20 Replies Latest reply: May 5, 2011 11:30 AM by tomaugerdotcom RSS

    Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?


      Wondering if there is any talk of being able to opt for "legacy" Smart Guides in Illustrator CS5?  I would upgrade for that feature alone.  The Smart Guides in CS4 are infuriating.  I know this is an old gripe.  And, yes, I'm aware of tweaking preferences and holding down command key.  It's still not the same...and not even satisfactory.  I would love a simple one-click option in prefs that would allow for the user to abandon the new smart guides in favor of the good ol' pre-CS4 smart guides.


      Anyone know?

        • 1. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
          Jooni Oy

          Second that! I didn't know about cmd click (thank's for the tip), but frankly, it should be the other way around -- cmd-click for the new features. This new "smart" guide thing is awfull...

          • 2. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
            pjm10 Community Member

            The smart guides are still useless in cs5, I guess not enough people have complained about them.

            Whoever in Adobe thought changing the cs3 guides to the headache rendering cs4/cs5 guides, should be in another job.

            • 3. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
              John Stanowski Community Member

              I pretty much started with AI with CS4.

              I'm just curious. What's wrong with the Smart Guides? Other than they don't work as you expect maybe 10% of the time.

              What happens when you hold the Cmd key?

              • 4. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                dirk_bricker Community Member

                It would be difficult to explain the difference to someone who didn't learn to love the pre-CS4 Smart Guides.  Consider yourself lucky that you are learning them fresh and are not continually frustrated that they have changed so drastically.


                For one thing, the new guides light up like the sky on the 4th of July when you try to move something around the art board.  Especially if you have a lot of points and shapes laid out in the piece.  There seems to be absolutely no rhyme or reason to the points that it chooses to align you with as you move something around.  Without getting into a lengthy and confusing description of their old behavior, I would simply say that it was much more simple to align something to that which you intended to align it.


                The new guides are too smart for their own good.  It reminds me of something Microsoft would do in trying to "improve" Office programs.  The "smart" software makes so many simultaneous guesses at what you are trying to do that it becomes completely useless.


                This is the very fist instance of an Adobe "upgrade" that has actually had a major negative impact on my workflow.  If I could buy a plug-in that would allow for the old Smart Guides to be restored, I'd pay hundreds for it.

                • 5. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                  pjm10 Community Member

                  I design furniture and also do a lot of custom interior drawings, the smart guides in cs3 worked fine, then came the screwed up cs4 guides and now cs5 with no improvement. The problem is it takes so long to get stuff aligned, you have too zoom to the max in outline view to keep checking your accuracy, if you forget to keep zooming in before you know your drawing is a mess. i think it might take me 4/5/6 times longer to do a detailed drawing. I use the cadtools plugin for isometric drawings, I find i have to keep correcting drawings with layer on top of layer, this is a terrible waste of time.


                  I just downloaded an autocad trial and plan on getting up to speed on that, ai cs5 is just a sore head.

                  • 6. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?

                    I am a Studio Manager managing a design team specializing in Real Estate and have relied heavily on Smart Guides when rendering/recreating various elements I use for my projects (floor plans, 3D stacking plans, Site Plans, logos etc). My entire office recently upgraded to Adobe CS5 and I haven't been able to adjust to the "new" Smart Guides. As described in the previous posts, the functionality is completely lost in the new version of AI. Someone should remedy this. It's incredibly frsutrating, the most basic function and purpose of the Smart Guides has been stripped (and I'm not sure holding the command key is an adequate solution - at the very least there should be a setting that would allow you to override the new settings so it could be used as it functioned in CS3). But then again - what do I know, I'm just a Graphic Designer. PS - thanks for the tips.

                    • 7. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                      pjm10 Community Member

                      Hi there,

                      The best and only thing you can do is go back to using cs3, I have tried everything and there is no smart guide fix.

                      After cs3 smart guides became useless for anyone that requires accuracy. I have cs3, cs4, and cs5 loaded, I find I use cs3

                      99% of the time.

                      The Adobe team ruined Illustrator after cs3. All the so called Adobe experts that find no problems with the smart guides

                      must be stupid or getting paid from Adobe. There is no cure, no key to press no setting to change, the best thing to do is get

                      a refund.      SMART GUIDES ARE F*****

                      • 8. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                        Doug Katz Community Member

                        So far I understand that everyone here is unhappy with post-CS3 smart guides. And obviously you all know what you're talking about. But I don't. I use CS4. What's different about smart guides in CS4 (and 5)?

                        • 9. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                          Jooni Oy Community Member

                          Yep... I feel you!

                          I decided to DROP OUT . I'm now officially ANTI-UPGRADING! (until the upgrade really makes a difference, which is common sense, I guess).


                          Meanwhile, I hope Apple comes up with a PS killer. There are already some nice alternatives like Pixelmator. It's much lighter and many features are way more usable than PS ever was.. and its cheap! AI alternative is Line Form.. well it takes a bit more to get around, but with a little usability enhancements it would be really good.


