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Quick Create Evenly Spaced Guides With Gutter in Adobe Illustrator

There are several ways to create guides in Adobe Illustrator but only one quick way to create evenly spaced guides with gutter. At list I know only for this way. It is little tricky with one catch which is very easy to fix. Advantage of this method is that all you need to know is total, row or column width and gutter (spacing between columns or rows). Let me explain you with details.
Evenly spaced guides with gutter
Evenly spaced guides with gutter

Draw rectangle first
In order to quickly create guides first draw rectangle using Rectangle Tool (M) with exact total width and height (it is not necessary because you can change values later). It is desired to have blank layer or create new blank layer using Ctrl + L keyboard shortcut. To calculate exact size for example for 20 columns with Width of 40px and gutter of 5px, multiply 20x40 (columns) + 19x5 (gutter) = 895px. Do the same for rows. With Rectangle Tool selected click once on artboard where you want to position upper left corner of shape to open Rectangle dialog and type numbers in Width and Height fields. Ensure that chain icon on the right side is broken if you want to specify non-constrained dimensions. Chain icon means proportions will be constrained so you can type only Width (Height will be automatically calculated), while broken chain means that you must type both: Width and Height separately. You can type sizes in any measurement unit by the way, just do not forget to specify it after number like: 5in for example. Whatever to type in Width and Height fields that number will be converted to default measurement unit specified in Preferences > Units.
Specify dimensions in rectangle dialog in Adobe Illustrator
Specify dimensions in rectangle dialog in Adobe Illustrator

Create guides with Split Into Grid

After rectangle is drawn, ensure it is still selected or select it using Selection Tool (letter V is keyboard shortcut). With rectangle selected go to Object > Path > Split Into Grid
Split Into Grid command from Object menu
With rectangle selected go to Object > Path > Split Into Grid

New Split Into Grid dialog will open. Check Preview checkbox at bottom left side to see instantly result with specified settings in this dialog. Specify number of Rows and (or) Columns in Number: textbox. Height and Width will be automatically calculated. Next is to specify gutter (optionally). Again after specifying gutter Illustrator will re-calculate Height and Width. Total fields won’t change during this process. If you haven’t drawn rectangle with exact size you can type that sizes in Total textbox fields before specifying number of columns and rows.
Specify number of Columns, Rows and Gutter
Specify number of Columns, Rows and Gutter. Check Add Guides and click OK.

Last thing to do in this dialog is to check Add Guides checkbox in order to create desired guides. Click OK button to confirm and exit Split Into Grid dialog.

How to quickly delete shapes and keep only guides

When you are done, Illustrator will split drawn rectangle into many smaller rectangles or squares according to specified numbers and create guides what is our goal in this case. Now you probably want to get rid of shapes or small rectangles and to keep only guides. To do that from once first go to Layers palette and expand layer on which you hav drawn shape. There will be Group and bunch of paths below. Click on left side of Group (between layer color and eye which determines visibility of layer) in order to lock it. Paths will remain selected what you can see on the right side of path (square filled with color assigned to layer). Press Delete or Backspace key on your keyboard to delete all parhs or shapes, guides will remain locked on layer.
Lock group with guides in Layers panel
Lock group with guides in Layers panel

Move and align guides

If guides are not in proper location you can move them all from once. Here is tip: first unlock group with guides (click on padlock icon in Layers panel to disappear).
Unlock group with guides.
Unlock group with guides. Click on padlock icon in Layers panel to disappear.

Select all column or row guides using Direct Selection Tool (drag marquee over guides with Direct Selection Tool active). With all row or column guides selected, use reference point, X and Y text boxes to properly align guides to suite your needs for project.
Align selected guides from Options bar
Align selected guides from Options bar

Delete guides

You can also delete individual guides which are actually paths, select any guide using Direct Selection Tool and hit Delete or Backspace key. After aligning and cleaning guides it is recommended to lock them again from Layers panel for the simple reason because guides are paths and you can select them what can make you big mess and headache.
Select guides by dragging marquee with Direct Selection Tool or select individual guide by clicking it with same tool
Select guides by dragging marquee with Direct Selection Tool or select individual guide by clicking it with same tool

Change color of guides

It’s also easy to change default green color for guides. Since guides are actually paths you need to change Stroke color from Appearance panel. First unlock group with guides in Layers panel, select guides you want to change color with Direct Selection Tool by dragging marquee over them. Open Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and change Stroke color.
Change color of guides after selecting them from Appearance panel
Change color of guides after selecting them from Appearance panel

Convert paths to real guides

Although paths are excellent guides and you can draw any new object or to align objects to paths because Illustrator snaps to path every time you are enough close to it (Edit > Preferences > Smart Guides > Snapping Tolerance) when View > Smart Guides is turned on but you may prefer real guides. To convert paths to real guides first unlock paths or group with paths in Layers panel, select all paths and go to View > Guides > Make Guides (Ctrl/Cmd + 5).
Convert paths to real guides
Convert paths to real guides

Conclusion

This is quickest and easiest way to create evenly spaced guides with gutter that I know. Off course you can create and evenly spaced guides without gutter, just calculate total amount of space without gutter and set gutter to 0 in Split Into Grid dialog. You are welcome to comment with your tip or to submit your tutorial to publish it on this blog. I am also reading and watching tutorials and tips as you do right now, so do not hesitate to leave comment, ask question or contact me.

Reference:
Illustrator / Cutting and dividing objects
Illustrator / Draw grids

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Illustrator CS6

Tips 8486939278128242069

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