How to Enable Snapping in Affinity Designer

If you’ve worked in graphic design software very long, you know how annoying it is when you can’t get two elements to line up exactly as you want them to. Even zooming to 125% may not allow precise placement. Affinity Designer offers a Snapping tool that can be enabled to make quick work of object alignment.

Now that you know Affinity Designer offers a Snapping feature, let’s “snap to it” and see how to enable this handy tool so it works for you.

Using the Snapping Tool in Affinity Designer 

Think of the Snapping feature in Affinity Designer (AD) as a magnet of sorts. According to the product’s website, “snapping simplifies the positioning of new and existing objects by ‘magnetizing’ moved or resized objects to other objects or document elements.”

In short, individual elements can be moved and joined together in a quick and precise way that eliminates the need for white-knuckle mouse work by the designer. When snapping is enabled, you can drag one object close to another object and they will “snap” together once a certain proximity is reached.

Affinity Designer gives you a lot of options for what and how to snap things together. Combinations are endless as the items on this list can snap to either the same or different types of elements.

  • Text
  • Shapes
  • Lines
  • Images
  • Brush strokes
  • Selected areas
  • Object-bounding boxes
  • Geometry of an object
  • Key points of a shape

Enabling the Snapping Tool

Putting the Snapping tool to work for you is super easy. Plus you can set preferences that will control what Snap can and can’t do for you. 

To enable the Snapping tool, open Affinity Designer and find the main toolbar across the top of the screen. Find and click on the red magnet icon.

This will toggle the feature on and you’re good to go. If, however, you want to have better control over how Snap works for you, click on the small arrow beside the red magnet to open the Snapping Preferences box.

Deactivating the Snapping Feature

Sometimes you might not want to use the Snapping tool on a particular object, but you still want the feature enabled for the rest of the work you’re doing. Fortunately there is an easy way to handle this situation.

You can temporarily override the Snapping tool by pressing the ALT key while you’re moving an object into place. As long as you hold down the key, no snapping will occur.

You can quickly exclude an object from being a snapping candidate. Go to Layers, right-click the object, and choose “Exclude from snapping.”

Setting Snapping Tool Preferences 

The Snapping tool preference box displays all the snapping options available to you. To quickly use the Snapping tool in certain types of work, you can choose from a list of preset options – sort of a one-click spot – where all you have to do is choose the Preset you want and all the snaps will follow the rules of that preset. Or customize and save your own Preset for future use.

Screen tolerance

Screen tolerance establishes how close the objects must be before they snap together. Choose the desired distance from the drop-down menu.


Candidates are those elements that you can snap to each other. You can include or not include elements at your discretion. Candidates can be limited in three ways:

  • By the Candidates List, a predetermined number of objects that can snap
  • To the immediate layer or its parent layer
  • To the immediate layer and any layer beneath it

Snappable Objects

In the Preference box, you’ll see a lengthy list of objects that can be snapped to another object. A checkmark in the box beside an object indicates that it can be snapped to. A blank box means that the object is not available for snaps.

Specific snappable objects include:

  • Grid Lines on the page
  • Guides
  • Spread – the edge of the document
  • Margins – the page margins, including midpoints if selected
  • Objects with a bounding box
  • Key points on regular or irregular shapes
  • Object geometry – certain points on a shape that are within its bounding box
  • Pixel selection bounds – a selected area that allows snapping on the image’s edges

Final Thoughts

Affinity Designer’s Snapping tool gives you the freedom to be creative in a myriad of ways. Combining objects like images, shapes, and text with this simple feature means your graphic designs will have a clean, precise, and professional look about them that is pleasing to the eye.