How to Turn Off Snapping in Photoshop

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The snapping feature in Photoshop ensures precise placement of shapes, paths, cropping, and selection edges. However, it can sometimes get in the way of freehand editing. Learn how to turn off snapping in Photoshop, so you can easily choose when’s the best time to use it or not.

How to Turn Off Snapping in Photoshop

To turn off snapping, go to View, uncheck Snap, and uncheck Grid, Guides, Document Bounds, or other snapping options. There should be no checkmark next to the Snap command. If this fails, you can try checking the software’s default settings and reset the Preferences.

Snapping adjusts placements automatically, so it can sometimes prevent you from putting an element to a specific part you want, especially if it isn’t lined up with the Guides or Grid. You can either disable snapping or select specific options.

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Specifying Snap Options

Aligning visual elements is among the easiest ways to improve designs, whether for screen or print. Photoshop’s Snap feature consists of a set of tools that make it convenient to pinpoint the right location for your layers.

You would notice a checkmark when snapping is active. To selectively disable snapping, go to View, click on Snap To, and uncheck one or more options from the submenu:

  • Grid: Grids are non-printing lines that can guide in aligning objects, texts, or elements symmetrically. This is a commonly used tool for architecture, real estate, and landscape photographers who need to straighten horizons and infrastructure.
  • Guides: Unlike Grids, Guides enable you to make every guideline. Once you disable this, there won’t be rulers for you to add guides.
  • Layer: Uncheck the Layer option if the layers snap back to their original position.
  • Slices: Uncheck the Slices option to stop Photoshop from snapping user slices when dividing a picture into smaller sections. This is ideal if you don’t need straight corners.
  • Document Bounds: Turn off the Document Bounds option if the crop tool tends to snap to the document’s edge.
  • All: Selects every Snap To option.
  • None: Unchecks every Snap To option.

Temporarily Disabling Snapping

Another option is to turn off snapping temporarily without unchecking the snapping function. Simply hold the Command or Ctrl key and click on a layer in the image window.

An image of Temporarily Disabling Snapping

Another option is to disable Auto Move, press the V button, and then turn off the checkbox for Auto Select Layer from the options bar.

Turning Off Smart Guides

Once you disable snapping, there might still be instances where a layer won’t line up to your preferred part in the document. By default, Photoshop keeps Smart Guides on to help align selections, slides, and shapes. This can sometimes be the culprit and have that snapping effect as you try to move layers.

There are common typography mistakes editors should avoid. However, some designs may require you to align a text in the center, even if there are inconsistencies with the font height.

With the Smart Guides on, trying to align the edges of the other text elements in a certain row would not be precise. Instead of snapping to the center Grid, Photoshop may try to snap either to the top or bottom alignment.

  • After disabling Snap, go to View > Show, then uncheck Smart Guides.
  • Another option is to head to the Page Design Tab > Align To, and tick off Guides and Objects.

Resetting Preferences

Snapping can sometimes be automatically turned on when you launch Photoshop. If the steps above are not working, this may indicate damaged preferences in the software. You can reset and restore settings as a troubleshoot for these unexpected behaviors.

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You may usually encounter this situation when pixels snap to the pixel grid. Check the Preferences Panel by pressing Command/Ctrl + K. Under the Tools tab, there would be a checkmark beside the Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid function. Do these steps to reset the Preferences.

  1. Head to Edit > Preferences > General.
  2. Click on Reset Preferences on Quit.
  3. Click OK on the dialog asking if you want to reset.
  4. Exit the program.
  5. Relaunch Photoshop and check the new Preferences file.
  6. From here, you can also view the Snap To options to turn off.

What Is Snapping in Photoshop?

Snapping is Photoshop’s way of guiding as you drag a layer or element in place. It aims to align whatever you’re moving. Imagine a magnet trying to guide a layer to the best position.

For instance, after setting your preferences for the Grid, you can also create Custom Shape Tools. You can drag an image to that shape, and it will snap to the shape’s size. As a result, you nail pixel-perfect placements because of the mesh overlay-like guiding lines.

The good thing is that these lines don’t show up on the file when you save or print it. To turn on snapping, go to View, then click on Snap. You can also select other snapping options, including Grid and Guides.

When to Disable Snapping

Asymmetry is an essential design element whether you’re creating a layout or editing a photo. Photoshop’s snapping feature can save you from frustration when texts, shapes, or pictures don’t align. However, it can also be equally annoying when it won’t let you design on your own.

The Snap function is an optional feature to use, particularly when the eyes can’t catch off-alignment, even for a few pixels. With that said, these are the common instances where it’s better to turn off snapping.

An image on how to turn off snapping in Photoshop
  • Autonomy in moving layers: Photoshop also allows you to move objects freely. Whenever the Snap function is turned on, Photoshop will inevitably guide the layers toward the Grid, Guides, or Document Bounds. Turn off snapping to freely move the layers to your preferred section of the document.
  • Size the cropping area: If you need to crop a picture close to the document’s edge, the crop tool may want to ‘snap’ to the edge of the document or layer the object. Turning off the Snap To feature will let you freely size the crop area.
  • Use a brush: When there are gridlines while drawing using the Brush tool, the lines or curves will try to snap, creating corners or pixel-like texture. Turning off Snap will let you create smoother lines.
  • Avoid resistance when moving layers: When you turn on Snap, Photoshop will move layers according to the Guides or Grids. It’s like a magnet pulls the layer, and you can’t avoid it. Once you disable it, you will notice a lack of resistance from the layer when you move it.

Related Questions

How Can I Move Objects and Layers Without Snapping?

To move an object without snapping, you can use the keyboard shortcuts Command/Ctrl + A, Command/Ctrl + C, Command/Ctrl + X, or Command/Ctrl + V. The second way is to use the Marquee tool, which can serve as an anchor point for the Marquee.

Can I Use Rulers Even Without the Snapping Function?

You can still use rulers even while Snap is turned off. Go to View, click on Rulers, and press Command/Ctrl + R. A ruler will appear along the interface’s top and left-hand side. Right-click on the ruler to change the unit measurement on the pop-up menu, which includes pixels and inches.

How to Hide Gridlines in Photoshop?

To hide visible gridlines, head to View and click on Hide Guides. Press the Command or Ctrl button with the ; (Semicolon) to toggle the guides on and off while editing.


Photoshop offers several tools and commands to keep your edits straight and precise. However, you can disable snapping if it’s stopping you from choosing a preferred movement or location. From here, you can try on other features until you find the process to make editing much faster and more intuitive.