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Using the Grid

By Liz Ness  ·  April 14th, 2011

As a follow up to last week’s post, More on Clipping Masks, I thought I’d share just a bit about Photoshop Elements’ Grid and Snap to Grid features. These two tools are highly useful when it comes to alignment–specifically, aligning shapes of the same dimensions for say, a clipping mask.

To get started using the grid, it’s easiest to view it by selecting to View>Grid (or, PC: Ctrl-‘ and Mac: Command-‘). Then:

  • Adjust the Grid to your personal preferences, by selecting Edit>Preferences>Guides & Grid. I like to have my grid set for a major line (the Gridlines) every inch with four minor lines between the majors (e.g., four Subdivisions). This allows for accuracy down to a quarter-inch and I rarely need more than that. However, if you do, you can adjust the gridlines to fit your project.

  • Next, ensure that View>Snap To>Grid is selected.
  • Then, lay down some shapes.
  • Finally, move your shapes around with the Move tool (V) and observe how they gravitate toward the grid lines, making it easy to position the shapes accurately.

And, that’s all there is to it!

Though it’s easy, it’s super useful, too, and I recommend using the Grid and Snap to Grid features whenever there’s graphic designs in the making–whether they’re scrapbook pages, photo templates/cards, or when you’re simply having a little fun with clipping masks.

6 Replies to Using the Grid:

  1. Mary

    April 15, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Hi Liz!

    The ‘Snap to’ feature is one of my favorites! I love using it with the Grid and with Guides too. It can really help to compensate for a less-than-steady hand.

    Thanks for the post.


    • Liz

      April 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

      Heh-heh–I’m with you on the help for the less-than-steady hand! =)

  2. Lee

    April 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I’ve found that the “Grid” is also helpful when using Image>Transform>Skew in order to remove the “Keystone” effect which comes from using a wide-angle lens when photographing a building. In my case, I set my Grid preference to Major line every 2 inches with one subdivision. (This equals one line per inch). In my opinion, more grid lines than that ends up hiding the subject matter of the photo.

    • Liz

      April 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

      That’s an awesome tip, Lee! Thanks for your comment. =)

  3. Paul

    May 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for the tips on using grids.

    I tried Larry Becker’s transform hints to straighten a building, but I didn’t have reference lines close enough to my subject. Setting major lines to 2″ as you suggested worked perfectly.

  4. Delia

    July 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I can’t see the grid and guide line after I set them I have even clicked on the snap to. what am I doing wrong?

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