How to Make a Dotted/Dashed Line in Adobe Illustrator

Dotted/dashed lines are great for making illustrations in designs like infographics. You can also use dotted/dashed lines to create beautiful image effects.

Making a dotted/dashed line in Adobe Illustrator is easy. You don’t have to spend time downloading dotted/dashed lines for your designs. Instead, simply change the stroke settings or create a new brush.

Hi, my name is Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. I loved to use dotted lines as a beginner, but I struggled to make them. I remember duplicating tiny circles to form a dotted line.

Phew! Rooky designer (Lol).

That doesn’t have to be you.

In this tutorial, I will show you two quick ways to make a dotted/dashed line in Adobe Illustrator.

Key Takeaways

  • You can apply dotted/dashed lines to both open and closed paths.
  • The dash and gap length may change while you scale your object with dotted/dashed lines.
  • You can convert your dashes into individual shapes. Go to Object > Expand Appearance

2 Quick Ways to Make a Dotted/Dashed Line in Illustrator

In a minute, you can make a dotted/dashed line in Adobe Illustrator with any of the methods above. I’ll show you all the steps you need to follow.

Note: All screenshots are from Adobe Illustrator CC Windows Version. Mac and other versions may appear different. 

Method 1: Changing the Stroke Style 

With this method, everything happens in the stroke setting. Let’s see how this works in practice.

Step 1: Use the Line Segment Tool or the Pen Tool to draw a line. 

Step 2: Go to the Appearance panel under the Properties panel and click on stroke. You can also see the Stroke option on the Control panel.

Step 3: Adjust the stroke settings. You will see all the options to edit the line in the stroke panel. Change the cap to Round Cap and the Corner to Round Join to make a dotted line. 

You can also make a dashed line by checking the Dashed Line option. Change the Cap to Projecting Cap and the Corner to Miter Join

You can play around the dash and gap field to see what works for you.

Note: The gap value determines the distance between the dots (the higher the value, the longer the distance). The dash value determines the length.

Method 2: Creating a New Brush

If you want to make your customized dotted/dashed line, then try this method. 

Step 1: Use the Elipse Tool to draw a small circle.

Step 2: Open the Brushes Panel (go to Window > Brushes). Then, drag the circle to the Brushes panel. 

When you drag the circle to the Brushes Panel, you will see a new Brush dialogue window pop up, and the default option is Scatter Brush. Click OK.

Step 3: Select the line segment to draw a line. 

Step 4: Go to the Brushes panel and select the dotted line brush you created earlier. 

Tip: You can adjust the size and spacing of the dotted line brush by double-clicking it on the Brushes panel to reopen the brush settings. 

There you have it, our beautiful, evenly-spaced dotted line.

You can also make a dashed line with this method. Instead of drawing a circle, you can draw a rectangle. Then, follow the same process to make your dashed line.

Final Thought

Making dotted/dashed lines in Illustrator can make your design more fun. Plus, they are so easy to make. You can either manipulate the line stroke or make a dashed/dotted brush to draw lines. 

Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section.

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