Snap objects to glyph

Learn how to snap and draw objects precisely around the boundary of live glyphs.

The Snap to Glyph feature lets you snap your artwork components precisely with the text without creating outlines or reference guides. While choosing a snapping option, the glyph guides will appear on the live text when you draw, scale, rotate, or move objects. Follow these guides to snap precisely with the live text.

Snap to glyph

To learn how to view and use the snapping options for Japanese glyphs and fonts, see Snap to Japanese glyphs.

Before you proceed

To use this feature, ensure that Glyph Snapping (View > Snap to Glyph) and Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides) are enabled.

This feature won’t work if View > Snap to Grid is enabled, Preference > Smart Guides > Alignment Guides are disabled, and Snapping Tolerance is 0.

Enable the Snap to Glyph option

Adobe Illustrator deeplink

Try it in the app
Enable Alignment Guides in a few simple steps.

Snap with glyph guides

Select Character panel > More Options and enable Show Snap to Glyph Options to view glyph guide options.

What are glyph guides?

Let's see what all glyph guides are available on a glyph when the Snap to Glyph option is enabled.

Text bounds

A. Upper glyph bound B. x-Height C. Baseline D. Lower glyph bound 

Text bounds

A. Proximity guide B. x-Height C. Baseline D. Proximity guide 

Snap to primary guides
Snap to Baseline, x-height, and glyph bound

Snap to glyph
Snap to proximity guides

Do the following to set the glyph guides in the Snap to Glyph section in the Character panel:



(Baseline): Snaps to the base of the glyph.

(x-height): Snaps to the height of lowercase glyph.

(Glyph Bounds): Snaps to the top, bottom, left, and right bounds of the glyph.

(Proximity Guides): Snaps to the guides generated near baseline, x-height, and glyph bound.

There can be many proximity lines based on glyph typeface, but only an important proximity line passing through cumulative maximum width character or maximum pixel density is shown.

(Angular Guides): Snaps to the angular guides that appear when you select a glyph with angular segments or on rotating the text frame.

 (Anchor Points): Draw and snap to the anchor points of the glyphs.


Glyph guides don't consider stroke, pattern fill, effects, or appearance applied to the live text and are generated based on the original glyph shape.

Snap to an individual glyph after selection

To snap objects to an individual glyph in the text, 

  • Right-click the glyph and choose Snap to Glyph <glyph-name>.
    The chosen glyph will be highlighted, and you’ll see the glyph guides on the live glyph around its bounds, center, linear, and angular segments (based on the geometry of the glyph).
snap to an angle
Snap to selected glyph

  • Glyph isn't highlighted upon selection if stroke, pattern fill, effects, and appearance are applied to the live text. 
  • Glyph guides are generated only on straight segments (linear or angular) and not on glyph curves.

Release glyph selection

To release the individual glyph selection and snapping,

  • Right-click the glyph and choose Release Snap to Glyph <glyph-name>.
  • Select the Release Glyph button in the Control panel.
  • Choose another glyph to release the snapping on the previous glyph.

Any other action, such as text editing, will release the glyph automatically.

Snap with angular guides

The Snap to Glyph > Angular Guides option lets you snap objects set at a particular angle with the glyph while you move, scale, or rotate them and draw them using the Pen tool. Angular guides will appear only:

  • When a single glyph with angular segments is selected for snapping.
  • When the text frame or a particular glyph is rotated at an angle.
Angular snapping when text frame is rotated
Snap to angular guides when the text frame is rotated


Objects set at an angle will snap to their bounding box and object center.

Draw and snap to anchor points on a glyph

Use the Snap to GlyphAnchor Points option in the Character panel to draw and snap a shape on a glyph. 

The anchor point snapping works only with the Pen tool or when the object is moved closer to the anchor point on the glyph.

 Do the following:

  1. Select the Pen tool and hover on the glyph to view the anchor points.
  2. Draw the shape using the Pen tool. The drawn shape will be snapped with the anchor points on the text.
Snap a shape
Draw and snap to an anchor point

Snap to area text

The Snap to glyph feature works for both point text and area text. If you've only one line of text, all guides and anchors are shown for that line. If you've a paragraph, only glyph bounds are shown to simplify the experience. To precisely snap to a glyph in the paragraph, select the glyph and then use the glyph guides for further snapping.

Snap to area text
Snap to area text

Change the glyph guide color

By default, the glyph guides are shown in green. To change the glyph guide color, go to Preferences > Smart Guides > Glyph Guides and choose a color from the drop-down.

More resources

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