                          I use CS3  on a MacBook Pro (Snow Leopard, 8GB RAM etc...) and I use almost all the programs too, except fireworks (what's that for, anyway?). I know that CS3 only uses max 3GB of memory and it's not 64bit, but so what? At least I can have several programs running at the same time no problem. I rarely have trouble with memory or any other issues. AI crashes sometimes. PS almost never. Premier crashes often, so you learn to save all the time. After Effects is one of my favourite programs and it is stable enough in CS3.


                          I tested CS4, which was so buggy, and CS5 but I didn't find any of the new features all that usefull. Well, CS5 photoshop had a nice way of using layer styles.. BUT there were several issues in AI and PS that I find are still not corrected that I just don't see myself paying 1500 € to upgrade.. Maybe it's a matter of optimizing, but CS5 AE made my laptop totally unusuable when it was rendering..


                          I must say the "new" smart guide system in AI CS5 really pushed my buttons.. The best thing about CS5 was that you can actually UNinstall it.. which is more that you can say about CS4. I had to use time machine to go back in time before CS4 trial installation..


                          well.. nevermind me. I've been working with adobe software only since 1994. So, what do I know, right?


                          All the best to everyone

                          • 10. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                            Doug Katz Community Member

                            All the best to you too. So WHAT changed in the functioning of smart guides again? I guess I missed it the first time.

                            • 11. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                              Jooni Oy Community Member

                              Well. in CS3 the guides are smart


                              In other words, you have an object and you start to drag it with smart guides on, it remembers where it was and aligns to 0°, 45° and 90° baselines by default. So it's very easy to move objects in line without having to press shift etc. Furthermore, while dragging an object you can suggest new baselise by hovering over other object points, paths, handles etc. The points you hover over briefly stay in memory when you drag the selected object around the page and it becomes aligned with those points.


                              I think this is genius and very intuitive. I use it all the time... It's like "i want to move this square up the page and align it diagonally with the ball on the bottom".. So you grab the square and drag it over the ball when you move it to a new place it snaps to one of these baselines. Of course it will snap anywhere on paths as well.


                              In CS5 this intuitiveness is totally broken.. at least I hade no idea what it was thinking.. but it didn't feel smart


                              But, if it works for you, then great..

                              • 12. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                dirk_bricker Community Member

                                I hesitated to try to explain the old behavior of the guides, but I wasn't confident that I could convey the idea without making it more confusing to those who don't know what we are talking about.  But, you pretty much nailed it.  It is infuriating when I am dragging an object and hovering over a point on another object, expecting to be able to constrain my angles of movement from that point (as in CS3), and it just doesn't work.  And to make things even worse, sometimes the point that I want to align with seems to be the only point on the entire artboard that I CAN'T align with.  It feels like a deliberate prank.  "Smart" guide lines are lighting up all over the place like "Do you want to line up with this point? How 'bout now? No? This one? That one? Here? Here? Here? Here? Here? Here? Here?"  NO GODDAMMIT!  I want to line up with the point that I am hovering over....not every single other shape on the board.


                                That is the behavior that I was alluding to when I described this Adobe "improvement" to be Microsoft-Office-like. I don't know if any of you have had the misfortune of having to use Microsoft Word over the years, but if you have, then you know what I am talking about.  You type in the word "Dear" and the program assumes that you are trying to type a letter and starts making all sorts of suggestions and formatting changes and pulling up names from your contacts.  Or you type a bullet point and all of the sudden your margins and font point size and indentations and everything else changes because the "smart" program makes assumptions about what you are trying to do.  99.9% of the time the software is wrong and you spend 10 minutes undoing everything the program just did to "help" you. It used to not be that way.


                                I have grown to expect that sort of behavior from Microsoft and their bloatware.  Now I fear that we will be seeing more and more of this from Adobe in the future.  I think at some point certain software titles reach a point of maturity where the product works so well that the engineers and programmers resort to needless tinkering in order to justify their existence and put out a new and "improved" version when corporate says so.  Bummer.


                                It would be one thing if it were a give-and-take scenario.  If I found some of the new smart guide behaviors to be an improvement I would possibly accept the absense of the old behaoviors.  But that is not the case.  There is not one single new aspect to the smart guides that I find to be an improvement.  That feature is now completely blown for me in Illustrator....and probably will be forever.  It may seem like a tiny gripe to some people...but when you consider that I probably logged in over 2,000 hours on CS3 and grew to rely heavily on the behavior of its smart guides, these later versions of Illustrator have been like learning a whole new program in some ways.


                                If only I could convince all of my clients to upgrade from CS4/5 to CS3...

                                • 13. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                  John Stanowski Community Member

                                  I think the problem is that Adobe is trying to make all of their software more friendly for non-professionals ever since Photoshop became a household word. They're shooting for making it easier for new and casual users so as to make the programs more popular to the masses. And the professional users are  left to deal with it.

