The Photoshop Toolbox is a regular series designed to help those who are still finding their way around Photoshop to learn some of the nuances of tools, layers, and other functions found in this powerful program.
On this edition of the Photoshop Toolbox we’re going to take a look at Guides in Photoshop. Guides are one of those little things that can be a huge help when laying out a new design. They can help you line up different elements, make sure elements are the same height/width so they fit within a row or column nicely, or they can be very useful when creating a new graphic so you can fit it all together.
The easiest way to create a new guide is to press Cmd/Ctrl+R to make your Rulers visible in your document window. Then, just click on the left-hand ruler and drag into your image to create a vertical guide. Do the same with the top ruler to create a horizontal guide. If you find that you need to reposition your guide(s), select the Move Tool (V) and hover over the desired guide until the cursor changes, then just click and drag to the new location. To remove a single guide, simply grab it and drag it all the way off the document window.
If you need your guides to be in a specific location – say, for margins or bleed areas or to locate the exact center of the document – go up to the menu and select View>New Guide. In the resulting dialog box, choose the orientation of your guide (vertical or horizontal) and type in the number and units (px, in, cm…) and click OK. If you still need to move your guides around, you can still do so using the Move Tool as we talk about above.
It’s easy to accidentally move your guides when using the Move Tool and clicking on an element located near one of your guides. Once you have the guides in place, go up to View>Lock Guides and they will remain in place until you choose to unlock them later on.
If you want to get an idea of what the design looks like without the clutter of the guides, you can temporarily hide them by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+H. When you are finished and no longer need your guides, or if you want to start fresh with your guides, simply go up to the menu and select View>Clear Guides and you’re all set!
If there is a tool or feature in Photoshop that you’d like me to write about in the future, please leave a comment below or send me an email to email@example.com.