Today’s lesson in our series on spacing your designs evenly around the page in Silhouette Studio is using Smart Snapping. (If you haven’t read the other lessons, start here). This is a relatively new feature in the software and one many people don’t fully understand. But it’s extremely helpful when you’re trying to align images. When used in conjunction with Move By, you have a very quick way to have your designs separated by the same margin.
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Smart Snapping review
I did a full tutorial on Smart Snapping that you can read here. Basically, as you move one image it shows you when you are lined up with another one so that you can align them easily.
Here are the main points–
- You won’t see them unless you’ve got at least 2 images on the page.
- It’s the moving blue lines you may see as you’re moving a shape around on your drawing area.
- When the blue line pops up, those sides of the image are at the same spot. They kinda click together. You can let go of your mouse and the images are aligned.
- It’s on by default but you can turn in off in the Page Setup panel, second tab (where you choose grid settings). You can also set up the tolerance, meaning how close the images have to get before the moving one snaps into place.
- The alignment is based on the bounding box, not the image itself. There may be extra space around it. That’s particularly true with text.
- You can align both the top/bottom and side of the images at the same time.
- When you select and move several ungrouped shapes at once, they individually snap to the stationary shape. If that’s distracting, group them at least temporarily. Likewise, if you are moving a single shape, it can only snap to one other one at a time.
- There are some tweaks coming to Smart Snapping in future Silhouette Studio updates.
Again, read that post and watch the videos there if you haven’t used Smart Snapping before.
Using Smart Snapping to space out designs
So, we know Smart Snapping helps with aligning, but how does it help with distributing your shapes easily on the page? You use it in conjunction with Move By. Instead of having to look at the locations of designs on the X and Y axis, maybe do some math, and then move them, you can do fewer steps.
- Put your images on the page and make sure Smart Snapping in on.
- Move one image until one edge of its box aligns with the edge of another. There will be a blue line between them. In this case, you can see I’ve also got the bottom edges aligned.
- Select one or the other to move by a certain amount — the amount of space you want. Here, I’ve moved my cow to the right .250″.
So instead of needing to check the location of the rooster, put the cow there and then move it, I can just use smart snapping and then move by a set amount.
The good news is that as long as you leave the panel open, the distance amount you input will stay and you can use it over and over just by selecting another image and using the arrow keys.
(Aren’t those designs awesome? They are Chicken Floral Lace and Cow Floral Lace. There’s also a pig in the series).
Pros of this method
- It’s easy to see when the shapes are aligned.
- This is the only alignment tool that allows you to match up the left and right side of images, or the top to bottom. All the others are top to top, left to left, etc.
Cons of this method
- Some folks find the blue lines to be REALLY distracting.
- You still have to use the Move By feature to keep the distances between your shapes equal.
There’s one more way to play with the spacing of images on the page. I’ll share that in our last lesson of the series.
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