How To Make A Grid In Photoshop (3 Easy Ways)

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There are multiple ways to make a grid in Photoshop, such as temporarily using one for alignment purposes or adding it as a grid pattern to your project. Regardless of what you need to make a grid for, you’ll learn about it here.

Let’s start things off by creating a temporary grid to use as guidelines for positioning or straightening layers in your project.

Option 1: Make A Grid In Photoshop Using A Grid Overlay

Step 1: Go To View > Show > Grid To Add A Grid Overlay

You can add the grid overlay to your canvas at any point while you work by heading to View > Show > Grid. You’ll see that the grid now appears on your document. If you add an image to your canvas, the grid lines remain as a useful guide on top of the image.

Note: Grid Overlays are a series of semi-transparent lines you can apply on top of your canvas to help you compose an image or place different elements.

Because this is just a temporary overlay to help with positioning, you won’t need to worry about the grid showing up in your exported project. You can remove the grid lines at any point.

Step 2: Go To Edit > Preferences To Change The Grid Appearance (Optional)

If you want to change the grid’s appearance, head to Edit > Preferences (Win) or Photoshop > Preferences (Mac) and select Guides, Grid & Slices

In the window that appears, you can change how your grid looks by editing the color and type of the lines (solid, dotted, dashed) and selecting the gridlines’ spacing and the number of subdivisions.

Option 2: Create A Grid In Photoshop Using A Custom Guide Layout

Step 1: Go To View > Guides > New Guide Layout To Create The Layout

Head to View > Guides > New Guide Layout to create the layout. This will bring up the New Guide Layout window. 

Here, you can edit the number of rows and columns the layout will show and the width between them. You can add margins on any side by checking the Margin box and setting the size.

Once you’ve set the Guide Layout settings, click OK, and the guide will appear.

Step 2: Saving The Custom Guide Layout As A Preset (Optional)

Once you’ve set the various settings, you can click the drop-down arrow next to Preset at the top of the window and select Save Preset. This allows you to use it again in the future.

The Save Preset dialogue box will appear. Here, you can set a name and destination folder for your Guide Layout. Once you click Save, the layout can be found whenever you’d like to use it again by clicking the Preset drop-down arrow and selecting the preset name you’ve just set.

Option 3: Make A Grid In Photoshop By Creating A Grid Pattern

Step 1: Create A 100 x 100 Pixel Document

The easiest way to apply a grid pattern is to create a basic square pattern that will show up as a grid when used to fill an element. To do this, you’ll first need to create a New Document with the same dimensions as the square you’ll eventually make to act as the base for your pattern.

In the window, we’ll set the Width and Height to 100×100 pixels, as this is the same measurement we’ll use for our square.

Click Create to create the document. Your canvas will be pretty small, but don’t worry — this is the size we need for the pattern to work correctly.

Step 2: Create A Square Using The Shape Tool (U)

Now, head to the Shape Tool (U) and make sure the Rectangle Tool is selected. Now, click on the canvas, and a dialogue box will appear. Set both the Width and Height to 100 pixels. Click OK to create the square.

It may not be placed correctly on the document, so you can move it to fill the document using the Move Tool (V). Click the square and drag it to fit perfectly in line with the perimeters of the document.

Step 3: Set The Stroke To 1 px And Black And The Fill To Transparent

Now, for this example, we will make a simple, transparent grid with only the square’s stroke (outline) visible. First, make sure your Stroke is visible by setting the color to black, the size to 1px, and the stroke type to solid.

Now, you’ll want to ensure the fill of your square is set to transparent. You can do this by clicking the fill box and selecting the Transparent icon (the first icon from the left).

The final shape will appear as a plain black outline of a transparent square. This will act as the base of your pattern.

Step 4: Create The Grid By Going To Edit > Define Pattern

Now, head to Edit > Define Pattern. The Pattern Name dialogue box will appear. Here, you can type in a name for your new pattern preset. Once you’ve added the name, click OK, and Photoshop will save the pattern as a new preset.

Step 5: Add The Pattern Into A Shape (Optional)

To test the grid, create an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (U). Make sure the shape is selected in the Layers Panel and head to the Fill box in the Options bar.

The Fill settings panel will appear. Click the Pattern icon at the top left to access your saved grid pattern.

Your custom patterns will appear below the various other pattern groups. Click on it to apply it as a fill. You’ll notice your shape is now filled with a grid pattern.

Now, you have a grid pattern you can access from your saved patterns whenever necessary. The process of creating more complex patterns from images is largely the same, although there are some important differences. My guide to creating seamless patterns in Photoshop will prove extra useful in further learning how to customize your patterns.

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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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