In Adobe Illustrator, I want to align paths to their outlines (ie including the stroke thickness) and not to their underlying skeleton. When I move a path with the mouse, I however only see its skeleton move, not the entire stroke. Is there a way to change how paths are displayed during movement?

I want to perfectly align the actually visible corners of these two lines (as indicated with the broken grey line), but when I drag them I can only see the blue outline move. I can't use "Outline Stroke" because after alignment I need to continue doing some path-related adaptions.

Goal Goal

When manually moving only skeleton visible When manually moving only skeleton visible

2 Answers 2


You can't change how paths are displayed when moved; that will always only show you paths, not appearance. You can change how objects behave in regards to alignment etc. though; turn on "Use Preview Bounds" in the preferences:

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This'll use the visual appearance of objects (including strokes, effects etc.) to calculate alignment and transform values etc., instead of the paths themselves...

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If you really need to see strokes while moving an object and retain the strokes, the only workaround I can think of is to duplicate the object, outline the strokes of one and group them. Move the group and remove the outlined duplicate once you're done. It's not the cleanest of solutions, but it works.

  • Wow, I had no idea this was even possible.
    – Wildcard
    Jul 10, 2017 at 20:06

I have the same problem but I solved it finally after two days. You can go to Edit>Preferences>General>Performance then check the box of Real-Time Drawing and Editing, you can uncheck also uncheck the box if you want to see the “skeleton” again.

  • This is a new feature in latest illustrator. Was not available in 2017. You might be better of saying that since version so and so you can do this.
    – joojaa
    Feb 15, 2021 at 15:56

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