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One of the most helpful, underutilized, and misunderstood tools in the Lectora developer’s arsenal is the layout and design guide. If you click on the View tab in the menu ribbon, in the middle of the view tools you’ll see the Grids and Guides group.

The most important thing to know about grids and guides is that they DO NOT APPEAR in the final, published version of your course — they are only visible during the design phase.

Using Grids in Lectora

I don’t see the grid tool used much, but it is priceless when positioning multiple items on the stage and trying to get spacing and layout right. To turn on the grid, click the Show Grids button — give it a second click to turn it back off. If you want objects to “snap” to the grid lines, make sure that the Snap to Grid button is active — it’s located just to the right of the Show Grids button. And to adjust the size and spacing in of the grid, click the options button to the far right-hand side of the Grid and Guides section on the View tab.

7-14-2014 10-30-42 AM
Grid and Guides section of the View tab; a few guides on the stage.

Using Guides in Lectora

Now we come to guides. Guides are much more subjective and course-specific than the grid tool. They work a lot like chalk lines that are snapped onto boards by construction workers. To create and position a guide, you’ll need to have Show Guides, and Show Rulers turned on (they toggle on and off with a click, just like the Show Grids button). To create a new horizontal guide, left-click on the top ruler, then drag the cursor to where you’d like the guide. To create a new vertical guide, left-click on the left ruler, then drag the cursor to where you’d like the guide.

Note: You can use the cursor’s coordinates in the bottom-left corner of the Lectora window to get precise in your positioning of the guide. Let go of the mouse button to drop the guide in place. And you can have objects snap to guides just like you do with grids by clicking the Snap to Guides button.

Bonus Tip!

The best part about guides is how useful they are. A lot of Lectora users are frustrated by what they think is a need to erase all the guides at once just to reposition one, or by using the Clear Guides button on the View tab. But that’s a misconception — you CAN reposition guides! To move a guide or remove an individual guide, hold down the CONTROL key while you left-click on a guide. Then drag the guide to its new position — or, to remove it, drag it off-stage, back to the ruler.

7-14-2014 10-29-05 AMHolding down the Control key and left-clicking on a guide lets you reposition it!

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