How To Change Snap To Grid Settings In Photoshop

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While aligning layers in your project, the snap to grid settings can be a huge help or a massive nuisance. That’s why knowing how to change the snap to grid settings will make your life a lot easier, since you’re not forced to use snapping all the time.

Snapping automatically adjusts an object to sit at a specific point, pixel, grid, or guide, depending on the settings you choose. This is especially useful if you’re working with a grid over your canvas to guide your placement. The effect is almost like a magnet: if you hover an object close to a grid line, the object will “snap” over to fit into the grid. This will allow you that extra bit of precision when placing objects on the canvas and could give your project a cleaner overall appearance.

So to help you make the most of snapping, let’s break down everything you should know about using this feature of the program.

How To Enable Snap To Grid In Photoshop

To reiterate, Snap to Grid helps you precisely place objects in Photoshop by “snapping” the object to a particular position within the grid. To enable Snap To Grid, first make sure you’ve enabled a grid on your canvas. It should look like this:

If you can’t see the grid, go to View > Show > Grid. Make sure there is a check next to Grid.

Once your grid is visible, you can enable Snap to Grid by going to View > Snap To > Grid. Again, a checkmark to the left of Grid ensures it is enabled.

Now, any elements you add to the canvas will automatically “snap” to fit in with the lines of the grid.

How To Disable Snapping In Photoshop

There may be times when you’d like to disable snapping so that you can place elements freehand. Since snapping adjusts the location of your object automatically, even just barely, it may prevent you from placing your object in the specific area you want. Especially if that area isn’t lined up with the grid. 

For instance, I’d like my purple rectangle below to fit in line with the edge of the canvas so that no white is showing between the rectangle’s stroke and the canvas border.

But with snap to grid automatically lining the shape up with the grid, I can’t move it there without hiding half the stroke.

So, to move the rectangle where I want, I’d have to disable Snap to Grid. To do this, head to View > Snap and click to disable snapping. Once you’ve clicked, there should not be a checkmark next to Snap. 

This will allow you to freely place your object without the automatic adjustment fitting it into the grid.

You can also momentarily disable Snap to Grid while you’re using the Move tool by holding down Command/Control. Keep in mind that this shortcut only works with the Move tool active (shown below).

This shortcut will only disable snapping while you’re holding down Command/Control – beyond that, snapping will remain in effect until you uncheck Snap under the View menu.

What To Do When Snap To Grid Is Not Working Or Grayed Out

In some cases, Snap to Grid may not be working properly. Maybe your objects are not snapping into the Grid the way you’d expect, even though Snap to Grid seems to be enabled. Perhaps Snap to Grid isn’t even available for you, as the option is grayed out in your menu. Here are some easy fixes to these common issues with Snap to Grid.

– Make Sure You’ve Enabled The Grid

You can’t Snap to Grid if you haven’t enabled the grid! If you don’t see the Grid on your canvas, head to View > Show > Grid and make sure the option is checked. It should look like this:

– Try Snapping Only To The Grid

If your Snap settings are checked for too many different options, you could be confusing the program by telling it to snap to several different places. For instance, maybe you’d like the object to snap to a place in the grid, but you’ve also got Snap to Guides or Snap to Layers enabled. To check, head to View > Snap To.

It’s best to only check one option if you’re having issues snapping to the grid. Click the other options with a check beside them to uncheck them, leaving only Snap to Grid. This will allow the system to focus on only snapping to the grid, rather than all the other options.

Another way to try resetting your snap settings to one option is to disable the Snap command completely by clicking View > Snap so that it is unchecked. 

Then you can head to View > Snap To and choose Grid. This automatically enables snapping for the selected option and deselects all other Snap To options.

Both the Grid tool and the Snap settings are designed to help guide you as you arrange objects in your project. Now that you understand how to enable and disable snapping, you should find it much easier to get the exact composition you want.

With snapping under control, it’s time to learn how to make the most of grids and guides in Photoshop!

Happy Editing!

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I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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