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Using Smart Guides

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Using Smart Guides

A feature that's been around in Illustrator for quite some time is called Smart Guides. However, now in Illustrator CS4 the feature has gotten a pretty significant upgrade. In fact, that's also prompted the Illustrator team to turn Smart Guides on by default. So first just take a look at where the setting is and then we will talk about how it's used. Under the View menu there is an option here called Smart Guides. The keyboard shortcut for that is Command+U, or Ctrl+U on Windows. With that particular setting turned on, which is the case by default, as you move around your document and you mouse around objects they highlight. They are also identified by words. For example, this is a path and this is anchor point, so and so forth.

Using Smart Guides

A feature that's been around in Illustrator for quite some time is called Smart Guides. However, now in Illustrator CS4 the feature has gotten a pretty significant upgrade. In fact, that's also prompted the Illustrator team to turn Smart Guides on by default. So first just take a look at where the setting is and then we will talk about how it's used. Under the View menu there is an option here called Smart Guides. The keyboard shortcut for that is Command+U, or Ctrl+U on Windows. With that particular setting turned on, which is the case by default, as you move around your document and you mouse around objects they highlight. They are also identified by words. For example, this is a path and this is anchor point, so and so forth.

As if we needed that information. But it can be helpful when you have very complex documents and you are mousing around trying to identify certain areas of your file. Now as you master with these particular areas, you see that they highlight, which makes it easy for you to identify, which objects will be selected when you click. This prevents the trial of error for clicking on something and realizing, oh, I didn't mean to click on that, I meant to click on something else. But Smart Guides also help when you are working on particular piece of artwork and you want to align objects together. In fact, there are many different aspects or parts of Smart Guides. Let's take a look at some of them. For example, I'm going to take this orange surfboard right here and click on it.

I'm going to start to drag it. Notice that as soon as I drag it over here, a little Smart Guide pops up. That's a line that connects the middle of this surfboard, with the middle of the surfboard that had the word GROUNDSWELL on it. That's letting me know that right now the centers of these objects are currently aligned. As I move this object around, those guides appear to help me identify where these are aligning up to. For example, if I go out just right and I drag it here this way, I can see that they are aligning up in a certain way where they intersect. So now those particular surfboards are aligned up with each other in that way.

You press undo for a second here. I can take this entire one and move this down as well, and see that right now this intersects over here this line right now, with the top of that surfboard, and that way I know they are both aligned. So, I don't need specific alignment or even Draw Guides, as I'm moving objects and drawing them on my screen in order to quickly align them. For example, when it comes to drawing, I can see that as well. I'm going to click on my regular rectangle tool, and I'm going to start to click, but before I do so, notice that as I move my cursor around, it's identifying to me where these particular path may intersect. So if I wanted to draw a rectangle that was lined up at the top of this particular piece of artwork right here, I know that I can basically click and drag here, an now this rectangle matches from the top to the bottom of that particular surfboard.

So it's very easy for me to do that without having to worry about measuring it, so on and so forth. So Smart Guides just help me as I work inside of Illustrator. Now you will also notice one of the other things, as I'm drawing a rectangle here, you can see that a little gray box appears with a width and height. Again, that's also a part of Smart Guides. Smart Guides is again letting me know the dimensions of my shape as I'm drawing it. I'm going to press Delete here to get rid of that rectangle for a second. You can control the settings for what does, or does not appear with Smart Guides in Preferences. Again, I'll go to the Preferences button here in the Control panel, and I'll go from the pop up menu to choose Smart Guides. And you have many different options here. Aligning guides, those are the guides that popped up as I was dragging objects that help me identify whether objects were in align with each other. The Anchor/ Path Labels are those little words that are called anchor and path had highlighted, and that appeared as I moved over the anchor points or the paths.

Measurement Labels. That's the little gray box that identifies the size of the rectangle, or other shape as I'm drawing it. Objects highlighting is basically what allows us path to light up as I mouse over them. Transform tools allow me to basically as I am, maybe scaling or rotating an object to identify what angle I'm rotating an object on, or how big, or the change that has been occurring when I perform transformation for example. Instruction Guides also identify to me when objects are within the certain alignment, or a certain plain of other objects. For examples, 90 and 45 degree angles, or 135 degree angles. I can either choose from this pop up list a different types of angles, or I can specify up to six angles that I want, which could be very helpful if you create artwork that is maybe isometric, or suppose we can dial certain things in, to make it happen automatically.

Most importantly the Snapping Tolerance setting is what identifies, obviously what defines how close I have to get to an object in order for me to see that guide. Anything within four points will now basically allow me to snap to that particular guide, and make that particular Smart Guide visible. Now you turn some of these off. For example, I don't find it useful to identify anchor or paths for labels. I think the object highlighting in my opinion just gives me a little bit of headache, because things are flashing all over the screen as you are mousing around. The Transform tools is actually pretty cool.

Alignment guides are incredibly helpful as our Measurement Labels. So that's how I leave things with Smart Guides my preferences. The beautiful thing is, as I'm working inside of Illustrator, at any time I could use that keyboard Command+U to just simply disable the Smart Guides. Now I don't see them at all. Press Command +U, and now when I drag them I do see them. So it's something that I can control. It's a great feature when you need it, and it's great that you can turn it off when you don't.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48561 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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