Align to Pixel Grid Missing In Illustrator? [How to Fix It]

Adobe Illustrator is a great program for not only photographers who want to create the best-looking photos possible, but also for pixel artists who want to create amazing designs! One Illustrator feature that many pixel artists enjoy using is “Align to Pixel Grid.” But, if you have recently upgraded to a new version of the application, you may notice that this feature is missing. How can you find it in the new version?

Adobe has moved the Align to Pixel Grid option in all Illustrator versions since 2017. In the right control panel, press the small menu button underneath the “X,” then check “Snap to Pixel.” You’ll see a small icon appear next to the menu, which you can click to align elements to the grid.

Below, we will discuss in more detail where to find the Align to Pixel Grid option, as well as some of the function’s best uses. Keep reading to learn how to create the best pixel designs possible!

Where Is Align to Pixel Grid in Illustrator?

While Adobe Illustrator is best known for its photo manipulation capabilities, making it popular among photographers, it is also great for graphic artists who want to create the best designs they possibly can. This is particularly true for pixel artists.

If you use Adobe Illustrator to create pixel art, you have probably heard of the “Align to Pixel Grid” option before. Some people enjoy using this feature, while others find it unnecessary for their work.

Illustrator Align to Pixel Grid Option Moved in 2017

Whether you want to enable or disable the align to pixel grid feature, you may have noticed that the option is missing from its old location.

If you’ve recently upgraded to a newer version of Adobe Creative Cloud from a version released prior to 2017, there are a few changes you’ll need to get used to. One of these changes is the “Align to Pixel Grid” option’s new location.

While it is a bit more hidden than it used to be, rest assured that the feature is still there.

How to Find Align to Pixel Grid in Illustrator

You used to be able to find this feature in Illustrator’s “Transform” menu. All you had to do was click the menu within the panel, then check “Align to Pixel Grid.” This allowed users to quickly activate and deactivate the function, depending on the design they were working with.

In newer versions of the software, the new align to pixel grid function is in the far right control panel. Follow these steps to find and activate the feature:

  1. Underneath the “X” button on the control panel, you’ll see a small menu. Click on this menu.
  2. Ensure “Snap to Pixel” is checked.
  3. With this option enabled, you’ll see a new menu pop-up beside the menu.
  4. Click the magnet symbol to activate “Align to Pixel Grid.”
  5. Click it again when you’re ready to disable it.
  6. Next to this symbol, you will also find a small arrow. Click this arrow to view a wider array of pixel snapping options.

Smart Guides Automatically Activates Align to Pixel

There are a couple of scenarios where you’ll find the align to pixel grid activated by default. This feature will already be activated when you’re working on an RGB document, as well as when you have “Smart Guides” enabled.

Smart Guides simplify graphic design by automating many of the tasks you’re already performing manually. They can help you:

  • Transform
  • Edit
  • Align different design elements on the page

You can find the “Smart Guides” feature in Illustrator by selecting the “View” menu, then checking “Smart Guides.” You can also activate these guides with a keyboard shortcut — Ctrl+U on Windows, or Command+U on Mac.

What Does Align to Pixel Grid Do in Illustrator?

If you’re new to Illustrator, or if you’re looking to improve the pixel art you create in this program, you may be wondering what exactly the “Align to Pixel Grid” feature is for and what it can do for your art.

Activating Align to Pixel Grid in Adobe Illustrator will automatically align newly-added elements in your art to the on-screen pixel grid. It will move all the horizontal and vertical segments of an object, allowing you to create the sharpest, most precise images possible.

In order to align an object to your pixel grid, you’ll need to ensure it has vertical or horizontal segments. Diagonal lines and curves, for example, cannot be aligned to the grid through this option. 

While not all pixel artists find this feature useful, many still enjoy using it. Activating “Align to Pixel Grid” can help you create what are known as “pixel perfect” designs.

What Are Pixel Perfect Designs?

Creating “pixel perfect” designs is the main reason many artists choose to use Illustrator’s align to pixel grid feature. But, what exactly is a pixel perfect design?

Pixel perfect design refers to an image that fully utilizes all the available pixels. This removes all imperfections from the design, such as blurring and distortion.

Why Are Pixel Perfect Designs Preferred?

The purpose of ensuring your pixel art is pixel perfect is to create the cleanest and sharpest image you possibly can. This is especially important if you’re creating pixel art for professional purposes.

When it comes to professional design, every detail matters. Slight imperfections in your image can make a website, brochure, or sign stand out for all the wrong reasons, but creating pixel perfect art will establish your business as a high-quality, reliable player in the industry.

Final Thoughts

Upgrading to a newer version of your favorite software, only to find that all your favorite features are no longer where they have always been, is frustrating for anyone. But, if you’re struggling to find Adobe Illustrator’s Align to Pixel Grid feature in the new interface, rest assured that it’s still there.

However, the feature is a bit more hidden than it used to be, and you have to know exactly where to look. After the initial work of finding the feature, you’ll have no problem using this amazing feature to create professional-looking, pixel perfect designs.