Straight Lines

Feb 05, 2014


I find it extremely hard to create straight lines/arrows is there an easier way to do this? 

i.e. holding shift like other programs does not work.


46 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Mike, 

I'm not experiencing any problems drawing straight lines either. Could you tell us a bit more about what's happening?

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Brett Rockwood

I know what you mean. I've found it finicky  using the pie shape where I want to have one of the inside lines be perfectly horizontal or vertical. I don't have a solution and have just trying zooming in really close or making the object really large to allow more control and then shrinking it down. This happens even if you have the snap to grid turned off. Just seems finicky.

John Morley

Following the advice to hold down Shift while adjusting the end of a line or arrow (as with other programs) in Storyline 3, I get a strange mirror image jump (a line extending to the left of the cursor jumps over to extend from the right): definitely not what I want; especially since the line is still at an angle.

Is there some sort of preference that changes this behavior to make the line or arrow perfectly horizontal or vertical?


Crystal Horn

Hi John.  Thanks for bringing that behavior up for Storyline 3.  We have an issue of erratic behavior (like this) reported for Storyline 2, so it looks like it might have carried over into Storyline 3.  I'll be sure to document this for our team.

Holding shift will keep an existing line at the same angle as you extend the line.  

When I am creating a line, the holding the shift key to keep it level works as expected.  When adjusting a previously created line, however, holding the shift key is causing some weird behavior with the line extending in the wrong direction, and even appearing to move when releasing the mouse.

The only workaround I've noticed is to move your mouse cursor either above or below the "plane" of the line.  

So, if you see the line extending the wrong way when the cursor is above the plane of the line, pull your cursor below it.  And vice versa.

Here's a Peek screencast of what I mean.

I know that's weird and obviously not optimal, so we'll evaluate this as a team to see if we can get that key + mouse combination to work better.

Thank you again!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi JC,

I just tested again in Storyline 360, and didn't run into any issues drawing straight lines. Especially with the new guidelines that appear while drawing it was pretty easy. I also tried Crystals trick of holding down the shift while I was drawing and I was able to even drag that off in a different direction and still a straight line appeared.

Could you tell us a bit more about how you're working on drawing these lines and what version of Storyline you're using? 

John Morley


I am suffering the same agony: On a current project I am fine adjusting hundreds of lines. Hours could be saved if only Storyline offered the same behavior demonstrated in your video of PowerPoint, which I have become so accustomed to in other graphics programs that I just assumed would be a default in any software intended for professional use.

Crystal Horn

Hello JC!  We released object editing enhancements in November, and they include features to help with alignment and precise rotation of objects.  Ashley mentioned the new visual cues you'll get when drawing objects, and here's what that should look like for you in Storyline 360 when drawing a regular line:


You're using the freeform tool, however, and I see that those visual cues are not activated.  So that we can better understand your need, can you describe for our product development team how you're using the freeform tool?  For example, "It's better for me to use the freeform tool than a standard shape, or a group of straight lines because..."  I want to be sure we understand the pain point!


JC Blanchard

I use the Freeform tool when none of the other tools will do what I need: for example an irregular shape with straight lines and right angles.  But the reason why I'm using this tool is totally irrelevant.  The problem is the tool has no built-in functionality to help with drawing straight lines.  All I am really asking is to force the tool to draw straight lines (vertical and horizontal) and 90 and 45 degree angles when the shift key is held down.  Same kind of functionality you get with the rectangle tool that lets you create a perfect square when you hold down the shift key.  That's it!

I have made a feature request.

Thank you.

Walt Hamilton


I can understand your team wanting to know how and why people use SL, and used correctly, that knowledge can help guide future development.

On the other hand, JC is correct, why he uses the tool should not have a lot of bearing on whether it works correctly or not. It's not really a question that he is trying to use a hammer to dig a hole, and can be shown a better way; it is that he's using a shovel, but it only digs holes that are 6' wide, and won't dig an 8" hole. Don't ask why he wants an 8" hole; that line of inquiry is the path to the dark side.

You run the risk of falling into Microsoft's arrogant thought that "If we can train the user to use the tools the way we know is best for them, then we won't have to fix them."

Mind you, I'm not saying you did that, just passing along a friendly warning to be careful not to.

