Snap to Grid – quick tips for perfect alignment in Excel

Preparing an Excel spreadsheet for distribution to other people requires an additional focus on presentation. This article outlines a very quick trick to significantly improve the alignment in Excel which can improve presentation from good to excellent in seconds.

What is ‘Snap to Grid’?

Excel objects (images, hospital charts, controls, etc) are placed on top of the grid lines instead of being aligned to the grid in the same was normal cells are. The ‘snap to grid’ functionality enhances the standard Excel setting to make sure that all objects are perfectly aligned to the cell grid lines which improves the professional look and feel of your spreadsheets.

If you look carefully at the image below you will see that the graph does not align with the grid lines in the corners. Some people argue that this is only a subtle difference, but in my view this is as important as having professional presentation in your Word documents.


How do you activate ‘snap to grid’ in Excel?

Activating ‘snap to grid’ is easy. If you don’t already have the drawing menu activated the click View -> Toolbars -> Drawing and select the Drawing Toolbar.


You can now in the Drawing Toolbar select Snap -> To Grid.


If you now try and resize the graph from our first example you will note that the corners are ‘sticky’ and can only be resized in quantum steps which achieves alignment with the grid lines.


The image below is zoomed in on the chart to show the effect of ‘snap to grid’ on the corners of the graph.


Shortcut key to ‘snap to grid’

Instead of going through the Drawing Toolbar – > Snap – To Grid process, you can hold the ALT key while clicking and dragging the corners of the chart.

In a similar spirit you can also hold the Shift key while re-sizing any object in Excel to keep the height-width ratio unchanged.

Recent posts by Rickard Wärnelid


Comments for “Snap to Grid – quick tips for perfect alignment in Excel”

  1. Gavin Townshend says:

    Very simple technique that adds that little extra edge (excuse the pun) to your model presentation. I use this shortcut key all the time now after learning about it recently.

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