I'm trying to make a hexagon style metro route graph. I started by sketching a bunch of 0deg, 60deg and 120deg lines as a triangle grid, so that when I sketch later, the cursor can be snapped onto the grid intersections.

When I started sketching, I noticed that none of the elements are actually snapped onto exactly the centre of intersections, they're just snapped onto the nearest integer pixel. I thought it is fine, the graph still looks pretty decent.

But when I started to add the circles representing stations, I noticed that they cannot be put onto the centre of the tilted line. I can modify the coordinates to some 3-digit decimal numbers manually, but there's still no way to make them EXACTLY at the centre.

Is there any way to fix it? Thank you very much.

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  • 2
    First never ever enable pixel snapping, nothing good comes form this its not even super beneficial for being pixel perfect. Second always drag with the white arrow tool but drag form the point you want to align so first move cursor over center and make sure it says center then drag to intersection, or point. Sometimes if there lots of snapping illyustrator disables some of the snapping objects, to get them all active hold ctrl down
    – joojaa
    Jan 14 at 10:49
  • 1
    I, would merely switch to outline mode to ensure alignment.
    – Scott
    Jan 14 at 21:03

There are a few methods, but make sure pixel grid snapping is switched off first. It'll likely mess everything up otherwise.

It can be done using guides, and enabling Smart Guides.

Drop a horizontal and vertical guide to intersect with the tilted path. Then you can move the circle and watch the centre intersect with the guides.


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Another way is by clicking and dragging the circle centre. You need to have the circle deselected first. Then mouse over the circle until the centre shows, then click and drag while holding down Ctrl. Not sure if this is any easier though, since grabbing the centre is a little tricky, but it's a few less operations than above. However using this method there's no horizontal guide to fix the vertical position, although you could drop one if needed, and drag the centre to the intersection of the path and the guide.


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Same method as above, but using a horizontal guide for vertical positioning

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Have Snap to Point =ON. Disable all other snaps!!!!!

Insert a new anchor point to the wanted place of the circle center if there happens not to be one. New anchors can occur only on a stroke if the stroke is not an edge of a closed path. They can also have inner and outer strokes which are more complex cases.

You get it easily to the crossing of two lines if you have Smart Guides =ON

In theory you could place the circle also by relying on Smart Guides, but it fails easily if the board has already many other shapes. You get too much false indications from Smart Guides. For example it would be very difficult to place the center of the green circle exactly to the crossing of the red and orange lines if there was no anchor inserted:

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So, Insert that new anchor point. Select the circle. drag it from its center. Hold Ctrl -key to get the direct selection tool into use temporarily. The center snaps to the node and gives a clear indication.

Useful to know: If you select your all black guidelines and apply Pathfinder panel's Outline every line will be splitted at every crossing. You get to the crossings anchors automatically. The lines become a single group with no color:

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You get the color back by selecting the group and applying a stroke color. The number of line splinters can be high, but you manage them easily because they are a group.

It's useful to lock the group to prevent moving it accidentally. It has a drawback: If you place a circle center to a crossing like presented above you will not get very clear indication which changes temporarily the anchor color. But snap to the point happens anyway.

  • You may want to tell how to disable snaps its not so self evident to go to preferences to disable alignment guides for example
    – joojaa
    Jan 14 at 10:55

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