Gridlines: Display and Use in PowerPoint

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  • 0:01 Introduction to Gridlines
  • 0:38 Show Gridlines
  • 2:06 Gridline Configuration
  • 3:09 Smart Guides
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Gridlines make it easier to align objects on your slide by giving you a visual reference using vertical and horizontal intersecting lines. This lesson will introduce you to gridlines, configuration of gridlines and using the Smart Guide feature.

Introduction to Gridlines

When working with complicated slide layouts, gridlines make it easier to align images and other objects. Gridlines give you a visual guide that helps you to align and position your content more precisely on your slide. By default, gridlines are turned off, but when they are enabled, you will see a mesh of intersecting vertical and horizontal dotted lines.

In this lesson, you will learn how to enable and disable gridlines and how to configure them. In addition, we will look at Smart Guides that can also be used to help align objects on your slide.

Show Gridlines

One way to make gridlines visible is to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the View menu in the ribbon
  2. And look in the Show grouping of commands
  3. Add a check to the box on the left of the Gridline command

You will notice several vertical and horizontal lines that intersect. The lines are dotted and faded so as to not distract when creating your slide. They are much like the light blue grids that graphic artists use when they create and lay out their art.

Let's discuss an example where we are using gridlines to place and size two images. The first image is a house, and the second image is a tree. Both images are the same size. I would like to make the tree half as tall as the house. Let's make this easy. The gridlines form boxes. My house is four boxes tall, so to make my tree half as tall as my house, I can resize the tree, making sure it's only two boxes high.

If you want to align your text and images easily, enable your gridlines. Insert your images and use the lines on the slide to place them exactly where you want them. So, now that we have our gridlines turned on, let's take a look at other options for configuration.

Gridline Configuration

To display the Grid and Guides configuration dialogue box:

  1. Right-click in the white space on your slide. Make sure that you don't have any other objects selected.
  2. And then click on the Grid and Guides option.

The dialogue box shows three different configuration options.

  1. The first one is called Snap to. If enabled, your objects will 'snap to' the nearest intersection of lines, even if the gridlines are not enabled or visible.
  2. The second one is Grid settings. Here, you can choose to display the grid on your slide and set the spacing of the horizontal and vertical lines.
  3. And then, finally, the third one is the Guide settings. Here, you can choose to display the Smart Guides on your screen.

And just a note: Gridlines are not visible during a slide show and they do not show on printed PowerPoint documents.

Smart Guides

So let's move on to the Smart Guides. The Smart Guide feature is another way to align your slide objects. A nice thing about this feature is that if enabled, it activates on its own when images or other content is selected and moved. Let me give you an example.

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