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Magnets and Snap = ARGH Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've said it before, but I want to say it again .. OG is a great product that is crippled by two things: magnets and snap. Every time I use it to create a precision diagram these both get in my way of a polished, professional diagram.

MAGNETS One simple but huge problem here: I can't place magnets on a snap point (e.g. snap to a grid). When I need custom magnets I have *no* way to align them precisely except by going to super-high zoom and dragging them by eye. This is crazy! To make things worse, the magnets "wander" under the mouse cursor, and try to snap to odd locations that are outside of my control. The result: frustration and connector lines that are off-vertical or horizontal. ARGH!

SNAP Mostly the snaps in OG are useful but as a drawing gets more crowded we end up with the "battle of the snaps", as grid snap and "same spacing" snap and others all come and go with the tiniest movement of an object. The result is (again) frustration as you battle the program trying to get an object where YOU want it rather than OGs guess. We *desperately* need a way to turn these individual snap modes on and off, or to at the very least turn them all off and just leave good old reliable grid snap on. I pretty much have to resort to typing in positions into the Inspector to make things align properly. And yes, I *do* use a grid, religiously!

Sorry to vent, but as I said, I *love* OG most of the time, but i keep getting badly bitten by these two frustrations. I'd *love* to see these fixed in a future release. Please please please??? :)
There are four "snappings," and if they're all turned on, I can see how they might interfere with placing things where you want. Controlling them can be a bit confusing, though.

Grid: There are controls in the Grid inspector and in the Arrange > Grid menu. Snap to Grid sets the global feature. Align to Grid is an action on the selected objects, and can be done even when Snap to Grid is off.

Smart Guides: The other snappings are controlled in Arrange > Guides. Check or uncheck Smart Alignment Guides and Smart Distance Guides

I'm not sure what you're talking about in the Magnets paragraph. Is the problem in moving a shape's magnets themselves using the Magnet tool, or in connecting lines to to a shape? I'd have thought that magnets would always be positioned relative to their shape, rather than to grid points. Magnets do snap to positions that are multiples of 1/4 of a shape's height and width as well as to the edge of the shape.

If you're talking not about adjusting magnet positions but on line-connecting behavior, there's another, perhaps-confusing issue. If "allow connections from lines" is set on a shape (Connections Inspector) and the shape has no magnets set, then a line will connect as if it's pointing to the shape's center. I guess that's as good a guess as any if you've said that lines should connect but haven't specified the connection points.
For magnets, I'm talking about positioning the magnets THEMSELVES on a shape, not snapping a line to a magnet. yes, I've noticed the 1/4 snap for the magnets, but apart form this the magnets seem to float around when you try to move them, with no snap to grid support. Yes, after they are positioned I would expect them to move with the shape (even go "off snap"), but i'd really LOVE to see the ability to snap a custom magnet to a grid point when editing. Without this, it's hard to align connector lines between shapes, and this results in lines that are not exactly vertical or horizontal, making them slightly jagged and unprofessional looking.
Here's a kludge that seems to work:

Put a magnet in the center of a 2x2 grid unit rectangle; the 1/4 snaps let you do that. Make the rectangle invisible - no fill, no stroke. That gives you, in essence, a portable magnet that snaps to the grid. Place it where you want it in your shape. Duplicate and place until done. Group the invisible rectangles and the shape and make sure "connect to its components" is checked for the group.

The only tricky part is that you can select the invisible rectangles only by dragging across them; there's nothing to click on. If show extras is on, though, you'll see the magnet, so you know where they are. Of course, you could make them invisible only after placing them, but that adds an extra step.

If there's a concern that the magnet carriers might extend the boundary of the group beyond the original shape, you can play around with other shapes as carriers and other places for the magnet on them.

Last edited by john.gersh; 2011-03-25 at 09:27 AM..

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