Photoshop Grids: Creating and Using Them to Your Advantage

Create custom Photoshop grids in a snap.

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By making grids to aid in creating designs used on your products (and requested by customers), you can make the designs more visually appealing and create new layouts faster.

Begin by creating a new document, then add the grid function. Select from the top menu bar, View > Show > Grid. Now a general grid pattern will appear on your document. This is a basic, non-printing grid and is only visible in working mode, but it will help you get started making a grid to fit your project needs.

At this point, you can alter a few preferences to create a grid that works for you. The grid has thin dotted lines and thicker lines. By making some edits to the grid, you will be able to alter the color of the lines, spacing between sections and subdivisions (the thin dotted lines), and overall how the grid will look.

From the top menu bar, select Photoshop > Preferences > Guides, Grids & Slices. This will open a new menu palette to customize your grid. Begin by selecting your grid color scheme and style. Style choices include variations of dots, dashed and solid lines. You can choose to include subdivisions or not; the grid design will appear when editing where the gridlines will be and the number of subdivisions. A basic starting point is having gridlines at either .25- or .5-inch markers and a subdivision of 4. Your grid design is now complete.

Turning on the Snapping function on grids and guides will assist in aligning text, objects and any element in your design piece. To enable this option, select from the top menu bar, View > Snap. Then choose View > Snap To > Grid. Once this function is turned on, you will find items are almost magnetically drawn to grid lines and subdivision lines of the grids.

If you begin to find the snap function too confining, simply turn it off by choosing View > Snap To > Grid (again). Once your new design is complete or close to it, take a minute to turn off the grid and look at your design. You can do this by selecting from the top menu options, View > Show > Grid. This will allow you to look at only your design.

-Jennifer Foy, Unisub

Jennifer Foy

Jennifer Foy


Jennifer Foy has over 20 years of experience using Adobe software and working in the advertising, marketing, and design fields. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and a Master of Arts in Advertising from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes for colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director at Universal Woods with the Unisub and ChromaLuxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at [email protected]

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