Using Guides and Grids

Guides and grids are nonprinting visual aids that can help you place or move image content more precisely. They can also help you create selections and paths by providing visual markers for the start or end of a selection or path segment.


You have two ways of creating guides in Photoshop:

■ You can have the rulers showing (View ^ Rulers) and drag with the mouse pointer into the document window from the horizontal or vertical ruler (to make the guide snap to an increment on the ruler, hold down the Shift key).

■ Alternatively, you can choose View ^ Create Guide and, in the New Guide dialog box, specify whether you would like to create a horizontal or a vertical guide; also specify where you would like to place it. You can enter a value in another unit of measure by adding an abbreviated form of the unit after the number; for example, rather than 2 cm, just type 2 in for inches. Furthermore, if you prefer to work in percentages, you can use a percentage sign (Figure 2-7).

Figure 2-7: To position a new guide, you can enter values in any of the supported units.

In ImageReady, the Create Guides dialog box (View ^ Create Guides) gives you many more options for creating guides (Figure 2-8).

TIP You can't create diagonal guides in Photoshop or ImageReady. The workaround is to create a path with the Pen tool and show/hide it by choosing View ^ Show ^ Target Path, or clicking in an empty area of the Paths palette to hide it and clicking the path tile to show it. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut assigned to it; the default is Ctrl+Shift+H (Windows), &+Shift+H (Mac OS).

Create Guides Horizontal Guides ( OK )

® 1 guides, evenly spaced Cancel )

C 2 pixels between guides M Preview

0 0 pixels from top [single guide)

17] Vertical Guides @ 1 guides, evenly spaced C 2 pixels between guides u 0 pixels From left {single guide)

[2 Glear Existing Guides

Figure 2-8: The Create Guides dialog box in ImageReady gives you more options than the one in Photoshop.


After a guide has been created, you can move it around as much as you like (even onto the canvas, the area outside the visible image). To move a guide, hold down Ctrl (Windows), ^ (Mac OS), hover the pointer over the guide, and when it turns into a double-headed arrow, drag the guide. Note that if you have the slice tools selected, this shortcut won't work. You need to select the Move tool, or one of the other tools, first.


You can clear guides by selecting View ^ Clear Guides or simply by grabbing them and dragging them out of the document window (see the preceding section on how to move a guide). If you accidentally move or delete a guide, you can choose Edit ^ Step Backward or press Ctrl+Z (Windows), (Mac OS). In ImageReady, choose Edit ^ Undo Delete Guide.


Because guides and grids are considered extras, you can hide them temporarily and show them again when required. To show/hide guides or grids, use the View ^ Show submenu. To hide guides using a keyboard shortcut, press Ctrl+; (Windows), (Mac OS).The keyboard shortcut works as a toggle; so, to show them again, just press the same combination one more time. To show/hide a grid with a keyboard shortcut, just substitute the apostrophe for the semicolon; like so: Ctrl+' (Windows), (Mac OS).


When you are moving data around the document window with the Move tool, it's easy to accidentally move a guide. Fear not! You can lock guides by choosing View ^ Lock Guides or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+; (Windows), ^+Opt+; (Mac OS). In fact, if you find that you cannot move a guide, chances are you pressed that key combo accidentally in the editing session.


If you don't like the default color of the guides and grids (it may clash with image content or your jumper), you can select a preferred color in the Guides, Grid & Slices screen of the Preferences dialog box. There's the usual route to get to Preferences, but a quicker one, if you have guides showing, is to simply double-click one and be taken directly to the Guides, Grid & Slices screen. When in the screen, you can change the color and the style for both your guides and grid. For your grid, you can also specify the space between each gridline and the number of subdivisions (Figure 2-9).

Figure 2-9: A custom grid used to snap circular paths to the gridlines and then the paths stroked with a soft brush.

Smart Guides

When you have to align objects on different layers, or even on the same layer, Smart Guides can help to find the edges and the centers of the visible objects (Figure 2-10). Smart guides work equally well on pixel-based objects, selections, shapes, paths, and slices. If you cannot see Smart Guides when you move objects, make sure that View ^ Show ^ Smart Guides is selected.

Figure 2-10: Smart Guides highlighting the center and sides of objects being moved.
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