Despite wishing to move from using Adobe Illustrator to Inkscape, I am struggling to do so in practice, the primary reason being that I rely so heavily on a particular functionality in Illustrator for which I can find no correspondence or easy solution in Inkscape.

NOTE: Because I cannot name the function but only describe it, I have been unable to check whether my question has already been answered!

Note 2: The reason that the title now includes information that I say I'm missing (!) ... is because I've edited the title in the light of the information I've now gotten, so as to make the title more useful to anyone looking for Smart Guides!

When I touch the pencil/pen tool to an already existing point in Illustrator, and then move the tool away from that point, Illustrator produces guide/snap dynamic snap-lines that indicate whether I am directly vertically or horizontally displaced from the touched point. Additionally, Illustrator will indicate whether I am at a 15 degree or 30 degree angle from the touched point, depending on various snap-settings.

  • The function is quite distinct from clicking a starting point for a line and then continuing to draw the line at some fixed angle away from the start. That, I can do without difficulty in Inkscape!

What is the name, in Adobe Illustrator, of the kind of functionality I first describe above? Is there an Inkscape function that replicates it? If so, how do I invoke it?

  • 1
    Smart Guides perhaps in AI?
    – Scott
    Aug 5, 2022 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


You seem to be describing Smart Guides in Illustrator.

Inkscape 1.2.1 now has something akin to Smart Guides, although they aren't called that in Inkscape. These are the new Alignment options in the Snapping panel. This is brand new functionality, so there may still be some bugs to be ironed out, but I've found them quite useful so far. Give the devs a break though, they've been working very hard on Inkscape recently to improve it, so if you find a problem, you should help them by reporting it on the Inkscape GitLab bug tracker system.

Anyway, here's how to use them.

Go into the advanced snapping options by clicking on the arrow next to the Snapping toggle button at the top right of the main window

enter image description here

click "Advanced Mode", and set up snapping while paying particular attention to the Alignment options.

enter image description here

The Alignment guides will show as you move the Bézier Tool (aka Pen Tool) B, or Draw Calligraphic/Brush Strokes Tool P. It also works with the other drawing tools, such as Rectangle, Ellipse, Stars+Polygon tools etc.

An example

enter image description here

They also work when moving objects around

enter image description here

  • That's just great! Hooray! Aug 6, 2022 at 12:00
  • May I suggest that you could add a single line to explain how to find the Snapping Panel that you illustrate. I might just be dim-witted, but it took me quite a while to find it. I first looked in Preferences Behavior Snapping, then in the online documentation. ... and despaired. Only later by luck did I find View Show/Hide Snapping Panel. I expect if you're very familiar with Inkscape, you'd know where to look, but many might not. Aug 7, 2022 at 1:10
  • @user02814 - done.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 7, 2022 at 11:08

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