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Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Lesson 7 of 23

Rulers and Guides in Adobe Illustrator

Brian Wood

Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

7. Rulers and Guides in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson Info

Rulers and Guides in Adobe Illustrator

I just want to talk to you for a few minutes about guides and grids and different things like that, okay. Alright, what I want you to do is come under view. And once you come down here, you're going to see that we have rulers. Take a look at rulers. We should see show rulers in there. Illustrator's actually a little interesting here because sometimes if you want to toggle something on or off, there's not a check mark next to it if it's on, it just says show or hide. What I want you to do is, go ahead and show rulers and click on it. And it's going to show our rulers out there. Now, this is kind of interesting. I'm not asking you if you're going to be very precise because you probably will at times, okay. There's times where I get in here and, actually I'll let you guys in on a little secret with the book, you're going to think I'm insane. But I will tell you anyway. For all of the different, I know this is really hard to see, by the way, but for all the little pictures in here that hav...

e vector artwork like I'm showing something that I'm doing, those are all hand drawn. Those are not screened like a picture of it, okay. I have a method, I'm not insane, okay. I have a method for doing this very quickly. I can get it done very quickly alright, but these are all hand drawn, the reason why is because the print beautifully then. If I took a screenshot, it's raster. Picture's a raster, so they might not look as crisp. And with this kind of book, things gotta be crisp, otherwise, people are looking at it going, wait a minute, did you click on that one or that one? My point here is that, I have to be extremely precise with these. Extremely precise. If you're creating artwork, like, if you're creating something like this, for instance, the cover art, maybe not as precise, right. If we need to precise, we can go in and use rulers. rulers allow us to go in and say how far way is something, for instance. And what we can do when we work with Illustrator is we can, like I said, we can be very precise. Now, I just wanted to show you this because if you show the rulers, we can go out and do things like draw guides out here to draw against, if you want to line things up, do things like that, okay. So we're going to just do a few of those, we're not going to get crazy here, we don't have too much time left. But you're going to notice that the rulers are out here on the horizontal, the top and the left over here, okay. Now, this is kind of wacky but, actually, I want you to show both art boards in the window here. I want to see everything we have. This is a little test for you. I'm going to come here to view. Fit all in window. Now, look at the rulers out there on yours. You're going to see that, where does the numbering start along the top, the horizontal? It starts on the far left art board here, right. You see zero up there, right. Here's what I want you to do. Click in the middle of the other art board. Click on the other art board. So I'm going to click on the smaller one, for instance. Now look at the ruler. This is interesting, alright. These are not, what are called, global rulers. They're per art board. Which is actually awesome. 'Cause if you're trying to put something on this art board right here and you're like, maybe it needs to be so far away from this corner, maybe, it always starts what's called a zero zero right here on the upper left corner of the art board. And then we work our way to the right and down. It's kinda weird, but it works its way down. So, you go zero, one, two, three, four, five down. I just wanted to point that out because, as you start to work with rulers, it might freak you out a little bit. So, if you click on each, you will see that happen. You could, if you want to make it work differently, we don't need to worry about that. Here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to draw a line. We're going to have a guide out here that we can use to line stuff up, okay. So to do that, just come up to the ruler up top, if we want to create a guide that goes across horizontally, we pull from the horizontal ruler. If you want a vertical guide, you pull from the vertical ruler. So come up from the top up here, click hold down and just drag down out here and you're going to see go across, just, I don't care where you drop it, just let go somewhere, doesn't matter. Now you're going to see that this is actually going across. You can see the guide right there. When you let go out here, go ahead and move your pointer off of it, move your pointer away from it. Did you see it change color, is it a different color? Yeah, mine's red, why do you think it's the color it is? It's on a specific layer, you guys, right? Guides are like objects, they're like a line you just drew. They're on a layer, look at your layers panel right now. Now, with the guide, the great thing about this is right now, it's selected, it shows you the color. Why don't you click anywhere else. Click in a blank area somewhere. And you'll see the guide for it's true color. Guides are aqua in color like a lot of applications. Guides you can move anywhere you want, if you want to, you can go just click and drag it. It's actually kind of annoying to do but you can come up to the guide itself, and you're going to notice these little smart guides kicking in telling you, hey, you're about to click on a guide, it says guide which is great. Go ahead and click on it. And then just drag it