Accurate image alignment is critical in multicolor single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. Global alignment using affine transformations leaves residual errors due to the nonlinearity of the distortions, which decreases the effective field of view. Subsequent local refinement demands either large amounts of reference data and processing time or specialized imaging techniques like active stabilization. Here, we present a global alignment method, S/T polynomial decomposition, that uses sums of Zernike polynomial gradients to decompose the distortion between two images, correcting both linear and nonlinear distortions simultaneously. With minimal reference data, we gain diagnostic information about the distortion and achieve a colocalization accuracy comparable to local registration methods across the entire field of view.