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Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Using the rulers, guides, and grid

12/31/2011 6:07:43 PM
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Flash Catalyst offers four main aids to assist you while drawing. These include the rulers, the custom guides, a visible grid for measuring and aligning artwork, and the Properties panel for positioning and sizing objects down to the exact pixel.

Show and hide rulers

By default, rulers appear above and to the left of the artboard. The rulers help you position artwork, but they’re even more useful when placing custom guides. You can hide the rulers to gain a little extra room in the workspace, but they take up so little space you’ll probably want to leave them turned on all the time.

1.
Browse to the Lesson11 folder on your hard drive and open the Lesson11_Drawing.fxp file.

Rulers appear above and to the left of the artboard in the Design workspace.

2.
Choose View > Show Rulers to deselect it and hide the rulers.

The rulers disappear, creating a little more space above and to the left of the artboard.

3.
Choose View > Show Rulers to turn the rulers back on.

Rulers measure the height and width of the artboard in pixels. At 100% magnification, tick marks appear every 10 pixels and numbers appear at 100-pixel intervals.

4.
Change the Zoom Magnification to 800%.

As you zoom in or out, the tick marks and numbers in the ruler scale to accommodate the new magnification.

5.
Return the zoom magnification to 100%.

Edit grid and guide settings

Using the grid is similar to placing a transparent sheet of graph paper over the artboard. The grid includes perfectly spaced vertical and horizontal lines that help you align and draw perfectly measured artwork. You can change the default settings for all grid lines and guides in one location—the Grid & Guide Settings dialog box.

1.
Open the View menu and point to Grid.

Note

The grid does not appear in your published application.

The Grid submenu appears. You can show and hide the grid or turn the Snap To Grid feature on and off. Selecting Snap To Grid causes objects to snap tightly up against the nearest gridline when you position them in the artboard.

2.
In the View menu, point to Guides.

The Guides submenu appears. You can show and hide the guides, lock the guides in place, turn the Snap To Guides feature on and off, or clear all guides from the application.

Tip

In the menus, Show Grid, Snap To Grid, Show Guides, Snap To Guides, and Lock Guides are toggles. The same menu commands are used to select and deselect these options.

3.
In the View menu, choose Grid & Guide Settings.

The Grid & Guide Settings dialog box appears. You can change the color, opacity, and style (straight dotted lines) for the grid and guides. You can adjust the scale of the grid by changing the Width and Height values. The default is a 20 × 20 pixel grid. You can show or hide the grid and guides or turn snapping on and off. You can also lock and unlock the guide lines.

4.
In the Guides section, select Show and Snap. Make sure that Lock is deselected.

5.
In the Grid section of the dialog box, change the opacity to 50%.

Reducing the opacity to 50% makes the grid lines less distracting as you draw new shapes and lines.

6.
In the Grid section, select Show and Snap.

7.
Make sure the grid Height and Width are both set to 20px.

8.
Click OK to confirm the settings and close the dialog box.

The grid appears at 50% opacity in the artboard.

Set guides for precise drawing

Guides are another great tool for aligning and placing one or more objects in the artboard. Unlike the grid, you can place horizontal or vertical guides anywhere you want. Use the ruler for exact placement of your custom guides. The same guides persist across all pages in the application.

Tip

The guides you set for the main pages in the application do not appear when you edit a component in Edit-In-Place mode. When a component is in Edit-In-Place mode, you can place new guides that are unique to that component.


1.
Move the pointer over the top (horizontal) ruler.

2.
Drag toward the artboard. You will see a horizontal guide appear. Release the mouse button to place the guide in the artboard.

3.
Select the Select tool (dark arrow) in the Tools panel.

4.
Position the pointer over the guide. The pointer changes to a two-headed arrow. Drag the guide so that it’s positioned at exactly 100 pixels from the top of the artboard, as shown in the vertical ruler.

Tip

To remove a single guide, drag it off the artboard.

5.
Move the pointer over the left (vertical) ruler.

6.
Drag a vertical guide into the artboard and place it at 100 pixels from the left edge, as shown in the top (horizontal) ruler.

7.
Add two more guides: a vertical guide at 500 pixels and a horizontal guide at 400 pixels.

Using guides, you’ve created boundaries for a 400 × 300 panel that you’re going to draw using basic shapes and lines.

Tip

To clear all guides from the application, choose View > Guides > Clear Guides. Guides that you’ve set inside a component are not affected. To remove guides in a component, edit the component in Edit-In-Place mode and then clear the guides.

8.
Choose View > Guides > Lock Guides.

Locking the guides prevents them from being accidentally moved when selecting and positioning objects in the artboard.
 
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