Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 8 customer ratings

Angles, Nudge Increments, Guides and Grids


DirectPrefs is a completely free plug-in that seamlessly integrates into Adobe Illustrator. Access Illustrator's most useful preferences via one simple panel, plus set-up time-saving custom settings.

Learn everything there is to know about DirectPrefs in just 15 mins with these expert video tutorials.

Draw at Angles

Constrain Angle

Sadly Illustrator does not allow artboard rotation to ease drawing at an angle. This is the next best thing!

Effortlessly set and draw at any angle with the majority of native and all Astute Graphics tools. Three customisable pre-set buttons ensure quick changes, whilst integration with Dynamic Measure – part of VectorScribe, sold separately – brings even greater control.

DirectPrefs - Constrain Angle in action

Keyboard Nudge Distance

DirectPrefs - Keyboard Increment preference

Keyboard Increment

Using the arrow keys on a keyboard to move, finely position and step an artwork object(s) is a common task. Normally buried in Illustrator's extensive Preference UI, DirectPrefs makes the distance setting for this operation immediately available.

With three user-definable presets for each document unit of measurement (millimetres, inches,  pixels, etc.), you can switch regularly to ensure that each object is easily positioned just-so!

Control Guides and Grid

Guides and Grid visibility, lock and snap

There are 100's of keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Illustrator. We recommend you learn essential ones to speed up your creative process.

But if your head is full and you simply want to get on with being creative, these four buttons will make your life a lot easier, allowing you to control the visibility, lock and snap status of your guides and grid!

DirectPrefs panel
If you find DirectPrefs useful, please don’t forget to shout about it using your blog, Twitter, Facebook and other channels! Use the hashtag #astutegraphics. Thank you!

DirectPrefs does not require any license key or product activation. Simply download our latest unified installer by either requesting a 14 day trial of our plug-ins, or visit your account page.

When you run the latest installer, DirectPrefs will be one of the default plug-in installation options.

Due to the lack of licensing for this plug-in, it will not be listed on your account page or the Astute Graphics Licensing Summary window (Help > Astute Graphics > Licensing Summary…).

Recently-released Plug-ins

Currency converter

Currency conversions are estimated and should be used for informational purposes only.

DirectPrefs functionality

DirectPrefs functionality is found via its panel (Window > DirectPrefs > DirectPrefs Panel…).

Constrain Angle
  • Specify precise angle to draw at with majority of native Illustrator and all Astute Graphics tools
  • Three preset angle buttons, user-customisable
  • Quick "zero" reset button
  • Panel annotation highlighting angle
Keyboard Increment
  • Specify the Keyboard Increment native preference directly via the panel
  • Three preset distance buttons, user-customisable
  • Each document unit of measurement (millimetres, inches, pixels, etc.) has its own set of three preset keyboard increment values
Guides and Grid
  • Show/Hide Guides
  • Lock/Unlock Guides
  • Show/Hide Grid
  • Snap-to/No-snap Grid
DirectPrefs Customisation
  • Display/Hide each panel section
  • Auto Lock Guides when hidden
  • DirectPrefs settings retained between Illustrator sessions
  • Restore Default Preferences

DirectPrefs does not require any licensing. It is supplied freely and may be installed on all installations of Adobe Illustrator without restriction.

Upon first running Illustrator following installation, the DirectPrefs panel will automatically open along with a one-time "About DirectPrefs" window.

Note: the Protractor Panel which was part of previous versions of VectorScribe is now part of DirectPrefs (Constrain Angle functionality). The Protractor panel has been removed from VectorScribe v3.

Using our plug-ins

Installing and Locating DirectPrefs

To install, please refer to our step by step guide to installing with Astute Manager.

Color-coded Panels

Software Requirements

Mac OS
Illustrator CS6 to CC2019
macOS 10.10 to 10.14

Adobe Illustrator CS6 to CC2019
Windows 7/8/10

8 reviews for DirectPrefs

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    awesome – finally AI has a micro nudge, without permanently setting the keyboard increment to 0.1mm. [alt click the button if you’ve not found it yet]

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    that’s great…!!!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Finally… no more trip to the preferences dialog 100x per days! Thanks!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5


  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Quite a game-changer, but there are other candidates for inclusion: I’d find a direct toggle for area select (Object Selection by Path Only) very handy several times a day. Thanks.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love this tool, so simple and so effective! Really improves the flow of the work

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    OMG! How many times I could have used this…! great plugin guys, thank you! 🙂

  8. Rated 5 out of 5


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