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Dotted Line Creation in Adobe Illustrator Tutorial How To Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


How to create a dotted / dot line in Adobe Illustrator for a stroke. The dotted paths can be created using the dash settings in Adobe Illustrator for the stroke.


dotted line tutorial for Adobe IllustratorSelect a stroke and set the width and set the dash options via the stroke panel. The dotted lines / dots can be changed in many ways to create big or small gaps in Adobe Illustrator.


The size of the dotted line paths can be change. The dotted line paths can also be modified by using variable stroke widths. You can use the dotted line / dots with many path types such as circles and line segments as well as using the dotted line paths with appearances to create dotted burst designs.


The dotted lines can also be used with the appearance panel to create multiple dotted lines with a single path and also the results can be saved as graphic styles. This tutorial shows you a number of ways and settings for creating interesting dotted lines / dot line paths in Adobe Illustrator such as combinations of dots, different color dot paths, dot paths around circles and frames and more.

  1. Create a line path using the line segment tool in Adobe Illustrator

  2. Window menu and stroke

  3. Set stroke color to black and set weight to 10pt

  4. Set dashed line ON

  5. Set dash to 1pt and 20pt gap for a single dotted line path

Dot steps in Adobe Illustrator

dotted circle path in Adobe Illustrator line design

You want a dotted line in Adobe Illustrator - this is a quick guide to creating the dotted line in seconds as a vector design for your projects


Of course, you could create a quick dotted line in Adobe Illustrator by simply creating a dot and then duplicating that and repeating that multiple times and then aligning them and distributing them along a linear path but that is really not very elegant. Or perhaps use the blend tool. A better (I think) solution can be found below

  1. First step, create a single line path. Set the stroke color to black and set the stroke weight to 10pt.

  2. Click on the stroke underline and you will see the weight, cap, corner etc.

  3. Set the Cap to "round cap"

  4. Set the corner to "round corner"

  5. Set the dashed line to ON by clicking the checkbox

  6. Set the dash to 1pt or 0.5pt (at least something low) and the first gap to 20pt or 10pt for the gap between the dots.


You now have your dotted line in Adobe Illustrator 2014 etc. You can see the dotted settings in the appearance panel for the selected path. Go to the graphic styles panel and add a new style with that stroke / gap etc. Creating the dotted line as a graphic style means the style and the line can be created in future projects with any line.


Width profiles and dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator

dotted lines width profile illustrator

You can create many interesting variants of the dotted line by using the width profile which can be found in the top bar of Illustrator,


  1. Select the line with the dots

  2. Select the first width profile and then you will see small dots at the start of the line with the full size dots in the center and then again small dots at the end of the line.

  3. Or use the width profile 4 option in the dropdown list to create a large dot at the start shrinking to a smaller dot at the end of the line.


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


Settings for the dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator

dotted lines multiple times

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


  1. stroke 60pt and dash 1pt and gap 120pt

  2. stroke 20pt and dash 1pt and gap 120pt

  3. stroke 10pt and dash 0.5pt and gap 120pt


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


Appearance panel and dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator

dotted lines shifted

You can also use the appearance panel to add multiple strokes to a single line and then you can also add multiple dotted lines to the same line so you can generate say a pink dot and then a black dot and then a pink dot and then a black dot and so on.

  1. Select a line

  2. Set stroke to white

  3. Add a dotted line (as described before)

  4. Go to the appearance panel

  5. Add a new stroke via the right side menu

  6. Set the color to black

  7. Effect menu

  8. distort

  9. transform command

  10. use move option to shift the black stroke


You can also use other effects with the dotted line such as using the effect menu and free distort or create multiple dotted lines by using the transform command in the effect menu with copies greater than 0.


Dotted lines in Adobe Illustrator and gaps

Just set the gap for the dotted line to increase or decrease the gap between the dots


Expand appearance and dotted lines

You can also simply select the dotted line in Adobe Illustrator and use the object menu and expand the appearance and then ungroup the artwork to create a line of dots.