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Tip: Use The Grid in Photoshop

Today’s Photoshop tip will show you how to take advantage of the “Grid” feature in Photoshop. The Grid is the perfect alignment tool for graphic design, and is very easy to use. By combining the use of the Grid with the “Snap” feature, users can perfectly align objects along grid lines and sudivisions.

Enabling the Grid

Open up the document you’d like to work with (or create a new document), and enable the Grid by checking View > Extras, and then checking View > Show > Grid.

How to show the Grid in Photoshop

You should now see a grid laid over your canvas. The grid lines are not actually a part of your image, they are more or less just reference lines.

grid_canvas.gif

Note: The Grid Lines are the darker lines. The light, dotted lines are known as “Subdivisions”.

Grid Preferences

Perhaps you need to adjust the grid to better suit your working conditions. It’s very easy to setup grid lines to distance themselves in inches, pixels, as well as other standard measurement units.

To adjust the Grid Preferences, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices…

From here, you can adjust the Grid Color, Style (Lines, Dashed Lines, Dotted Lines), the distance between grid line, and the number of subdivisions between grid lines.

Grid Preferences

Snap to Grid

Snapping is a useful feature in Photoshop that allows users to align layers, shapes, text, etc, perfectly with other objects, guides, or in our case the grid.

To enable Snap to Grid, first Enable Snap (View > Snap), and then make sure Snap to Grid is checked (View > Snap To > Grid).

You should now be able to easily align your different layers with the grid PRECISELY.

grid_example.gif

You may want to take note that enabling snapping will ALWAYS have objects snap to the grid, other layers, or whatever else Snap To is set up for. You will often find it necessary to disable snap while working with certain graphics.

62 Comments

  1. Add point Subtract point
    Paul (5 Points) April 9, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Nice tut, shame Adobe don’t allocate the grid it’s own layer, I’d love to print a grid without having to construct it!

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    Oh yes, Minecraft =)
    Also ‘measure tool’ is great. But sadly, it shows the distance only in pixels, not in grid blocks ^^. Would be great to draw a plan in photoshop for the Minecraft house, and then instantly know, how much blocks I need to build this house.

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Santosh (0 Points) February 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Very helpful for newbies who want to photoshop from scratch. Please keep on sharing such a nice tutorials.
    Thanks.

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  4. Add point Subtract point
    Luke Dalfonso (3 Points) January 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Thanks! This makes Mnecraft art alot easier.

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  5. Add point Subtract point

    Thanks it was very usefull!

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    Fitri PMRELOAD (1 Point) December 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    nice tutorial..
    i need this.. thanks

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    Danny J (-1 Points) November 23, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I use the Square Grid with this tool for my designs.
    http://thesquaregrid.com

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    Barbara Simmons (1 Point) October 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    my grid won’t show up – using Photoshop CS; when I go view>show>grid a dark outline shows up around the new image, when I go view>hide, the dark outline goes away, but the grid will not show up when I ask it to. What have I done?

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    Mitari Enteh (0 Points) October 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

    This tutorial is absolutely useful! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    Kendroosh (-2 Points) October 12, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Regarding grids … does anyone know where I can get a software program that creates dotted grids that print? I don’t think the grid in photoshop is printable. Thank you.

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    Leo Geo (0 Points) August 20, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Thank you for your posting and new updates.This site is really helpful to me.

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  12. Add point Subtract point
    iLiketoDraw (0 Points) July 31, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Thanks this was really helpful and informative. Definitely a useful little guide.

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    funpages (0 Points) July 9, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    i am glad that i stumbled upon your blog. now i can learn the basics the right way. thanks!

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    Labici Danut (0 Points) June 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    OMG thanks :D
    This will help me with PixelArt :D

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Luke (0 Points) June 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I am learning Web Design and I found this thread very helpful indeed. Thank you for posting.

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    jackstraw (0 Points) June 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Is there a way to have snap turned off by default?

    We receive dozens of photos from the outside world each day and many of our sources have snap turned on when they submit the files (and I’m sure many don’t even realize it’s turned on.)

    It’s extremely annoying to have to turn off snap on each of these images for cropping. I keep it turned off images that originate here, but the setting imports with incoming images in CS3 (and probably other versions of Photoshop as well.)

    I’m wondering if there’s a way to not import the snap setting on images that don’t originate from our own work flow.

    Thanks.

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    Aery (0 Points) May 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Hi,

    I am Surely Going to Use This

    Thanks for Sharing

    Regards.

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    steve (0 Points) May 24, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I’m trying to design a clock face. I need a grid with an x-y axis so i can have a center point for the shaft where the movement will be. I will need the grid to allow for 30 degree increments for proper placement of the hours. Any suggestions on how to achieve this. Steve

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    Gary (-1 Points) March 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I really enjoyed the concise explanation of the use of Grids and used it recently, but now the Grid appears in all photos I call up to work with in PS. How do I turn that off? I hit View, then uncheck Extra, but the Grids keep coming back when I reopen the pictures. Thanks.

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    Michael Earls (0 Points) February 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial, it was a great help!

