Rulers, Grids & Guides  E-mail
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Written by Craig Watkins   

These tools will help you with your precision in the program for actual and visual alignments. They are also helpful for “layout” from a design perspective.

To display your rulers select VIEW>SHOW RULERS from your menu bar. The rulers will appear on the upper and left sides of your workspace.

You can set your units of measurement for your rulers as points, picas, inches, millimeters, centimeters or pixels. To do this choose EDIT>PREFERENCES>UNITS & UNDO and select your preferred unit of measurement. (In Illustrator CS or CS2 choose ILLUSTRATOR>PREFERENCES>UNITS & DISPLAY PERFORMANCE.)




To use horizontal or vertical guides, simply click directly on a ruler and drag, releasing your mouse when you have the guide where you want it, dete rmined either by ruler measurements (look at where the guide meets the ruler and use the measurements) or alignments with other objects you have already created.

You will notice under GUIDES in your menu bar something called SMART GUIDES. SMART GUIDES allow you to have objects “snap to” or automatically align with guide lines when you move an object close to them.

This can be a blessing or a curse depending on what you are doing. An example would be using SMART GUIDES to align a large group of objects to that guide. SMART GUIDES can be turned on or off through the menu bar.

NOTE: Choosing SMART GUIDES will affect any guide in your document.

If your object moves slightly when you release it near a guide and you can’t get it precisely where you want it, you probably need to turn off the smart guides.

If you click and drag on a ruler and release and a guide does not appear, choose VIEW>GUIDES>SHOW GUIDES and your guide will appear. To hide your guides, choose VIEW>GUIDES>HIDE GUIDES and any guides will disappear. (Make a note of the key commands in the menus and you will be able to toggle between viewing and hiding your guides using your keyboard!)


You may notice that once you place a guide, you cannot move it by clicking on it and dragging like you can in most other programs. If this is the case, they are locked. To control whether your guides are locked or not, select VIEW>GUIDES>LOCK GUIDES from your menu bar. If there is a check mark, the guides are locked.


If you wish to remove all of your guides, select VIEW>GUIDES>CLEAR GUIDES in your menu bar. Or, drag the guides back to the rulers and release to remove the guides if they are not locked.


If you wish to display grid lines on your artboard choose VIEW>SHOW GRID.


You can customize the attributes of your grid by going to EDIT>PREFERENCES>GUIDES & GRID. (ILLUSTRATOR>PREFERENCES>GUIDES & GRIDS in Illustrator CS & CS2.)


To remove a grid, choose VIEW>HIDE GRID



Grids are helpful when proportionately spacing and sizing a series of objects such as a series of logos.

NOTE: Guides and Grids will not appear when you print or display your artwork on the web or in another program. Guides are only visible to you while working in the program.

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