I love alpha’s!  It takes all the hard work out of making the perfect title to match my layout, and I really love matching.  But alpha’s can be hard to use, with an alpha you lose the automatic alignment and kerning the font tool provides.  Today we are going to use a guide to align an alpha as our title.

Guides appear as lines that float over your layout.  Guides do not print.  You can move, remove, add multiple guides (horizontal and vertical) and lock guides.   You can show or hide your guides rather than removing.  Go to: View -> Show/Hide Guides.

My Supplies:

  • Tylann Stackers
  • Tylann Alpha
  • A photo of Tess
  • Photoshop CS5
  • My photo border & shadow style

Step 1

I open Tylann Stacker #3.  I drag in my photo of Tess and apply the resizing, border & shadow style.  Finally I open and drag in each letter I need from the Tylann Alpha, doubling the “s” for Tessa.

Step 2

I move the letters down to approximately where I want them.  I also resize them to fit my layout style.  I keep the “e” a little bigger, with the cute little bow it’s Tessa’s favorite letter in this alpha.  But with the differing sizes, the alignment looks too disorderly.   Using the alignment tool doesn’t help, so I insert a New Guide:
View  -> New Guide

Hint: I usually choose to have my New Guide appear smackdab in the middle by choosing the 6 inch mark as my position.

Step 3

I need to move my guide down to where my letters are.  I do this by hovering my mouse over the guide until the equal sign ( =) with arrows appears.  I can slide the guide into place by dragging (clicking + holding with the mouse).

Step 4

I use the move tool to manipulate my letters into position, aligning the bottoms perfectly onto the guide (except for my wayward “e”).

Hint: with the move tool selected, hold down the control key (Ctrl) and use your arrow keys to minutely adjust your alpha (or element or paper, etc.).  Conversely, with the move tool selected, hold down the shift key and use your arrow keys to rapidly move your alpha (or element or paper, etc.)

Step 5

You can keep the guide there, it won’t print, or clear it by dragging the guide outside the image window.  If you have multiple guides set up, it’s quicker to go: View  -> Clear Guides.  Add any additional touches to your layout and that’s it!