How I can make my paths snap with each other? Even with Smart Guides and Snap to Point enabled, I can't make it work.

This is what I want:
Nice Snap

This is what I get:
Snap Fail

My Smart Guides settings

  • In Smart Guides settings, the unique option that is not checked is Construction Guides (when this option was checked, the snapping wasn't working too).
  • The Snapping Tolerance is set to 0 pt.

PS. Using Illustrator CS6 64 bit (v16.0).


3 Answers 3


Edit: I was wrong, Vincent is correct... Smart guides don't work on paths by default, but if you hold down cmd on a OS X or Ctrl on Windows while moving your object you will be able to snap to paths.

Smart Guides don't really work the way you want them to. I wish they did, but they don't. Smart guides really only work on an object's bounding box, so you can align to the center or any edge of the bounding box but not to arbitrary diagonal paths.

Setting a tolerance of 0 is useless, that essentially turns the feature off. I normally have a tolerance of 3 or 4 pt. But it depends at what scale you are working at.

In your example (if you set your guide tolerance to a more reasonable level), you should be able to align the horizontal edges of the two shapes but there's no way to snap the paths the way you want to.

Smart Guide Snapping

If you enable Snap to Point you can move one shape by dragging an anchor point and snap it to an anchor point of the other shape. Tip: use outline mode (cmd+Y) to check your paths.

Snap to Point Snapping

You can't snap arbitrary paths, but you can snap arbitrary points. Turn on Snap to Point and snap you objects by their anchor points, not paths.


I find that Ctrl / Cmd-click-dragging any shape or point with Smart Guides active, allows me to snap to existing anchors and strokes. All other snapping is off, and I disabled the bounding box.

  • Smart guides only work with points or the bounding box, not paths (unless they have changed in CC, but the docs still say they work on points)
    – Cai
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 12:48
  • @Cai I have no clue how or why it works, it just does :) It's CS6 I work with, for the record.
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 13:09
  • Wow... I feel a bit stupid now haha (it's cmd btw not opt)
    – Cai
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 13:17
  • @Cai Drat. I'm a Mac n00b and always will be
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 13:48
  • Don't worry... I've been using Illustrator for like 15+ years and I didn't even know you could snap to paths with a single button ;)
    – Cai
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 13:58

I was able to get this to work after plenty of frustration by doing the following:

  • Smart Guides: On
  • Snap to Point: On
  • Preferences->Smart Guides->Construction Guides: On (I also left everything else on except Transform Tools)
  • Most importantly was to hold down Ctrl before clicking on the object.
  • The reason control works is because it turns your black selection tool to the white selection tool. And the white selection tool is what one should be using 99% of the time. (conversely if you have ANY other tool working control turns it to black selection tool so there's really no need to ever have the black selection tool active)
    – joojaa
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 9:25

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