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How to use guides in Gimp

Gimp has a nice feature that can come in handy on various occasions, let me show you the basic usage of guide lines or guides.

 
  Author: mat | Version: 2.8.0 | 23rd July 2012 |  
 
 
1.
 

Guides can be often quite an useful feature when designing things that you want to fit perfect. To translate Gimp guide lines into the real world:  if you want to make a straight line with a pen exactly where you want it to be, you need to use a ruler, guides are kind of a ruler but you can use as many as you want to.

Let's now see how the Gimp guides work, start with opening a random image.

 
 
2.
 

In the menu click View and make sure you have the following option set on active (✓): Show Guides, Snap to Guides, Show Rulers.

 
 
3.
 

Let's now bring the guides into the play.

Click and hold inside the vertical ruler (see picture) ...

 
 
4.
 

... and drag it and drop it somewhere on to the picture.

 
 
5.
 

And do the same with the horizontal guide line. Click and hold the horizontal ruler ...


 
 
6.
 

... and drag and drop onto the picture.

 
 
7.
 

This is how it should look like by now. Picture divided into four rectangles.

 
 
8.
 

Now create a new layer.

In the new layer settings window choose the Transparency and click OK.

 
 
9.
 

Choose the Rectangle Select Tool.

 
 
10.
 

And create a selection like I did, meaning from the edge of the picture to the guides you created a few moments ago.

Notice how the selection snaps to the guides as you are nearing them with you selection, like they were magnetic. This is a Snap to guides feature we activated in step two of the tutorial.

 
 
11.
 

Press D and then X to select the white foreground color.

In the menu click Edit and choose Stroke Selection...

Choose the Solid color and set the Line width of about 6 px or more if you are using a bigger image.

 
 
12.
 

Your selection has now a stroke of white color all the way around.

 
 
13.
 

Now do the same for the remaining three rectangles.

 
 
14.
 

Now create a new horizontal and vertical guide the same way you did in steps 3 to 6, but stop at the edges of your images (see picture).

 
 
15.
 

Create a new layer.

Choose Transparency and click OK.

 
 
16.
 

Choose the Ellipse Select Tool.

 
 
17.
 

And make a selection similar to mine.

 
 
18.
 

If your selection doesn't reach all the way to the guides you can do that now the same way I did, just drag and drop the selection edge until it snaps like a magnet to the horizontal guide line ...

 
 
19.
 

... and vertical guide line.

 
 
20.
 

In the menu click Edit and choose Fill with FG color.

Set the new ellipse layer opacity to about 30.

 
 
21.
 

Select the middle layer, the one with white lines.

 
 
22.
 

To get rid of the guides choose the Move Tool (press M for a keyboard shortcut).

 
 
23.
 

And just drag and drop them outside of the picture.

 
 
24.
 

Press Shift + Ctrl + A to remove your selection and you are done.

Hope you now understand how guides can make your life easier when doing certain things, you can use guides with the whole array of tools like Path Tools, Crop Tools, Selection Tools and many more.

For any further questions or comments click the Comment link and let us know.

 
 
 
   
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