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Using guides and rulers

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Using guides and rulers

Two of the most important things that you will use when you're creating a mockup inside of Illustrator are guides and rulers. If you're not familiar with the ruler system inside of Adobe Illustrator, in order to turn those on, there are two ways. You can use Command+R or Ctrl+R on your keyboard or simply go to the View menu, choose Rulers, and click Show Rulers. Once you have rulers turned on, you'll notice the 0 points correspond to the top left-hand corner, and you're able to then use the rulers to create guides in your document as well. In order to create a guide, simply click and drag out from the left or from the top, just like so.

Using guides and rulers

Two of the most important things that you will use when you're creating a mockup inside of Illustrator are guides and rulers. If you're not familiar with the ruler system inside of Adobe Illustrator, in order to turn those on, there are two ways. You can use Command+R or Ctrl+R on your keyboard or simply go to the View menu, choose Rulers, and click Show Rulers. Once you have rulers turned on, you'll notice the 0 points correspond to the top left-hand corner, and you're able to then use the rulers to create guides in your document as well. In order to create a guide, simply click and drag out from the left or from the top, just like so.

If you want to get of rid of those guides, you can actually click on them and press the Delete key on your keyboard and they will go away. Once you have your guides in place in the areas that you need them to be, you can lock them down, and I'll show you how to do that towards the end of this movie. Once you've got a new document created for your mockup, it's time to determine the overall size and dimensions of the design that you're going to be working on. In this case I think that I'm going to determine that the overall width of the WordPress theme that I'm working on is going to be 960 pixels wide. So I'm going to grab the Rectangle tool, and I'm just going to click somewhere in the middle of the artboard.

I'm going to type in "960" for the Width. The Height really doesn't matter. I'll hit OK. And then I'll switch to the Selection tool. And I want this to be directly in the center of my document. The easiest way to do that is to utilize the Align panel. So I'm going to go to Window, bring up Align. I'm going to go to the top right- hand corner and choose Show Options. And I'm going to make sure that this is aligned to the artboard instead of Align to Selection. That way when I click Horizontal Align Centers, it snaps right to the center of the artboard.

Now you may be wondering why I put the shape out in the middle of my artboard. Let me close the Align panel and show you. Essentially, I've cheated. Because I don't like to do math, basically what I have now is a 960-pixel-wide area which I can then define with guides and then get rid of the shape. It just saves me the trouble of having to calculate how far I've brought in each guide. So I'm going to color this rectangle. It doesn't matter what color it is. I just want to be able to see it. And then I'm also going to zoom in quite a bit, like so. And then I'm going to take a guide and drag it out from the left-hand side.

It should snap to that edge. I'll take out another guide, and it may not snap to this edge. That's okay. Just drag it out close to it and then when you drag it closer the second time, it may snap in place, sort of like this. And if it doesn't, you can always just kind of nudge it around until it snaps on, something kind of like that. So now I have a 960-pixel- wide web site that I've defined. I can delete this, and I'll zoom back out a little bit. I'm now going to define some content areas inside of my document.

In order to do this, I'm going to use guides. And so let's say that I want the header to start at the very top of this, and I'll click and drag a guide down. As I start to drag it down, I can let go anytime I want, and you can see over here in the Info panel where this is. And as I click and drag it now, the Info panel actually reacts to that. So if I wanted this to be 100 pixels tall, I'll just drag it until it gets to about 100 pixels. If you can't get it exactly at 100-- like I'm having trouble here--just zoom in a couple of times, Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus on your keyboard, and you should be able to grab that and then easily reset it to 100 pixels. There we go.

Now I'm going to drag down and create a guide for the footer as well. This one is going to be a little bit tricky. I'm going to have to do some substraction here. As I drag down, you'll notice that the numbers are really high because this is a 2000-pixel-tall document. So let's say I wanted the footer to be 300 pixels tall. I need to take that to about 1700, so I'll just drag this until it reaches 1700. And I'm just looking in the Info panel, right up there in the right-hand side and when it hits that, I'll let it go. About 300 pixels.

And I can always fix this with my shape layers layer, but for now I'm just defining content areas. And so from here I want to add in some margins, so I'll zoom back in, Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus and I'll drag out a guide from the top. So that's going to snap to this, and I can drag this out a little bit more. I want this to be about 30 pixels from the top, so we'll drag that down to about 130. There we go. It creates about 30 pixels of space.

So now my header is going to be up here, going all the way across the top, and I have about 30 pixels of space before I get to the actual content of the site. Same thing for the footer. I want about 30 pixels of padding between the footer and the next bit of content, so I'm going to drag that down. And this needs to go about 1640. Here we go. It's about 30 pixels of space. Actually, that's a little bit more than 30 pixels, so let's adjust that a little bit.

It needs to be about 1670. Here we go, and that's about 30 pixels space. So now if I zoom out, I can do Command+0 or Ctrl+0 to see all of the document, and so now I've got my header area defined here at the top. I've got my padding or margin between the header and the content area. I've also get some padding at the bottom above my footer area, which I've defined as well. And I did that with all of these guides that I drug out from the rulers.

Now once I have my guides in place and they're exactly where I need them to be, I need to lock them down, because as of right now, I can still click on these and move them around. So what I'm going to do is go to the View menu and I'm going to choose Guides and choose Lock Guides, and once I lock the Guides, I can no longer click and drag them around. They are just there as informational pieces for me, so that I can use them while I'm assembling the rest of my mockup.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 25417 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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