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Using rulers and guides

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Using rulers and guides

One of the benefits about working with a computer is that you can be precise. Instead of just eyeballing something, and making sure that something looks okay, you can use certain features that allow you to make sure that something is perfect and exact. One way to do that is to use rulers and guides inside of your document. The easiest way to turn rulers on is to use the keyboard shortcut Command+R or Ctrl+R on Windows. That activates the rulers. You'll see the rules appear on the top of your window, and on the left side of your document window as well. Unfortunately, there is no way to control what you see as far as tick marks, but as you zoom in, or zoom out, you'll see that the tick marks become more granular. I'll zoom back out again here, and I want to show you that you could also work with something called guides. Guides allow you to basically create some kind of an object inside of Illustrator that you can use to align other objects too, and again, just to use as a way to make sure that your design conforms or aligned the way that you wanted to.

Using rulers and guides

One of the benefits about working with a computer is that you can be precise. Instead of just eyeballing something, and making sure that something looks okay, you can use certain features that allow you to make sure that something is perfect and exact. One way to do that is to use rulers and guides inside of your document. The easiest way to turn rulers on is to use the keyboard shortcut Command+R or Ctrl+R on Windows. That activates the rulers. You'll see the rules appear on the top of your window, and on the left side of your document window as well. Unfortunately, there is no way to control what you see as far as tick marks, but as you zoom in, or zoom out, you'll see that the tick marks become more granular. I'll zoom back out again here, and I want to show you that you could also work with something called guides. Guides allow you to basically create some kind of an object inside of Illustrator that you can use to align other objects too, and again, just to use as a way to make sure that your design conforms or aligned the way that you wanted to.

The concept of working with guides is pretty common amongst the Graphics applications. The way that you create a guide, you simply go to your ruler itself, click and drag from the ruler, and drag outwards towards your document. When you release the mouse, the guide then appears. You can add additional guides by going back to the ruler and dragging out again. A few keyboard shortcuts that are helpful when creating guides: holding on the Shift key as you drag out a guide will cause the guide to snap to the rule of tick marks. That way you're insured, for example, in this case here, and our ruler snaps exactly to 16 inches.

There are two types of guides inside of Illustrator. There are vertical guides and horizontal guides. When you drag out a guide from any of the rulers, you can hold down the Option key, to basically switch the guides from one to the other. In this case now I could choose a vertical guide. Same thing applies when you drag out a guide from the vertical ruler. Hold on the Option key allows you to toggle it to be a horizontal guide. Now let's say you drop a guide and you want even to move that guide. Well, guides by default are actually locked. What you can do though, is right click with your mouse to bring up the contextual menu, just click on any blank area whatsoever. If you are on a Macintosh and only have a one-button mouse, you can hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and then click with your mouse, that brings up the contextual menu.

You'll see that there is an option here called Lock Guides, with the check mark next to it, it means that you cannot select those guides. I would now unlock the guides, and now I have the ability to either reposition those guides I want to, or simply delete them. Guides are just like objects inside of Illustrator, and in fact, you can turn any object whatsoever into a guide; we'll learn later how to draw shapes, but I can for example, take the Ellipse tool, for example, click and drag to create this, and then go to the View menu, go down to where it says Guides, and choose to make guides. That now converts that artwork into a guide itself. If I have the Lock Guides selection turned on, that mean I can no longer select this. What's great about guides itself is that guides act like magnets. So when I go ahead and I create other shapes, and I want to be able to move certain shapes around, those shapes snap to those guides.

So for example, if I take this little surfboard that's right here, and I start to move it, as I get closer to guide here, I see that object kind of snaps to the guide. By the way what I'm showing you right now is also new behavior in CS4. If you've used Illustrator before, and this is your first time in CS4, in the past, Illustrator only allowed you to snap that cursor to the actual guide itself, but now Illustrator also snaps the object to that particular guide as well. And you see that you can now align your objects to the guides as well. See how, by the way, my cursor touches it, it changes color as well. That identifies a snap that's there. I'm going to press Command+Z just to undo that, or Ctrl+Z to undo that right now.

So that's how guides can be helpful when I'm working with my layouts inside of Illustrator. If I want to temporarily just turn off my guides, because sometimes they do get in the way as I'm working with them. I can go to the View menu, go down to where it says Guides and choose Hide Guides. The guides are still in my document, but they're temporarily hidden from view. If I want to show them again, I can use the keyboard shortcut, Command+:. Again, if you're on a PC, that would be Ctrl+:. That will allow you to simply toggle those guides from being visible or not visible. One of the things that actually applies to multiple artboards, and again, this wasn't really important in previous versions of Illustrator, but certainly now you may have a document that contains many, many different artboards, and when you create these guides, these guides kind of go across all the artboards.

But let's say you want to create a guide that's only important for some of the artboards. For example, maybe I'm working on this label right now, and I want to have some kind of alignment set up for just this label, and not really getting in the way of anything else. Well, Illustrator does allow you to create guides that are specific for artboards; here's how you do it. You go basically to the artboard tool, and turn on artboard Edit mode. Then you specify, which artboard you want to use, or that you want to create a guide for, by making it the active artboard. Once that's done, whenever you draw a guide out, that guide will only appear within that particular artboard. Notice now I can create some horizontal and vertical guides, and they don't go across the entire document; they're only visible within this active artboard. Likewise, if I turn this Envelope now to be the active artboard, any guide that I do create now again only applies to this particular active artboard.

When I exit out of artboard Edit mode, I can see now that those guides are strictly for this artboard, and this artboard only. So before we move on to Grids, I'll just leave you with one cute little tip: if you go over to the rule itself, and you right click or Ctrl+ Click, to bring up the contextual menu of the rulers itself, you could quickly change the rulers to switch between points, picas, inches, millimeters, centimeters or pixels. This means that you can quickly change the measurements without having to go into the Preferences panel.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48859 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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