Introduced in Adobe Illustrator 8, Smart Guides help you manipulate objects in relation to other elements of your drawings. Unlike ruler guides and guide objects, these temporary guide rules appear as you create, move and transform elements and disappear when they no longer serve a purpose. Your Smart Guides Preferences determine how and when you'll see these guides. You can turn them on and off at any time. You'll find several circumstances under which Smart Guides won't be available in your current document.
Smart Guides Inactive
While you can hide all Ruler Guides and Guide Objects by choosing "Hide Guides" from the Guides submenu of Adobe Illustrator's View menu or hide just the ones on a specific layer by turning off that layer's visibility, Smart Guides use their own menu item to determine whether or not they're visible. If you've gone to the View menu and turned off Smart Guides, you won't see them unless you make a return trip to the View Menu and turn them back on.
Snap to Grid Turned On
Adobe Illustrator's Snap to Grid feature takes precedence over Smart Guides, so if you're using the layout grid to position items in your Illustrator file, you'll have to turn the grid back off to regain use of Smart Guides. Check your View menu; if Snap to Grid is active, you've explained your missing Smart Guides. Once you've turned Snap to Grid off, your Smart Guides should return, unless they're inactive. Don't forget that your layout grid can be visible without being active, as these two features use separate menu items.
Smart Guides Preferences
Adobe Illustrator's Smart Guides Preferences let you change the guide color, decide how close to another object you must drag or transform to make Smart Guides appear, and determine under which of several working situations your Smart Guides operate. You can specify that Adobe Illustrator show Smart Guides as you create new objects by turning on Construction Guides and specifying up to six angles at which guides appear relative to other objects. You can opt to display Alignment Guides to help you move and draw objects. If you turn on Transform Tools, Smart Guides help you scale, rotate and shear. You also can activate either or both of two sets of labels that show information about path intersections and tool measurements, and Object Highlighting to make it easy to determine over which object you're dragging your cursor. If you've customized your working environment by turning off any of these options, you won't see Smart Guides under circumstances that otherwise would trigger them.
Depending on the operation you perform in Adobe Illustrator, you may find that Smart Guides get in the way of your view of your work more than they assist you in completing it. For example, if you're moving an object past large numbers of other objects, especially small ones, or trying to scale an object by eye, you may find yourself squinting around your Smart Guides. In cases such as these, you can turn Smart Guides off until you need them again by visiting the View menu or pressing "Ctrl + U" (Windows) or "Command + U" (Mac) on your keyboard.
- Adobe Systems: Using Adobe Illustrator CS5
- "The Adobe Illustrator CS5 Wow! Book"; Sharon Steuer; 2010
- "Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium All-in-One for Dummies"; Jennifer Smith et al.; 2010
- "Illustrator CS5 for Windows and Macintosh Visual QuickStart Guide"; Elaine Weinmann et al.; 2011