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:

  • Connie Prince’s Be Bold Alpha (January 2019 Anthology)
  • A layout with Tessa
  • Photoshop CC (Adobe Elements has Guides too!)

Step 1

I opened a layout I finished recently of Tessa.

Step 2

I opened the folder with all of the Be Bold Alpha, Ctrl+click each of the 5 letters for her name. By holding down the Ctrl key, I can select items in a folder on my computer that aren’t right next to each other. It makes it quick & easy to drag all the elements I need onto my page.

Step 3

Once I drag the elements onto my layout, I need to click to accept each letter. See the check mark in my top tool bar?

Repeat with all 5  letters. You may have more or less letters, adjust accordingly of course. You will see the new letters appear in your layers palette on the right.

Step 4

Add a New Guide to your layout. Click on View in your top menu, then scroll down & click on New Guide:

A new box called New Guide pops up. I always type in 6 (in = inches is the default) so it is in the middle and easy to grab & move the guide. Click OK to add the New Guide to your workspace.

Step 5

Now you can see the New Guide as a bright blue, very thin, horizontal line. You can move this guide up & down by hovering directly over the guide with your mouse until a tiny equal sign with two arrows appear. Then click to grab it & move it.

Step 6

I can now drag my Alpha down into place, using the guide to ensure they all line up neatly.
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 7

It turns out my Alpha is too high and too big. I need to move my guide down a little and resize my Alpha a little bit smaller.

Step 8

With my Alpha in the right place & the right size, and neatedly aligned thanks to my guide, I only need to add a slight drop shadow to complete the look.

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!