2.2. Guides

Figure 11.30. Image with four guides

Image with four guides

In addition to the image grid, GIMP also gives you a more flexible type of positioning aid: guides. These are horizontal or vertical lines you can temporarily display on an image while you are working on it.

To create a guide, simply click on one of the rulers in the image window and pull out a guide, while holding the mouse button pressed. The guide is then displayed as a blue, dashed line, which follows the pointer. As soon as you create a guide, the Move tool is activated and the mouse pointer changes to the Move icon.

You can also create a guide with the New Guide command, which allows you to precisely place the guide on the image, the New Guide (by Percent) command, or the New Guides from Selection command.

You can create as many guides as you like, positioned wherever you like. To move a guide after you have created it, activate the Move tool in the Toolbox (or press the M key), you can then click and drag a guide. To delete a guide, simply drag it outside the image. Holding down the Shift key, you can move everything but a guide, using the guides as an effective alignment aid.

The behavior of the guides depends upon the Move (Affect) mode of the Move tool. When Layer mode is selected, the mouse pointer turns into a small hand as soon as it gets close to a guide. Then the guide is activated and it turns red, and you can move the guide or delete it by moving it back into the ruler. If Selection mode is selected, you can position a guide, but you cannot move it after that.

As with the grid, you can cause the pointer to snap to nearby guides, by toggling ViewSnap to Guides in the image menu. If you have a number of guides and they are making it difficult for you to judge the image properly, you can hide them by toggling ViewShow Guides. It is suggested that you only do this momentarily, otherwise you may get confused the next time you try to create a guide and don't see anything happening.

If it makes things easier for you, you can change the default behavior for guides in the Image Windows Appearance page of the Preferences dialog. Disabling Show guides is probably a bad idea, though, for the reason just given.

You can remove the guides with the ImageGuidesRemove all Guides command.

[Note] Note

Another use for guides: the Guillotine plugin can use guides to slice an image into a set of sub-images.