In InDesign Creative Suite 5, grids and guides help you align elements on the page. Grids and guidelines can be shown (displayed) or hidden as needed. Grids and guides are similar, except that grids are designed to repeat across the page and be a specified distance apart. Neither guides nor grids print when you print your document.

Use grids when you need to align elements across a document. You can have objects on a page snap to the grid, which helps you to align or space several objects accurately.

Guides are only slightly different, because they’re often created individually, but they’re also nonprinting lines. Guides can be placed anywhere on the page (or pasteboard) and are used to accurately position objects in a layout. Objects can snap to guides just like they can snap to a grid. Grids differ from guides in that grids aren’t freely placed anywhere on the page.

The document grid is used for aligning elements on the page, and the baseline grid is used for aligning the bottom of text across multiple columns.

  • To show or hide the document grid, choose View→Grids & Guides→Show (or hide) Document Grid.

  • To show or hide the baseline grid, choose View→Grids & Guides→Show (or hide) Baseline Grid.

You can immediately see the difference between these two kinds of grids.

To snap objects in your page layout to a guide or the document grid, you must have snapping enabled. To enable snapping, choose View→Grids & Guides→Snap to Guides or View→Grids & Guides→Snap to Document Grid.

You can easily create a guide and show or hide guides whenever needed.

  1. Make sure that rulers are visible by choosing View→Show Rulers.

    Rulers appear in the workspace. If you already have rulers visible, the option View→Hide Rulers is on the View menu. Do not hide the rulers.

  2. Move the cursor to a horizontal or vertical ruler.

    Make sure that the cursor is over a ruler.

  3. Click the ruler and drag the mouse toward the page.

    A ruler guide shows on the page as a line.

  4. Release the mouse where you want the guide.

    You just created a ruler guide!

  5. To hide the guide, choose View→Grids & Guides→Hide Guides.

    This step hides the guide you created but doesn’t delete it. You can make the guide reappear easily in the next step.

  6. To see the guide again, choose View→Grids & Guides→Show Guides.

    The guide you created is shown on the page again.

You can edit the color of the ruler guide you created by positioning the mouse over it, clicking once to select it, and then right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking it (Mac) and selecting a new color from the Ruler Guides option.

You can also control the color of the guides and grid in your preferences. Access them by choosing Edit→Preferences→Grids (Windows) or InDesign→Preferences→Grids (Mac). When the Preferences dialog box opens, you can change the color and spacing of the lines. Click Guides & Pasteboards in the list on the left to change the color settings for guides.