Saturday, June 11, 2011

Use Drawing Guides to Align Objects in PowerPoint

Getting objects such as inserted images, clipart, charts and textboxes to line up correctly on a slide can be frustrating. Crudely aligned objects look unappealing, but designing the perfect slide takes time and patience. To fix this problem, Microsoft introduced a feature called Guides in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010.

Drawing guides are horizontal and vertical lines that help you visually align and position pictures, shapes, and other objects on your PowerPoint slides to the smallest level. To turn on the guides, go to the View tab in the ribbon and check the box next to ‘Guides’ found under the group ‘Show’.


Immediately, two perpendicularly intersecting dotted lines will appear on your slide. To move and reposition these lines simply click on them and drag. To add new lines click on an existing guide, hold the CTRL key and drag it to a new position. When the mouse is released, a new guide line will appear. You can add as many horizontal and vertical guides as you want. To delete a guide, click and drag it off the slide.

Using the guides as visual cue you can now precisely position objects on the screen. Guides also has a ‘snap to’ feature that automatically snaps objects to the guides when you bring the object within a few pixels from a guide, like a magnet attracting a piece of iron. You can also snap one object to another objects.


To enable or disable ‘snap to’, right click on the slide and choose the option ‘Grid and Guides’.


If you are using PowerPoint 2010, you will find another option called ‘Smart Guides’. Both ‘snap objects to guides’ and ‘display smart guides when shapes are aligned’ should be checked by default. When Smart Guides is enabled, PowerPoint draws indicator lines when objects snap to each other.


Smart Guides, appear only when two or more shapes are in alignment with each other. The guides also appear when you are resizing an object in relation to another. Best of all, there are no clicks necessary, they just show up to indicate that your shapes are in spatial agreement.

Use drawing guides in Normal view when you build your presentation. They're not visible during a slide show and do not print.


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