I'm having some trouble on Illustrator CS4.

I'm creating a metro map and am having trouble with items taking too much of a jump when I nudge them with the arrow keys. I've been through other threads and couldn't find a specific answer to my problem. I've deselected all the obvious grid options etc.

As you can see from the screen shots I'm zoomed pretty close in, and when I am trying to position the black dot (the first of many stations) precisely in between the edges of the brown line, one press of the arrow key is taking it too far to the left or right.

I'm also having this problem when trying to position the lines (for example where the green, brown and yellow lines run parallel) next to each other. I want them to sit completely flush with one another, with one not obscuring another, but when I am nudging them back and forth there will either be some overlap or a white gap in between.

Links to screen shots can be found below:



  • Welcome to GD.SE! The screenshots are far too small to be of any use. A few questions.... What is the key increment setting in the Preferences? Do you have Snap to Point or Snap To Grid on in the view menu?
    – Scott
    Mar 23, 2013 at 22:49

3 Answers 3

  • Preferences: Set the Keyboard increment to 0.025pt. This will let you nudge in very small increments.

  • Preferences: Tick the Use Preview Bounds option. This will use the visual appearance of the object as the edge rather than the underlying construction spine.

  • View Menu: Turn on Smart Guides. This will allow objects to snap to one another and present some visual feedback which may be helpful.


If you don't want to change any settings, you can also manually type in the X and Y position in the top toolbar. If you select a bunch of points (or objects) and input a number, they will all snap to it.


Click CMD + K


Choose Illustrator -> Preferences -> General

Then change the field marked Keyboard Increment to a really small number—something like 0.01pt. That will make the right and left arrow key nudging more accurate.

If you want to nudge faster once you've decreased your increment, you can just hold SHIFT down while hitting the arrow key.

  • Amazing, didn't even consider an increment below 1. First time on illustrator. Thanks guys. Mar 24, 2013 at 18:48

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