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My sad story

In the much maligned post-CS3 smart guides, there are some known problems. This Adobe forums thread is a good example. That was all very helpful but my problem is a little different.

I primarily use the Construction Guides feature and I often enter some odd ball numbers that I've derived from one geometry or another (like the example here). A very basic example is if I want to use 30° angles, like so:

enter image description here

Notice that I turn those pesky Alignment Guides off -- it's a matter of preference. In the new system (post-CS3), I have to hold command to make my Construction Guides show up. Dumb UX, but I'm a big boy, I can handle it.

My trouble is, the angles don't always show up. In fact, when this happens I'm often completely unable to revive them without a restart of Illy. On the other hand, the alignment counterparts are always happy to turn on ... even though I don't want them.

There are other times when I do get Construction Guides but only for 45° angles, regardless of what I change them to. They act more like their alignment counterparts but without the spastic guessing lighting up my screen.

In both cases, a restart of Illustrator usually corrects things. But this happens a lot. And those silly Alignment Guides are always happy to pop to life.

Getting to the point

Can anyone confirm that this is a bug, or my system is messed up, or I'm just not qualified to use this fancy new software? I do so love jumping back to CS3 when I need truly Smart Guides.

I'm on Illustrator CS5 v15.1.0 running in Mac OS X 10.7.3.

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yeah it's intermittent in CS6 as well. Even the 90° smart guides can fail to appear at times. Some sort of video or redraw bug..... which are fairly common in AI. – Scott Feb 9 '13 at 0:53
I'm afraid you may have the answer. But why do those silly alignment guides show up without fail? Curse you Adobe! – plainclothes Feb 9 '13 at 4:55
Terrible! AI's utility value goes down with each further release. 999 new snazzy filters and tricks don't interest users that use AI for a living - to ILLUSTRATE with. – Systembolaget Jul 4 '13 at 8:41
@Scott do you want to move your comment to a very sad answer and I'll close this one out? – plainclothes Aug 9 '13 at 0:12
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A very sad answer...

Display is intermittent in CS6 and CC as well. Even the 90° smart guides can fail to appear at times. Some sort of video or redraw bug..... which seem to be fairly common in AI lately.

Adobe did something to smart guides in CS4. They won't say what, but ever since CS4 smart guides have been much less "smart" than they used to be. I think it may have something to do with the multiple artboards in CS4+ and the artboard guides which were introduced in CS4.

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Is this still a problem? I've just lost about half (maybe more) of all Smart Guide functionality. For no apparent reason. Everything is still switched on, it's a relatively simple document with only one art board. Done some searching for a possible shortcut key I might have accidentally hit... nothing. I would never have called them Smart Guides before, but now they're just stupid. – Confused May 15 '14 at 20:25

I had been struggling with the loss of Smart Guides on specific documents from time to time as well.

Turning off Snap To Grid resolved this for me. Apparently, according to Adobe logic, you can't have both at the same time.

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Thanks for the tip, Jason. At the time, 'Snap to grid' was not a factor for me, though it did introduce it's own oddities. Scott's answer was correct. I still keep a copy of Illustrator CS3 around. Smart guides work and I can use Scriptographer. For everything else, I've moved on to Bohemian Sketch. I uninstalled Illy CC. No thanks, Adobe. – plainclothes Mar 19 '15 at 17:04
Turning off Snap To Grid resolved this for me. – Colas Sep 15 '15 at 20:21

Turn off Pixel Preview. This restored SOME but not ALL of the Smart Guide functionality.


I had full Smart Guide functionality in Pixel Preview previously. Not anymore - regardless of the following:

  • The first time I turned off Pixel Preview it didn't fix the problem of missing Smart Guide functionality.

  • If this happens... do a restart of Illustrator. Yes... this helped!

  • Now don't turn on Pixel Preview... more (but still not all) Smart Guide functionality comes back.

Adobe's probably got some explanation for this, as a feature.

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I don't really know if this is want you wanted, but i've noticed that construction guides only show up when you start creating a line from an "snap point".

E.g. Try dragging with the line tool from an empty area: you get no angle guides. But if you start creating the line from an anchor point, you should get snapping to the angles defined on the Preferences panel

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Thanks for the contribution and welcome to GraphicDesign! Let us know if you have any questions – Zach Saucier Feb 27 '15 at 14:56

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