Dashed lines are versatile design elements that can be used to create emphasis, direction, or simply add a decorative touch to your artwork. Adobe Illustrator offers a user-friendly method to craft dashed lines, allowing designers to customize them to fit their specific needs. This guide will outline the steps to create and customize dashed lines in Illustrator.

Creating Basic Dashed Lines:

  1. Start with a Line: You can use various tools to create a line in Illustrator:
    • Line Segment Tool: Allows you to draw straight lines.
    • Pen Tool (Shortcut: P): Enables you to create both straight and curved lines. Click to create straight lines or click and drag to curve them.
  2. Access the Stroke Options: Once you have your line, select it. In the Appearance Panel, click on the ‘Stroke’ label. If you don’t see the Appearance Panel, navigate to ‘Window’ in the top menu and select ‘Appearance’.
  3. Adjust the Stroke Weight: Increase or decrease the stroke weight as desired. This will determine the thickness of your dashed line.
  4. Activate the Dashed Line Option: In the Stroke options, you’ll find a checkbox for ‘Dashed Line’. Check this box to transform your solid line into a dashed one.

Customizing Your Dashed Line:

  1. Adjust Dash and Gap Length: Once the ‘Dashed Line’ option is activated, you’ll see fields for ‘Dash’ and ‘Gap’. Input values in these fields to determine the length of the dashes and the space between them.
  2. Experiment with Multiple Values: Illustrator allows you to input multiple values for dashes and gaps, creating varied and unique dashed line patterns.
  3. Round Cap Option: For a more polished look, consider using the ‘Round Cap’ option. This will round the ends of your dashes, giving them a smoother appearance.

Why Use Dashed Lines?

Dashed lines can serve multiple purposes in design:

  • Emphasis: Highlight specific areas or elements.
  • Direction: Guide the viewer’s eye through a design.
  • Decoration: Add a decorative touch to borders, text, or illustrations.


Adobe Illustrator’s dashed line feature is a powerful tool that can enhance your designs. With a variety of customization options, you can craft dashed lines that perfectly fit your project’s needs.