One of the few setbacks in digital scrapbooking is the loss of proportion perspective. It’s hard to know exactly how big elements are or just how they line up – the computer screen doesn’t show the true size of the layout in its entirety, and it’s not like you can hold a rule up to the computer screen to measure.
Well, actually you KIND of can.
(Note: I've been told that Photoshop Elements doesn't support guidelines. Dude, bummer!!! The other stuff in this entry IS an option with Elements, though.)
“View > Rulers” gives you a ruler bar at the top and left of your open images. These rulers help you measure element/photo size, balance objects, keep proportions, and guide for exact placement. They’re also handy when you’re working on a two page layout, to know just where things will fall on each page (especially combined with a blue guideline, which I’m about to talk about. Example of that two page layout is below, the green and purple pages of me and my sister -- I made it so you can see the blue guidelines, which serves to remind me where each page begins.)
When these rulers are displayed, you can additionally create guidelines. In either ruler bar, click and drag to within the image –- this will create a blue guideline. Just release mouse where you want your line to go. Once set, they can be repositioned by dragging. The guides won’t show in a saved or printed image, but are there to help you line things up or divide up your image. (They can only be moved when the Move Tool is active.) You can create a new guide by typing in specifics through “View > New Guide,” but why would you want to? Oh wait! I just figured out why you would want to do that –- if you are working on a two page LO and you want a guide for exactly in the middle, you type in the inches for how wide one page is and that’s an easy way to divide the two pages. (Like for a 2 page layout of 8x8 pages, you open up a 16x8 inches document, then create a new guide with the “Vertical’ circle selected and “8 inches” for the position. That’s a little easier than pulling it over and lining it up with the midpoint by using the ruler.) HA. I learned something new today.
You can get rid of all existing guides through “View > Clear Guides.” If you still want them there but don’t want to view them, guides can be hidden through “View > Show > Guides” (the whole “if it’s checked they’ll show, if it’s unchecked they won’t show” thing.) You can also lock guides to make them immovable (through "View > Lock Guides.") Unlock them by selecting it again so there’s no checkmark.)
You also have the option of specifying that objects “snap” to guides – line up with them automatically when dragged in the vicinity. Select this feature through “View > Snap to > Guides.” (There has to be a guide already created to be able to choose this option.) This is a great way to make sure your elements really line up (when that’s something you want.) When I want to put eyelets on a rectangle piece of “vellum” (or even just a paper block for text), I draw my guides first, then put the eyelets in the inner corners of where they intersect – no more trying to make sure everything’s straight by eyeballing it! (see picture for example. The first picture shows my entire LO and the guidelines I drew for placing my eyelets. The second picture shows how those eyelets lined up within the guideline corners' intersects. I also used those guidelines to help me figure out the spacing and formatting of my text.)
Now even beyond the rules and guides, you can view a grid over your entire image. “View > Show > Grid.” (Obviously, to make the grid disappear again, do the “View > Show > Grid” thang again to uncheck the selection.) The grid functions much as the guides, but is uniform over your entire image. You have the option of making objects snap to the grid as well, through “View > Snap to > Grid.” (Here's an example of how the grid looks.)
If you have been working with Guides AND Grids and want to hide them for a while, “View > Show > None” will make them disappear. When you want to see them again, “View > Show > All” will give you back everything you had before.
One more thing about Rules, Guides, and Grids: there is a Preferences box under “Edit > Preferences > Grids, Guides, and Slices.” (Anyone know what a Slice is? I haven’t figured that out yet.) Here you can make color, style, and size adjustments for those things. Cool beans, huh!