If you select with the selection tool (black pointer) it will be impossible to drag and snap an anchor point that coincides with a corner of the transform bounding box that shows by default when you select with the black pointer. This is how all objects are created the Rectangle tool - the corners of the bounding box coincides with the four anchor points of the object and you cannot drag the object by an anchor point but scale it instead. You can but you have to turn off Show Bounding Box from the View menu.
If you don't hold Ctrl while dragging to show you that you are intersecting the mouse pointer with a path this will not ensure snapping of the mouse pointer with the path when you drop. You will need this when dragging by an anchor point or if you want to snap to a particular spot on the path. For example, you may have an object and a guide intersect and you want to drag, snap, and rotate around this intersecting point when aligning it to another object.
You're correct, but the example illustrated didn't require dragging an anchor point. For dragging anchor points, the Direct Select tool is needed.
But if you just want to align the sides of two objects, the quick method I described works (and snaps) beautifully. Wherever two paths overlap, there is an intersect point recognized by Smart Guides. With a selection tool, you have to use the Control key to snap to the intersect, but with the rotation tool, you don't.
Yes, if you don't need to drag by an anchor point you don't need to switch tools, any selection tool will do it. And if you don't need to snap the point under the mouse to the path of the other object you don't have to hold Ctrl to see the snapping labels - just move the object with any tool or method that can move it and only make sure that the desired paths are intersecting regardless where.
... With a selection tool, you have to use the Control key to snap to the intersect, but with the rotation tool, you don't.
You need to hold Ctrl only when dragging objects with the selection tools. The selection tools will still show all snapping elements if you just hover the mouse over objects.
I'm not sure as to why they made it necessary to hold Ctrl in order to show all snapping elements when dragging with the selection tools. I don't see how this makes things better in any way. What will be really useful is if there was a toggle keyboard key that when pressed turns on or off the smart guides on the fly without interrupting the workflow. For example, currently when drawing a path with the pen tool, in order to turn on or off the smart guides, you have to interrupt the path drawing process.
Actually, what I'd use the most is a new shift that momentarily turns OFF Smart Guides. We use the spacebar as a shift for moving objects while drawing, and we could use, say, the Tab key to momentarily toggle the current state of the (new, all-inclusive) Smart Guides mode.
Can you use the direct select tool on a part of a grouped object to assign it as the "key object" and then align an item (not in the group) to it? It seems when I try this, the default key object is the one not in the group and I can't switch to make the other point my key object. I can only do this by ungrouping everything and using the plain old select tool.
It would save me time to figure out how to do this without pressing ctrl shift g alot! Thanks!
I don't think you can do it with just the direct select tool, but you can select an object in a group with Alt-DirectSelect, and then select another object outside the group (either with Alt-DirectSelect, or by switching to Select), and then (here you must switch to Select) select the already-selected grouped object and make it the key object.
The trick is that Alt-clicking with Direct Select just toggles the selection even when multiple objects are selected. So you have to go to the Select tool to set the key object.
I hope this helps -- it saves you from Ctrl-Shift-G all the time, but you do have to go back and forth between Direct Select (white arrow) and Select (black arrow).
One that doesn't seem to be documented anywhere is that the info window takes simple mathematical phrases, so you can type 456 - 34 px and your object(s) will end up at 422px. Works in Flash too. Now it if just supported brackets, we'd never have to bust out a calculator when we need to calculate an exact position for an object.
I'm guessing you mean the control panel (the bar across the top of the screen), not the Info window (a small panel with coordinates and dimensions, and optionally fill & stroke color values). At least I've never seen the info window being able to accept any kind of input.