How to Make a Dashed/Dotted Line in Adobe Illustrator

Wondering how you can make dashed or dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator? All you need to do is draw a normal and change the stroke style. 

A “dotted line” can be made up of squares, rectangles, circles, or any other shape. The instructions that follow cover both dotted and dashed lines and can be used interchangeably.

Dotted and dashed lines are treated as one and the same in Adobe Illustrator. While they don’t appear to be the same at first, dotted lines are really dashed lines with a dash length of 0. 

My name is Aly, I have been using Illustrator as a graphic designer for over five years now. In this article, I will be showing you how to create dashed and dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator. 

Method 1: Change the Stroke Style

Follow the steps below to create a dotted line in Illustrator. 

Step 1: Create a new document in Illustrator by going to File > New

Step 2: Start by using the Line Segment Tool to draw a line. Hold down the Shift key if you want to draw a straight line. 

With the line selected, you should see the Appearance settings under the Properties panel.

Step 4: Click on Stroke from the appearance panel. Find the box with a dashed line. Choose the rounded cap icon, which is displayed in the stroke panel below the weight selection. 

You can increase the Weight to have bigger dots/dashes.

Step 5: Set all dashes and spaces to zero to produce even circles. When you need, modify these values. Increasing the spacing will prevent the dots from overlapping and forming a line, for instance, if the dots’ sizes are increased.

Also, you may build a pattern or even a form for your line by adjusting the spacing sizes.

Method 2: Brush Tool

Step 1: Start by making a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L). Make sure this shape is chosen before selecting Create New Brush from the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) If you want a dashed line, create a rectangle. 

Step 2: Save the brush under Scatter Brush in the new brush settings. 

Step 3: From here you can adjust the size, spacing, scatter, and rotation of your brush which is what will be used to create the dotted lines. Try out your brush by selecting it, and dragging it across your artboard to see what your settings look like. 

Step 4: Create another new line, and then choose your new brush from the brushes panel to apply it. 

Tip: By choosing a different shape to “Ellipse” when generating your brush, you could use this technique to generate a variety of dotted lines, basically making them out of stars, rectangles, or any other form.

Final Thoughts

You’ve mastered the art of creating and customizing your dotted/dashed line! Your ideas and graphics can now have more variety since you can apply these skills to any line, including forms and image outlines. 

Any questions about making dashed/dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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