by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (8)


May 18, 2012

When working with the Vector tools (drawing a Shape layer for example) Photoshop CS6 has a new preference to Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid. This option can be extremely helpful when creating objects that need solid, straight edges as it prevents drawing shapes that aren’t fully aligned to a pixel and are therefore created with anti-aliased edges.

This illustration demonstrates three options, the first shape was drawn with the Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid preference turned on and, as a result, all sides of the rectangle are solid (remember, even though the initial rectangle shape might not have been drawn in perfect alignment to the pixel grid, Photoshop automatically snapped the rectangle to that grid because the preference was turned on).

The middle illustration was drawn with the Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid preference turned off. This resulted in anti-aliased edges (varying levels of opacity) because the rectangle (the vector path) was not perfectly aligned to a pixel edge when the rectangle was drawn.

The final illustration is the same rectangle as in the second illustration, however the Align Edges option was enabled for the rectangle shape layer (in the Options bar) after drawing the rectangle. Enabling the Align Edges option “jumped” the edges of the rectangle to the nearest pixel grid (you can still see that the original shape (path) is not aligned to the pixel grid, but the fill is being forced to Align Edges to the edges of the pixel grid. Align Edge is a good way to align objects on a “per shape layer” basis if you want to turn off the Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid preference .

However, I expect that most people will leave the Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid preference turned on as it will help to avoid anti-aliased edges when drawing shapes as well as transforming them making alignment clean and precise.


  • By Imran - 6:42 AM on July 2, 2012  

    How do i turn off the Pixel grid… !

    • By Julieanne Kost - 4:44 AM on July 8, 2012  

      View > Show > Pixel Grid

  • By Jonathan Hurley - 7:56 AM on July 19, 2012  

    would be helpful if you could describe exactly how to turn on and off this feature.

  • By Pipo - 7:25 PM on August 14, 2012  

    This is one of the most annoying changes in CS6 – also, the effect on which when you drag a path segment, the other nearby segments are disturbed, this didn’t happen on earlier versions. I like it better before and pixel snapping isnt really a big deal, for sub-pixel alignment, you’d just have to zoom in and take a few nudges.

    By the way, I still couldn’t turn off the pixel snapping even with the pixel grid turned off.

  • By Aske - 5:37 AM on August 17, 2012  

    You can turn it off by going to Preferences > General (Cmd+K or Ctrl+K). It’s located in the bottom of the dialogue window. “Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to pixel grid”.

  • By Heath - 8:39 PM on September 29, 2012  

    The option is on the transform palette, if you “Show more options”, select everything on every layer, and untick align to pixel grid. Why this isn’t also under the view » snap settings is beyond me. It’s only useful when dealing with straight lines. The rest of the time it will mess with your ability to align things. If you duplicate and rotate groups where everything was perfectly aligned it will shuffle everything inside around 1px at time. If you don’t notice it raping your design early enough, you will have to go back and realign every point.

  • By beep - 5:30 AM on October 3, 2012  

    Why I have to buy CS6 to make it work? Why can’t you just update previous versions with this feature? This is very unfair!!!