enter image description here

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    There are common patterns, and a general rule, they say that you should align elements, but if you want a better answer, you should provide a screenshot or mockup of the design you are working on.
    – PatomaS
    Mar 9, 2014 at 10:04
  • I second that. You can read more about form alignment here: lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1502, however, regarding encapsulating some form fields it may depend on some specific case regarding your project. In general I would say it's better to have the same alignment, but sometimes it may lead to non-optimal results. Mar 10, 2014 at 9:12

1 Answer 1


You should be mindful of gestalt principals when grouping or aligning controls.

Gestalt principal of perception states that when looking at a complex visual image, our minds see coherent, whole forms, rather than individually perceiving all of the smaller elements in the image.

For grouping controls, alignment will of course make a form more pleasing to the eye, but take care that you get the spacing right or the user will see "groups" of controls that you did not intend.

enter image description here

The above image illustrates what I mean in relation to your question. In the first example the alignment combined with inadequate spacing forces the user to see the controls from 2 different groups as being a single entity. In the second example all the controls are still aligned, but now the spacing aids the user in seeing them as 2 seperate groups.

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