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    chillicothe (1 Point) February 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    This is what I needed. I needed to be able to split the image / grid equally into ten parts and the default was only splitting it into 8 parts.
    Thanks from Chillicothe OH!

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  22. Add point Subtract point
    ฟังเพลงใหม่ (0 Points) February 3, 2010 at 12:37 am

    its very nice. Great post36

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (0 Points) February 2, 2010 at 1:53 am

    its very nice. Great post23

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงฟรี (0 Points) February 1, 2010 at 3:09 am

    its very nice. Great post17

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  25. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงใหม่ฟรี (0 Points) January 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    great i never seen before.

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  26. Add point Subtract point

    The sad thing about grids is that if you paint over them, the grids get stenciled onto the canvas. Not a good thing at all for one that draws using a grid by grid method.

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    How do I get the grid to print on my photo in photo shop? Thanks, great tutorials

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  28. Add point Subtract point

    under photoshop cs4 mac the grid preferences will be found under:
    photoshop > preferences > guides, grids and slides
    and not under:
    Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices…

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  29. Add point Subtract point

    how do i print these grids.. sometimes you want to sketch on top of the design ( draft ).

    Please let me know as i am not able to find the solution online as yet.

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  30. Add point Subtract point
    evilkitty75 (1 Point) November 9, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Ok so we all know bout the grid what about a tut on if i can set my guide lines?

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  31. Add point Subtract point
    JoeShmoe123 (0 Points) October 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

    How do you get teh grid to look like it’s supposed to? I know it’s a very useful feature but it doesn’t seem to be working in my CS4. I used the same preferences as in the tutorial, but I didn’t get all the smaller lines

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  32. Add point Subtract point
    Jem (0 Points) June 4, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Is it possible to print image with the Grid Lines ? Need to label the lines, i.e. 1 – 10, say and A – J to give references to image which is a jpg photo.
    Thx

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  33. Add point Subtract point
    huwaw69 (0 Points) May 8, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Wow this grid really helps a lot in other ways in photoshop

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    Caryn Caldwell (0 Points) May 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you, thank you! I set mine for the rule of thirds, and it has helped out a lot.

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  35. Add point Subtract point

    how can remove grid from photoshop…

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    Kristin Clough (0 Points) March 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I am trying to create a grid over a picture then slice it somehow so I can rearrange the parts in the grid. How can I do that?

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    • Add point Subtract point
      supremegraphx (1 Point) July 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      create your grid over your image

      use square marquee tool with no prefrences

      and select each square that the grid created

      and cut and paste. it will auto paste on new layer

      do this with each square you have created with the grid

      make sure you duplicate image

      and make sure your on the duplicated image when you cut and paste

      agian, it will paste on new layer

      then re arrange layers the way you want

      hope it helps if no one got you before me

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Juan Muñoz (0 Points) March 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    David,I am just a photoshop C3 beginer, I really love to learn from your tutorials. I think I have a good luck because I found your web. Thank´s a lot for your time. Some day I will be a great designer.
    Juan from Costa Rica

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  38. Add point Subtract point
    Brian Feister (1 Point) December 11, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I think this article should be edited to include in the note at the bottom “you can disable snap to grid temporarily by holding cmd/ctrl while dragging a selected item”

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  39. Add point Subtract point

    Grid guide in a nutshell… excellent.

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  40. Add point Subtract point
    Website Design (0 Points) June 13, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I’m not using grid when im working. I think i will use it now,

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  41. Add point Subtract point
    Francesca (0 Points) April 10, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I love these basic tutorials – so quick!

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  42. Add point Subtract point

    Even if it comes naturally to you, I am a firm believer that Grid Systems are an excellent way to facilitate design and creativity. We’ll probably cover more on Grid Systems in Photoshop in a future tutorial ;)

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  43. Add point Subtract point
    antonwoods (0 Points) March 24, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I use grids alot when designing, it comes as a natural thing to do now so if your a begginner at designing, then i urge you to follow this tutorial and try adapt it as frequently as possible. It will deffinetly benefit you for future stuff ;)

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  44. Add point Subtract point
    James PEotto (1 Point) February 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Very helpful, I can’t say how many times I try to move my pictures precisely and I never get it right. This will help a million. Thanks

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  45. Add point Subtract point

    Hey Nir B, in the Depth of Field Tutorial, I just transform a grid to get that effect. I just used the default grid settings (which I shouldn’t have really). Hope that helps ya out ;) I’d appreciate if you ask such questions in the actual tutorial in question so that other users don’t miss out, or get confused.

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  46. Add point Subtract point

    In your DOP tut, u guys gave an exapmle using a grid that simulated a 3d plane. is there such an option or did u just use Transform?. thx for the guide top class stuff.

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  47. Add point Subtract point
    Michael Wilson (1 Point) February 6, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    ctrl ‘ will also toggle the grid.

    Cheers.

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  48. Add point Subtract point

    I really love these tutorials, so informative yet simple.
    Just a little tip, snapping is really useful and I use it in most cases, but sometimes I don’t want it to snap and it’s a drag to go to View>Snap To (at least for me). So when using the move tool or the transform command, just hold Control and the object you’re moving will not snap to anything. ;)

    Keep up the great work!

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