I have a number of small icons all of which fit into a 32x32 pixel png with transparent backgrounds.

I wish to create a single large png which contains each of these icons in a 10x10 grid. I create a new image in PS which is 320x320px, and set a grid with 32px spacing, then turn on snap to grid.

I then open one of my icon files, select all, copy, then paste into the large image. The problem is that when PS snaps the image to the grid, it snaps the non-transparent pixels and ignores the transparent pixels around the edge of the icon.

Is there a way to paste the icons in so that PS will snap the 32x32 icon into the 32x32 grid instead of snapping the non-transparent pixels?


2 Answers 2


I admit this is more of a hack then anything, but I've always just plunked an almost completely transparent single pixel in the top left and bottom right corners. (Or, plunk one in the corner(s) that make the most sense.)

This way, when you make the selection, the 'boundaries' respect the actual rectangle you want, versus the boundary rectangle you'd otherwise get. When you then paste into a new document, or try and align to a grid, everything works as you'd expect it to.

The caveat is that you now have these little stray pixels that, if you're anything like me, may make your OCD flare up. The reality is, if you make the pixel(s) virtually-but-not-quite transparent, you'll never see them anywhere.

  • Tip: Crop to that out on export, then make the image 1 bx smaller in all directions. All nearly invisible markers gone. Hell now they can be bright as hell as they get cropped out. So one more line in your action will save your OCD some trouble
    – joojaa
    Jun 14, 2015 at 7:15

If you use File > Place and select your file instead of copying and pasting, the file will be on one layer as a smart object. This keeps the original dimensions of the file, and keeps transparent pixels on the edge.

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