somewhere, drag it up, drag it down and notice what you get, you get a little distance measurement here. Let's suppose that I wanted to put it, you guys, I'm being a little precise here, being a little crazy but, I need this guide to be two inches from the top of the art board for some crazy reason. Look over in the left ruler over there. Can you see the two inch mark, way over here? Can you eyeball and hit it on two inches? Can you guys get it on there? I can't, I mean, it's really close, I might be able to and think I got it but... So here's what you can do, go ahead and let it go and you're going to see that it's still selected right. If we want to be precise, I want to point this out right now, because we're going to be using this a lot today, come up top up here and how many of you see the word transform up there, does anybody see transform? Does anybody see XYWH? Okay, if you see XYWH, you're all good, that's great. That means that your screen can fit what I'm about to show you. If you see transform, click on the word transform. You're going to see that these are what's called the X and Y positions of this object. When we work with XY, I'm not getting crazy here, we're not going to go crazy with this, okay. We can actually say how far from the upper left corner of the page is this thing or how far from an object or how far from something is this. So you can go in and change the measurements here and do it exactly. We're not going to do that, alright, so leave it alone. If you see the transform panel here, go ahead and either click somewhere or press the escape key to hide it. Temporarily hide it. Alright, now I want to show you a nice little tip here that even though, if you're a beginner, this can be really helpful. The shift key in here is going to be your savior, you're going to use it for everything. I use the shift key with a guide because it snaps it to your ruler, it's pretty sweet. So there's only a few little key commands I'm going going to tell you, I'm going to tell you about that you need to know. Why don't you take your little guide and kinda drag it, just start dragging it, click and drag. As you drag it, press your shift key, hold it down. Press and hold your shift key. And keep dragging. You're going to drag it where you want it and you're also going to go out, you're going to go to the transform panel and change the dimensions of where that thing is located to be able to get it there. Another thing that you guys can do is you can actually come over to one of the rulers of here, let's say, on the left and if you just double click on a ruler, go over here to the verb on the side. Just double click, click twice, click, click. You can set a guide too. I hate dragging them out, that's annoying. Alright, so anyway, those are guides, those are something we're going to be using a fair amount. If you need all your guides, leave them, live go do your thing, that's great. If you don't need some of these guides, you can delete them really easily. Just simply select it, you can click on it if you want. The one you just made, let's delete that. Make sure it's selected, just click on it to make sure it's selected. And just hit delete, press delete or backspace. These are just lines, they're just objects. Now, with guides, a lot of times I want to lock them in place 'cause I don't accidentally move them, do something weird to them cause they're, you can drag them and move them. If you come into the view menu, you're going to see that we have a command under there called guides and you can see there's a ton of things up there, in there that we can do. I just simply want to lock them, this means you cannot select them. To select them, you need to unlock them. Come back here, basically. Go ahead and choose lock, lock guides. And now, let me zoom out here, zoom out. If you try and click on that thing, no go. You can't do it. So those are guides. It's going to make your frustrated, you're going to have other people's files that they give you and they're going to have guides all over the place and you're going to be like, I want to get rid of them. I want to clear them, I want to hide them, I want to do things with them. But that menu command under view guides is the way to go. So that's where you're going to find a lot of it, so. Alright, let's go ahead and save our file. Won't you come to file. And come to save. And I think we've got it.

Class Description

This course is part of: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects 

Gain the fundamentals necessary to tackle the world’s best vector-based illustration software Adobe® Illustrator®. Brian Wood will take you step-by-step and explain everything a beginner needs to know to get up and running with Illustrator, including:

  • Interface & tools
  • Using the pen tool
  • Applying color
  • Formating Text 

In Adobe Illustrator CC for Beginners Brian will use a series of projects to teach you everything you need to create your first graphic or illustration. 

Software Used: Adobe Illustrator CC 2015



I've been trying to learn Illustrator on and off for years. This is the best instruction I've had! Brian is a great instructor. Finally feeling comfortable with it. It does use an older version but I just adapt.

Bill Neill

Great content and a good instructor. Not his fault the world marches on and doesn't stay in 2015. Any reasonably intelligent person will be able to figure out the changes since 2015 and how they relate to this course. It is early 2019, and I'm not having any trouble, but then I am reasonably intelligent and not to lazy to do some thinking.

a Creativelive Student

Pretty good so far but he's using a very different version of Illustrator and my currently updated version does not have the tool bars top and bottom for dealing with artboards.