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Moving objects 1pt and 10pt at a time Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

I have my document in Omnigraffle set to have a 10pt grid with 1 minor grid step. If I select an object and use the arrow keys on my keyboard to move it, it moves it by 10pt and if I press shift it moves it by 1.039 pt. How do I get it to move by 10pt and 1pt (which is how Photoshop and Illustrator work)?

If I set it to 10pt grid with 10 minor grid steps, the arrow keys move it 1pt at a time and shift still moves it 1.039pt. Where is this 1.039pt coming from??

- Bart
Here's the behavior I see with Snap to Grid selected*:
  • Arrow key moves the object one major grid step.
  • Shift-arrow key moves the object one minor grid step divided by the zoom factor.
In other words, with your grid, shift-arrow moves the object 1 pt at 100% zoom. At 200% it moves 0.5 point. At 50% it moves 2 pts.

This is somewhat reasonable. The effect is scaled to what you can see. If you zoom way in you can make very fine adjustments with shift-arrow; zoom way out and you can make only coarse ones. Arrow always moves one major grid step.

The rationale breaks down, though, when the zoom is not an integer or simple fraction. That typically happens when Fit in Window has been chosen as the zoom. If you see a 1.039 pt nudge, I'll bet you're at 96.25% zoom or thereabouts.

*For some unfathomable reason the keystrokes have the opposite effects if Snap to Grid is not selected: Shift-arrow moves a major grid step, arrow moves a zoomed minor step.

Last edited by john.gersh; 2012-11-30 at 06:59 AM..
Hmm... When I'm at 100%, major grid at 10pt and minor at 1, I am seeing the grid move by 10pt with the arrows, and 1.818pt when I shift-arrow.

I would never want to move things by a half point or anything finer than 1pt and 10pt, so for my needs the differences at the zoom level aren't necessary (but good to know). I zoom in to be able to see the 1pt move more clearly since it's a little hard to see how things line up when I'm zoomed out and there's a border around the selected object.
Aha, and thank you for pointing out the snap to grid difference. That was my next question... drives me crazy seeing the behavior change on some pages/documents, so I must have snap to grid turned off on some.
I'm afraid that my behavior analysis was all wrong. I generalized too much from the units in your example.

I looked some more and found that the real behavior (snap on, 100% zoom) is:
  • Arrow moves one minor grid division.
  • Shift-arrow moves one point.
Zoom affects shift-arrow in the same way as before.

I still can't figure out where your numbers come from.

One slightly-confusing UI feature: In the grid settings, the fields are Major Grid Spacing and Minor Grid Steps. In other words, the first is the length of a major grid step. The second is the number of minor steps in a major one, not the minor step length.

Last edited by john.gersh; 2012-11-30 at 01:44 PM..
I would love to hear an official response from Omnigraffle about this insane behavior (among many other insane behaviors in Omnigraffle, but that's another story). Maybe I'm just using this wrong, but I can't believe that there's only 1 thread with a few posts about this.

Anyhow, I *think* I understand how it works. I hope my post will be useful to others tearing their hair out trying to figure it out.


There are FOUR separate settings (major grid spacing, minor grid steps, snap to grid, and page setup scale) plus per-canvas zoom level, that will affect the way using the arrow/shift-arrow key to move an object will work. This is completely insane. I can't believe this is actually how it works!

Major grid spacing & minor grid steps control how many pts an object moves by using the shift-arrow and arrow key, respectively.
  • Example 1: Major Grid Spacing 10pt + Minor Grid Steps 1 = shift-arrow moves 10pt, arrow moves 1pt
  • Example 2: Major Grid Spacing 10pt + Minor Grid Steps 2 = shift-arrow moves 5pt, arrow moves 1pt
  • Example 3: Major Grid Spacing 10pt + Minor Grid Steps 5 = shift-arrow moves 2pt, arrow moves 1pt

But that's only true if your canvas zoom level is at 100% AND your page setup scale is also 100%. Canvas zoom level affects how much an object moves using the arrow key (but not shift-arrow). The relationship is inversely proportional.

Using the 3 examples from above, this is the behavior:
  • shift-arrow will still move objects the amount of pts described in each example (either 10pt, 5pt, or 2pt), regardless of canvas zoom level
  • @200% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 0.5pt
  • @50% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 2pt

Page setup scale also has an effect. For example, a page setup scale of 50% means that all the canvas zoom level is halved. So if you are trying to fit your wireframes on to a page by using some weird page setup scale, using the arrow key to move objects will result in some incomprehensible distance!

For the purpose of this explanation, though, we'll use a page setup scale 50% to illustrate the point. So, continuing with our example:
  • shift-arrow will still move objects the amount of pts described in each example (either 10pt, 5pt, or 2pt), regardless of canvas zoom level
  • @50% page setup scale + @200% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 1pt
  • @50% page setup scale + @100% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 2pt
  • @50% page setup scale + @50% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 4pt
  • @50% page setup scale + @400% canvas zoom level: arrow key moves an object 0.5pt


That covers 3 of the 4 settings. The last setting is 'Snap to Grid.' When this checkbox is selected, the behavior of the shift-arrow and arrow key in moving objects on the canvas is reversed.


Clear as mud? :-D

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