                                  • 14. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                    Doug Katz Community Member

                                    In the original post, there's reference to the inadequacy of the command key. The OP says he's aware of it but "it's still not the same."


                                    No, it's not.


                                    On the other hand, when I invoke the command key in CS4 as I drag an object that I want to align with a point I've hovered over or an object's edge or center, I seem to get exactly the same information and snap that I used to with CS3 sans command key. I seem to be able to do everything I could with smart guides. But I need the command key.


                                    Annoying. But no more annoying (to me) than the switch in the pathfinder panel... in CS3 I'd click to make a compound shape, option-click to make a compound path. In CS4 it's reversed.


                                    I have no investment in defending or apologizing for the Smart Guide changes. I too would rather not have to press a key -- any key -- for anything I do when I'm drawing or arranging. But unusable? Hardly in my case.


                                    Surely I must be missing something else about smart guides that's become unworkable in CS4 and CS5. I want to understand in what way they became dumb....

                                    • 15. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                      nyc_dsgnr Community Member



                                      I think your description of Smart Guides' shortcomings (in CS4/5) hit the nail on the head... I just hope the yahoos over at Adobe Central Command take heed and revise the set-up for the next go. I've given-up on Smart Guides (as much as I depend on them for my work), the funtionality simply isn't "smart" anymore (very "Windows-esque" as far as upgrades go).


                                      Thanks anyways.

                                      • 16. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                        allergygal Community Member

                                        The person that described it as lighting up like the fireworks, showing alignments to things all over the page is spot on. I continue to loathe these smart guides. Adobe took something that was simple and perfect in CS3 and totally messed it up. What they should've done (and I *really* hope they do in the next version) is split the smart guides into two separate features - a regular Smart Guides feature like in CS3 and another called Alignment Assistant or something like that to do all this other stuff. I'm sure there are people out there that love the way it works now, but I've never found the additional functionality useful at all. JUST GIMME MY REGULAR SMART GUIDES BACK!

                                        • 17. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                          Stein Franken Community Member

                                          I know this is an old post, but I thought I should share how I got CS5 Smart Guides to behave more like CS3.  There are two things to do. First off is you will need to change some preferences, and second is you are forced by the lovable knuckle heads at Adobe to forever press the Command (Mac) key.  Results may vary, so you will need to experiment with your settings to meet your needs.  My biggest caveat with Illustrator CS5 smart guides was that if I dragged an object over an anchor point and then dragged away the smart guide would not start aligning to that anchor point.  Instead as you all know it looks throughout the whole page for possible alignment options.  Crazy!

                                          Here are my Smart Guide preference settings:
                                          Simply check everything EXCEPT Alignment Guides (UNCHECK Alignment Guides)
                                          Set Constrain Guides to "90º & 45º Angles"
                                          Snap Tolerance is set to 4pt.
                                          --- All Done
                                          Now when you use the Command key it will behave like CS3.  I didn't spend any time making an exact comparison because I got what I wanted and instead took the time to make this comment.
                                          This fix is not rocket science and all Adobe needed to do was listen and tell us to turn off Alignment Guides and use the Command Key.  I guess their too busy evangelizing instead of listening.
                                          As a note: I LOVE Adobe, so that is why I will ALWAYS give 'em a hard time!

                                          • 18. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                            yunie_ Community Member

                                            wow. this is the single best solution I've came across the whole month. Great job! works like a charm!

                                            • 19. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                              tomaugerdotcom Community Member

                                              pjm10 wrote:


                                              The smart guides are still useless in cs5, I guess not enough people have complained about them.

                                              Whoever in Adobe thought changing the cs3 guides to the headache rendering cs4/cs5 guides, should be in another job.


                                              Oh ye gods. I've been using Illustrator since it was called Illustrator '88 (yes, that's right, 24 years.) Smart guides when they came out in Illustrator 8 (1998, folks, we've had them for 14 years) were a beautiful thing, if you knew how to use them (and how to turn them off when you didn't want them!!) the only realy drawback was that if you were drawing a freeform path and had forgotten to turn them off, you stopped editing the path when you pressed CMD-U, and had to pick up the path where you left off. A pain, but hardly disastrous.


                                              Smart guides in CS5 (goes for InDesign too) are one of the best improvements in over 5 versions, IMHO. AI8 Smart Guides really just fixed AI's horrible snapping (or lack thereof) and added some overlays. But it was still a very manual thing. Most people to this day still don't realize you can snap a smart guide on two axes at once (horizontal AND vertical). The new smart guides are truly "smart".


                                              Sorry, don't mean to troll and flame, but come on, just learn to use the feature properly.

                                              • 20. Re: Legacy Smart Guides in CS5?
                                                tomaugerdotcom Community Member

                                                allergygal wrote:


                                                What they should've done (and I *really* hope they do in the next version) is split the smart guides into two separate features - a regular Smart Guides feature like in CS3 and another called Alignment Assistant or something like that to do all this other stuff


                                                Despite my previous flame, this is a darned good suggestion and has my vote!