MacMost Now 864: Rulers and Guides

Rulers and guides can be found in page layout and graphics apps. You can use them to precisely align objects on a page. Learning to use rulers and guides can make it easier and quicker to create professional designs. You can use them in apps like Pages, Keynote, Pixelmator, Photoshop and more.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 864: Rulers and Guides.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at using Rulers and Guides in applications like Pages.

To show you how Rulers and Guides work let's use Pages. Lots of apps use Rulers and Guides but Pages is a good one to use as an example.

We are going to create a page layout document, not a word processing document, in Pages and then we get a blank document. Now right away you will notice that rules are available here at the top and at the left. If you don't see them this is where you can turn them on. You've got Hide Ruler and Show Ruler right here. So make sure that rulers are turned on.

Now that you have rulers you can of course use this as a guide to let you know where the edges of the pages are and where you are on a page. If I were to shrink down the document a little bit like that you can see there is the edge of the page, it is 8 1/2 inches wide which is the standard page.

You can create guides, or alignment guides, by simply clicking in the ruler and dragging. So on the left here I will click inside this ruler and I will drag to the right. At the top I can click in the top there and drag down. I can do this multiple times here to create a set of alignment guides.

If you want to move one that is already there you can hover over it and you can see that the cursor changes and you can move it. You see that you get a measurement there telling you exactly where you are going to drop this alignment guide. So you can align something precisely by slowly moving and dropping where you want. So I will put it there 2", I'll put this one there precisely 5", and put this one up here at 1", and put this one down here at 4". I've got these precisely set to where I want.

So now I have some alignment guides what can I do with them. Let me create a basic shape here, a box. I can move this box around and notice that when I move it near a guide it will snap to the center of it. I can very easily drag it up and down and you can see it snapping like that. I can have it snap that way as well. If I've got ones that cross I can very easily snap it to the middle of this. So it makes it very easy for me to say set up two boxes like this and set them so they both are aligned this way. That's what guides do.

Now if I drag and try to snap to the edges of it, you can see that it is not going to quite work. That's because if you go into Pages Preferences there is a section for Rulers. There I can change whether it only snap to the center or also to the edges. Once I turn on edges now you can see that the edges snap. Which is handy because now I can actually move an edge of an object so it snaps to these guides. I can place it precisely. If I wanted this one to match up for instance it is very easy to do and they align perfectly.

Now what happens if you have a bunch of guides and you don't want to use them. Like for instance notice that the bottom here is going to snap to the guide here but I don't want it to snap precisely. Once I start dragging I can hold the Command key down and once I do that it will ignore the guides and you can see I can place it precisely near the guide and if I lift my finger off the Command key you can see it snaps.

In various situations it doesn't work if you hold the Command key down first. For instance the Command key down first in this case will then change this to be rotation. So it is important that I start dragging first and then hold the Command key down in order to ignore the guide.

If you want to get rid of guides all you need to do is to drag over to the ruler again and it gets rid of them. It even makes it a little trash sound.

Now even if you have no guides you kind of have some invisible ones. Like for instance the centering guide. So right there at 4 1/4" you can see it snaps to that as well and I can do it down here at the middle of the page and it will snap there at 5 1/2". And things snap to each other. For instance here I can align these two edges like that with kind of invisible guides. I can align that edge there.

So it allows you align up objects with the edges of the page, with the center of the page, and with other objects automatically in Pages.

Some other things you should be aware of are more Preferences in here for rulers. For instance you can set the type of unit the ruler uses, whether or not to have 00 be at the upper left hand corner or to be at the center of the page. You can use percentages rather than actual units.

Also in word processing documents you can use some rulers. For instance you can enable vertical ruler in word processing documents. In addition here you have the color for the ruler. So if that blue isn't your thing you can then change the color and now you get something else.

Now Pages uses Rulers and so does Keynote. But other apps use it. Particularly graphics apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator. They have the basic functionality where you turn on the ruler so you can see them. You can drag alignment guides from the left or from the top and drag them off by dragging them up or to the left.

Learning to use alignment guides is an important part of creating complex layouts and graphics documents. So I encourage you to play around with them and get used to them before you need them.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 864: Rulers and Guides”

    6 years ago

    Very, very helpful.

    Question: How do you change how media are viewed in Pages? Suddenly mine are showing alphabetically, instead of chronologically. Also, they are now showing in a single column instead of in grid-like thumbnails. How to change???


      6 years ago

      Can you explain where you are looking exactly? Do you mean in the Media browser? The window you get when you click the Media button in the toolbar? Are you viewing photos? If they are in a single column, simply drag the bottom right corner of the window to enlarge the window.

        6 years ago

        Yes, I am referring to the Media browser. When I view photos, dragging the right hand corner simply makes the columns wider. I’d like to 1) fit more photo thumbnails into view, and 2) change the view from alphabetical to chronological.

          6 years ago

          You’re seeing something very different than what I am seeing. What version of OS X and Pages are you using? I only see icon view and the grid expands to include many photos horizontally when I expand the Media Browser window. I can view by event, photos (all), faces, places or any photo album I have set up in iPhoto. They appear to be chronological.

            6 years ago

            I am using Pages 09, version 4.3. I have OS X version 10.8.3, Late 2012 iMac. Yes, I see icons in first column, date in 2nd column, and size in 3rd column. I have now learned I can change to preferred chronological view by clicking the word “date” at top of 2nd column. I’d still like to view more than about 10 icons in 1st column.

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