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Take the following code:

p = {3, 3};
Graphics[Circle[{5, 5}, 5], Epilog -> Dynamic@Locator[Dynamic[p]],
 Axes -> True, GridLines -> {{3}, {3}}]

Mathematica graphics

Whenever I move the locator close to the original coordinates (marked by the grid on the plot), it quickly snaps back to them. This means that I am unable to position the locator at around {3.25, 6}. It will either snap to {3.0, 6} or to {3.5, 6}. (Please see the image, it is at {3.5, 6} there.)

Is this a feature or a bug? If it is a feature, how can I turn it off? If it is a bug, how can I work around it?

Note that I am using Epilog because the graphics in my actual problem are slow to compute/render (large ListDensityPlot).

share|improve this question
Hmm.... I cannot reproduce it on Win7 M.8.0.4 - all is smooth. What's your system and version? – Vitaliy Kaurov Jan 18 '12 at 20:59
I also cannot reproduce it – P. Fonseca Jan 18 '12 at 21:06
I'm on WinXP. I got a confirmation in chat that someone else could reproduce it as well (I think on OS X) – Szabolcs Jan 18 '12 at 21:11
@Vitaliy Does that mean that you can easily position the locator to any point between $x=3$ and $x=3.5$ for a given $y$? – Szabolcs Jan 18 '12 at 21:12
I can reproduce it by even simpler code Graphics[Locator[]] (Win7 x64, M.8.0.4) – Silvia Jan 18 '12 at 21:36
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It seems using an EventHandler to simulate a locator will be smooth on my computer ( press Shift instead of press mouse button to active the locator ):

p = {3, 3};
  Graphics[Circle[{5, 5}, 5], Epilog -> Locator[Dynamic[p]], 
   Axes -> True, GridLines -> {{3}, {3}}],
  "MouseMoved" :> Null,
  PassEventsUp :> CurrentValue["ShiftKey"]],
 "MouseMoved" :> (p = MousePosition["Graphics"])


I think it's the AlignmentGuidesEnabled feature which causes the snapping.

Here are another two examples which display the problem:

  1. Putting the Locator in the "main part" of Graphics instead of in Epilog:

    p = {3, 3};
    Graphics[{Circle[{5, 5}, 5], Locator[Dynamic[p]]}, Axes -> True, 
     GridLines -> {{3}, {3}}]

    On my computer, the snapping occurs near the borders of the Graphics but not near {3, 3} anymore.

  2. Different Locator actions in one Graphics:

    DynamicModule[{v1 = {2, 0}, v2 = {-1, 1}},
        Line[{{0, 0}, v1}],
        }, PlotRange -> 3, Frame -> True]]

    On my computer (Windows 7 x64, Mathematica 8.0.4), the Locator v1 which linked to the Line moves smooth, but the Locator v2 remains snapping.

So it looks like the behavior of AlignmentGuidesEnabled. Use Ctrl+D open the "Drawing Tools" palette, there is a button at the bottom-left, toggle the AlignmentGuidesEnabled option off, the snapping will gone.

share|improve this answer
Silvia's example 2 doesn't need DynamicModule: try Module[{v1 = {2, 0}, v2 = {-1, 1}}, Graphics[{Line[{{0, 0}, Dynamic[v1]}], Locator[Dynamic[v1]], Locator[Dynamic[v2]]}, PlotRange -> 3, Frame -> True]]. This runs smoothly. – Tomas Garza Jan 19 '12 at 2:09
Using Module instead of DynamicModule will bring a syntax color which indicates conflict. Anyway, I think the key is the AlignmentGuidesEnabled option. Did you observe any difference on Locator behavior between on/off status of that option? – Silvia Jan 19 '12 at 2:35
It is indeed because of AlignmentGuidesEnabled! – Szabolcs Jan 19 '12 at 19:53

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