Mateusz Szuter

Crystal, would the object editing enhancements be implemented in SL3 or future SL4? Despite the annoying line thing since the SL1, since the last update I've realised, that snapping crashed at all.

If you check the options "snap to grid" and "snap to objects" storyline won't snap to objects, only to grid. When you move some objects (imagine you have aligned 20 lines inside some cube or something), these objects, instead of move as 'one group' moves separately, aligning to grid also. It basically goes wherever it wants. Aligning objects is now really big pain, almost everything needs to be corrected. It definitely shouldn't be that way, it worked quite fine since last update (however OEE looks really promising)

Crystal Horn

Hey everyone.  Thanks for the feedback - we take it all to heart.  As Walt alluded, I get as much information as I can so customers, community staff and our product teams can all get on the same page.  I'm sorry if my requests were taken any other way!

Mateusz, thanks for the detail on what you're seeing with the "snap" behavior.  Let me do some digging on that issue, and I'll update this discussion.  At this time, we aren't planning on adding the object editing enhancements to Storyline 3, and there isn't anything to share yet about future perpetual Storyline versions.

Crystal Horn

Hi Mateusz.  Thanks for giving me some time to look at the snap behavior with gridlines.  In Storyline 3 and 360, this is the behavior you can expect for single objects that are selected:

  • Snap objects to other objects:
    This setting will always align the object you're dragging to another object on the slide.
  • Snap objects to grid:
    The object you're dragging will move according to the increments you designate in the Grid and Guides spacing setting.  If the spacing is set to 10 pixels, for example, the object will jump 10 pixels at a time as you're dragging it.
  • Snap objects both to grid and to other objects:
    If the other slide object is not in line with the grid spacing, the object you're dragging will snap to the grid.

If you are using the grid and you need your object to align to another object that doesn't align with the grid, uncheck the box "snap objects to grid" to allow your selected object to align to the other shape.

We do see an issue when you have selected multiple objects and the option to snap to grid is checked.  Like you described, the objects get out of line with each other, rather than dragging as a cohesive group.  I'm documenting this behavior as a bug so we can address it.  

In the meantime, unchecking the box "snap objects to grid" should resolve this behavior for you, whether the gridlines are displayed or not.  I hope that helps in the interim.

Mateusz Szuter

Thanks Crystal, of course I'm uncheking "snap objects to grid" now to align items. But I'm pretty sure, that

[quote]Snap objects both to grid and to other objects:
If the other slide object is not in line with the grid spacing, the object you're dragging will snap to the grid.[/quote]

Was opposite before last update :) That snap to other objects had priority over snap to grid. Also, I think before last update, when using arrows without selected "snap to grid", objects moved by X (defined by user) pixels, and with holding control - by one pixel. Now, when I have deselected "snap to grid" and I try to move object by arrow - it goes by one, not by X pixels :(

Maybe it's my imagination and it was default behavior since the beginning, but I'm working with storyline for 5 years know, and my muscle memory now gets confused :)

However glad to hear that problem is investigated with groups, as it is the most problematic one.

PS Crystal, since you are 'nearest' :) member of the staff, and we can't PM staff members - could I contact you somehow in private to discuss one idea for the forums, which I strongly believe will get positive feedback from the community and all of us using Storyline? :)

Crystal Horn

Hey Mateusz.  Regarding your request to reach out directly, you can always reach our team and the support engineers here.  I’ve opened a case for us to communicate directly, so you should have an email from with my name on it.

I misunderstood the history of the “snap” behavior, and you’re absolutely right.  Beginning with the latest release, it will snap only to the grid when both options are checked.  I apologize for that lack of distinction.  Thanks for being persistent about your experience!  We’re treating this behavior as a bug.

As for using the arrows on your keyboard to move an object, I tested basic shapes, image files and characters.  Unless snap to grid is selected, those objects move by a single pixel using the keyboard arrows.  That behavior was consistent in all Storyline 3 updates, and in Storyline 2.  PowerPoint moves objects the same way.  

Walt, it sounds like you had a different experience with the arrow keys, but I’m having trouble identifying what you saw.  Can you share an example? If you’re able to record with Peek, that’ll help too!