How do I use PowerPoint Gridlines and Guides?


To create professional looking slides in PowerPoint, it's important to get your proportions and alignment correct. Badly aligned and laid out slides can distract your audience and detract from the message you are trying to present.

While the PPT Productivity PowerPoint alignment tools make aligning shapes super easy, PowerPoint gridlines and guides are additional tools that can help you create beautifully laid out, well-proportioned and aligned slides.

PPT Productivity has enhanced the standard gridlines and guides offered in PowerPoint, by combining them with our No Fly Zone Feature.

In this post we will explain how to use PowerPoint rulers, gridlines and guides. Then we'll also show you how you can enhance the experience using PPT Productivity’s No Fly Zone functionality.

What are PowerPoint Gridlines and Guides?

PowerPoint Gridlines and Guides are useful on-screen visual aids that help you layout the content of your slides in your presentations. When enabled, they are visible on every slide in your presentation while creating or editing. However, the gridlines and guides will not be visible when you are in presenter mode, nor when you print a presentation. They are editing tools to help you in the slide creation phase of your presentation.

How do I enable PowerPoint Rulers, Gridlines and Guides?

To enable rulers, gridlines and guides in PowerPoint, go to the View tab on the top ribbon. In the Show group on the View tab you will see three checkboxes – Ruler, Gridlines and Guides.

To make these visible on your slides, simply check the check box for each option you want to see on the slide. I personally prefer to work with my ruler always visible, but I toggle my guides and gridlines on and off depending what type of slide I'm working on.

How to turn on PowerPoint Ruler, Gridlines and Guides

How do PowerPoint Rulers work?

When PowerPoint Rulers are enabled, they display to the left and the top of your slide when you are ‘Normal’ view. The center of both the vertical and horizontal rulers is set to zero.

Using rulers for PowerPoint slide layouts
How do I use Rulers in PowerPoint?

How do PowerPoint Gridlines work?

When gridlines are enabled, these appear as multiple evenly spaced horizontal and vertical dotted lines on your slide.

How can I add gridlines to my PowerPoint Slides?

You can use gridlines to manually align your shapes to specific areas of your slide. You can also turn on an option to snap objects to grid aka snap-to-grid, to make aligning to the exact location on your slide even easier. You can find this option by clicking the launch arrow in the bottom right corner of the Show group on the View tab.

How do I snap objects to grid?

PowerPoint snap-to-grid option snaps or moves the selected object to the closest gridline. When the snap objects to grid box is checked in PowerPoint, the feature will work even if the grid lines are not being displayed.  

This menu box also gives you the option to customize PowerPoint gridlines using the ‘spacing’ dropdown menu. Simply select the desired spacing for your layout. Check the ‘Display grid on screen’ box to view the changes being made to the gridline spacing as you make your selection.

Note that once you update settings in the Grid and Guides dialog box, if you want your new settings to apply to all presentations you open, select the Set as Default button.

How do PowerPoint drawing Guides work?

When PowerPoint drawing Guides are enabled, horizontal and vertical lines are displayed that cross in the center of the slide.

What are PowerPoint Guides?

You can move the standard center guides, or add more guides if required. The standard center guides are helpful for a slide with a framework or similar that is center anchored. For text slides, common practice is to move the guides to align to the left hand side of the title and text boxes for the vertical guide, and to the top of the text box for the horizontal guide.

To move an existing PowerPoint drawing guide, hover your mouse over the guide, and hold down your mouse as you drag the guide to the desired position on the slide.

To add more drawing guides to your PowerPoint slide, hover your mouse over an existing guide, then hold your mouse and Ctrl keys down (together) while you drag the guide to the desired location on your slide. Release the mouse key and a new guide will be added in the selected position.

To remove a guide, right mouse click on the guide and select delete.

What is the No Fly Zone?

PPT Productivity’s No Fly Zone feature has been included in our tools for many years, but an update in mid 2022 made the feature even more useful. The No Fly Zone (aka NFZ) was originally created as a visual guide to assist in keeping slide content within a designated area. Now it enhances the experience of working with PowerPoint grids and drawing guides.

How does the PPT Productivity No Fly Zone work with PowerPoint Gridlines and Guides?

The PPT Productivity No Fly Zone allows you to set a content guide based on your Slide Master, or your own custom preferences.

In the No Fly Zone settings, you can choose to show drawing guides on screen at all times or only when you have No Fly Zone visible on the Slide. You can also choose to add more drawing guides based on your No Fly Zone settings. This means you can manually 'snap' objects to the edge of the No Fly Zone to maximise the useable space on your slide within the content boundary.

In addition, when using the alignment tools or your alignment keyboard shortcuts on individual objects, the selected object will automatically align to the edge of the No Fly Zone (whether or not you have the No Fly Zone showing).

Using the No Fly Zone with PowerPoint gridlines and drawing guides

Collaborating with others on slides? Keep slide layouts consistent throughout your whole organization by sharing your custom No Fly Zone settings. Learn more about our PowerPoint Tools for teams

Want to create polished presentations faster? With PPT Productivity, boost your team's productivity with faster formatting, easier editing, collaboration tools and more! If you're not yet using PPT Productivity, download our free 30 day trial today. We offer free one-on-one training and flexible licensing to suit individuals, teams or enterprise.
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Feature Update Hints and Tips     PowerPoint, PowerPointGridlines, PowerPointguides, PowerPointalignment, PowerPointlayout, PowerPointhacks, PowerPointPresentation, ConsultingTools