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How To Dashed Lines In Illustrator For Beginners

Basics

Select a stroke and set the width and set the dash options via the stroke panel. They can be changed in many ways to create big or small spacing. Create a line path using the line segment tool and then window menu and stroke and et stroke color to black and set weight to 10pt and set dashed line ON and set to 1-1

Variant 1

Create a single line path. Set the stroke color to black and set the stroke weight to 10pt. Click on the stroke underline and you will see the weight, cap, corner etc.

Set the Cap to "round cap". Set the corner to "round corner". Set the dashed line to ON by clicking the check box. Set to 1 - 20 or 0.5 - 20 (you can set them to decimal values as well)

You can see the settings in the appearance panel for the selected path. Go to the graphic styles panel and add a new style with the current stroke settings. Creating it as a graphic style means the design can be applied to other artworks as well as used in future projects.

Width profiles

You can create many interesting variants of the paths by using the width profile which can be found in the top bar of the application. Many different designs can be created using this feature

Example profile

Select the artwork. Select the first width profile and then you will see small spots at the start of the line with the full size spots in the center and then again small spots at the end . Or use the width profile 4 option in the drop down list to create a large spot at the start shrinking to a smaller item at the end.

Width tool

You can also just modify the width profile by using the width tool in Adobe Illustrator to modify the art and the effect of the profile or use a tool like the WidthScribe plugin from Astute graphics to create some truly amazing themed designs

Other Settings

Of course, you don't have to use just the above and other settings work great such as

Weight 60pt and 1-120

Weight 20pt and 1-120

Weight 10pt and 0.5-120

Weight 16pt 2-30-2-30

You can also create some more interesting combinations by duplicating the paths and then shifting them slightly but keeping the paths on the same alignment

Appearance panel

You can also use the appearance panel to add multiple strokes to a single line and then you can also add multiple lines to the same line so you can generate say a pink item and then a black item and then a pink item and then a black item and so on. Select a line. Set stroke to white. Add a line with the settings applied. Go to the appearance panel. Add a new stroke via the right side menu. Set the color to black. Effect menu and distort and transform command and use move option to shift the black stroke. You can also use other effects with the artwork such as using the effect menu and free distort or create multiple lines by using the transform command in the effect menu with copies greater than 0.

gaps

Just set the gap for the line to increase or decrease the spacing between the items. Perhaps set it to 36pt or 50pt. You can also enter 36.5 or 37.5 etc, it is not just limited to integers.

Expand appearance

You can also simply select the artwork and use the object menu and expand the appearance and then ungroup the artwork to create a line of spots etc. Expand, you can add effects, modify the color etc

Blend Tool

A really useful and live way of creating a spotted design is just to select two spots, the same size or different sizes perhaps filled with black or perhaps just with a black stroke or perhaps a red stroke and black stroke etc and then click one with the blend tool and click the other with the blend tool. Double click the blend tool or press return and set to specified steps or specified distance and you then have a lovely line that is live and can be edited simply by double clicking the tool icon. I think this approach gives even more variations

Live transform effect

Select a small dot and then go to the effect menu and then distort and transform and use the transform command. Set the copies to 20 or so and set the move horizontal or vertical to 10pt etc

Repeat

You can also use the line with the powerful repeat feature via the object menu. Go to the radial feature with the path selected (generated by whatever means) and then you will see a circular design created and this design can be rotated and repositioned as well as the number of instances increased. You can also double click one of the lines and still edit the settings via the stroke panel (or transform etc) and the changes will then be reflected in all the other lines. You can then rotate the line etc and then exit the isolation / editing mode for the radial object.