Position with guides and the grid

Guides and the grid help you position images or elements precisely. Guides appear as nonprinting lines that float over the image. You can move and remove guides. You can also lock them so that you don’t move them by accident.

Smart Guides help you align shapes, slices, and selections. They appear automatically when you draw a shape or create a selection or slide. You can hide Smart Guides if you need to.

The grid is useful for laying out elements symmetrically. The grid appears by default as nonprinting lines but can also be displayed as dots.

Guides and grids behave in similar ways:

  • Selections, selection borders, and tools snap to a guide or the grid when dragged within 8 screen (not image) pixels. Guides also snap to the grid when moved. You can turn this feature on and off.

  • Guide spacing, along with guide and grid visibility and snapping, is specific to an image.

  • Grid spacing, along with guide and grid color and style, is the same for all images.

Show or hide a grid, guides, or Smart Guides

  • Do one of the following:
    • Choose View > Show > Grid.

    • Choose View > Show > Guides.

    • Choose View > Show > Smart Guides.

    • Choose View > Extras. This command also shows or hides layer edges, selection edges, target paths, and slices.

Place a guide

  1. If the rulers are not visible, choose View > Rulers.


    For the most accurate readings, view the image at 100% magnification or use the Info panel.

  2. Do one of the following to create a guide:
    • Choose View > New Guide. In the dialog box, select Horizontal or Vertical orientation, enter a position, and click OK.

    • Drag from the horizontal ruler to create a horizontal guide.

    Photoshop Guides and grids
    Dragging to create a horizontal guide

    • Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and drag from the vertical ruler to create a horizontal guide.

    • Drag from the vertical ruler to create a vertical guide.

    • Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and drag from the horizontal ruler to create a vertical guide.

    • Hold down Shift and drag from the horizontal or vertical ruler to create a guide that snaps to the ruler ticks. The pointer changes to a double-headed arrow when you drag a guide.

  3. (Optional) If you want to lock all guides, choose View > Lock Guides.

Move a guide

  1. Select the Move tool , or hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) to activate the Move tool.

  2. Position the pointer over the guide (the pointer turns into a double-headed arrow).
  3. Move the guide in any of the following ways:
    • Drag the guide to move it.

    • Change the guide from horizontal to vertical, or vice versa, by holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you click or drag the guide.

    • Align the guide with the ruler ticks by holding down Shift as you drag the guide. The guide snaps to the grid if the grid is visible and View > Snap To > Grid is selected.

Remove guides from the image

  • Do one of the following:
    • To remove a single guide, drag the guide outside the image window.

    • To remove all guides, choose View > Clear Guides.

Set guide and grid preferences

  1. Do one of the following:
    • (Windows) Choose Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid, & Slices.

    • (Mac OS) Choose Photoshop > Preferences > Guides, Grid, & Slices.

  2. For Color, choose a color for the guides, the grid, or both. If you choose Custom, click the color box, choose a color, and click OK.

  3. For Style, choose a display option for guides or the grid, or both.

  4. For Gridline Every, enter a value for the grid spacing. For Subdivisions, enter a value by which to subdivide the grid.

    If desired, change the units for this option. The Percent option creates a grid that divides the image into even sections. For example, choosing 25 for the Percent option creates an evenly divided 4‑by‑4 grid.

  5. Click OK.

Work efficiently with Smart Guides

Smart Guides come in handy in several scenarios, such as the following:

  • Option (Mac) / Alt (Windows) + drag a layer: When you drag a layer while keeping the Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) key pressed, Photoshop displays reference measurement guides showing the distance between the original layer and the duplicate layer. This feature works with both the Move and Path Selection tools.
Photoshop Distance between the layers: original and duplicate
Distance between the layers: original and duplicate

  • Path measurements: Photoshop displays measurement guides while you're working with paths. Measurement guides are also displayed when you select the Path Selection tool and then drag a path within the same layer.
Photoshop Path measurements
Path measurements

  • Matched spacing: When you duplicate or move an object, Photoshop displays measurement guides to visually indicate spacing between other objects that match the spacing between the selected object and its immediate neighbors.
  • Cmd (Mac) / Ctrl (Windows) + hover over a layer: You can view measurement guides while working with layers. With one layer selected, hover over another layer with the Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key pressed. You can use arrow keys in conjunction with this feature to nudge the selected layer.
Photoshop Measurement guides while working with layers
Measurement guides while working with layers

  • Distances from the canvas: When you hold down the Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key while hovering outside a shape, Photoshop displays distances from the canvas.
Photoshop Distances of a shape from the canvas
Distances of a shape from the canvas

Photoshop Spacing between matched objects
Spacing between matched objects

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