I am wondering why the InDesign snapping and smart guides works like a dream, but when it comes to Illustrator it works so badly.

For example when I align stuff with snapping/smart guides etc turned on in Illustrator it snaps to stuff so inaccurately. It is so frustrating and tedious.

But when I use InDesign it does it how it should work. Is there something I need to change or tweak in Illustrator to get it to function how ID does or actually work properly? I am running 2014 AI still so if its been improved since then I may need to upgrade.

  • Illustrator has more things it can snap to just disable the other snapping points and it becomes more passive leading to less mistakes.
    – joojaa
    Dec 21, 2016 at 5:18
  • Seems I may have to do it that way if there is no work around. It drives me bonkers
    – Ninjab
    Dec 21, 2016 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


This may be obvious, but have you checked your preferences in both programs? There is an option in the Preferences dialog for both InDesign and Illustrator that allows you to set the snapping tolerance. In my version of the programs (CC 2017), in Illustrator it is called "Snapping Tolerance" under the Smart Guides section of the Preferences window, and in InDesign it is found under the Guides and Pasteboard section, and is called "Guide Options: Snap to Zone."

Both of mine are currently set to 4 pixels and snapping works about the same in both programs.

If that doesn't work, you can try resetting your preferences in Illustrator. Here is a link to the instructions: Resetting Illustrator Preferences. If you have done a lot of personalization of the Preferences, I recommend taking a few minutes to open each of the sections, and then do a screen capture of the settings you have for each one. I keep a copy of this on file for whenever I need to reset my Preferences.

  • Thanks for the reply. I have updated from 2014 to '17 and the snapping works a lot better, but I increased it to 6px and seems to be more friendly than before.
    – Ninjab
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:39

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