How to Make a Dotted Line in Illustrator CC

Here’s how to make a dotted line in Illustrator in a matter of seconds, using a few smart options in the stroke panel. Be it for maps, arrows, or some fun dot-to-dot children’s art, save yourself potentially hours of time with my super simple tutorial.

Video Tutorial

Want to watch along as I demonstrate, then try it for yourself? Give the video tutorial on my channel a whirl – it’s only 2 minutes!


Step-by-Step Tutorial

If you prefer written tutorials, take your time with my step-by-step tutorial, with screenshots, below.

How To Make A Dotted Line In Illustrator CC

Step 1 – This technique only works with stroke, not fill. So be sure that whatever line or shape you are using has no fill and some weight (it doesn’t matter for now) of stroke, just so you can see it. First, select the stroke with the selection tool.

Step 1 - This technique only works with stroke, not fill. So be sure whatever line or shape you are using, it has no fill and some weight (it doesn't matter for now) of stroke, just so you can see it. First, select the stroke with the selection tool.

Step 2 – With your desired stroke selected, bring up the stroke panel via window > stroke.

Step 2 - With your desired stroke selected, bring up the stroke panel via window > stroke.

Step 3 – With the stroke selected, turn on the dashed line.

Step 3 - With the stroke selected, turn on dashed line.

Step 4 – Now for the magic. In the dashed line options, set the first dash to 0.1pt and then the first gap to whatever you like (you can make this bigger or smaller, depending on how large you want the gaps to be).

You can leave the other dash and gap options blank, as the first two will repeat. Then, set both your cap and corner to rounded.

Step 4 - Now for the magic. In the dashed line options, set the first dash to 0.1pt and then the first gap to whatever you like (you can make this bigger or smaller, depending on how large you want the gaps to be). You can leave the other dash and gap options blank, as the first two will repeat. Then, set both your cap and corner to rounded.

Step 5 – Make your dots larger by adjusting the weight of the stroke.

Step 5 - Make you dots larger by adjusting the weight of the stroke.

Step 6 – Finally, align dashes to corners and path ends if you want a seamless dotted line that starts and ends with a dot.

Step 6 - Finally, align dashes to corners and path ends if you want a seamless dotted line that starts and ends with a dot.

Step 7 – Once you have set the properties of your dashed line, you can simply select other stroked lines and shapes on the canvas with the selection tool, then select the eyedropper (left-hand bar) and click the stroke to copy the pattern.

Step 7 - Once you have set the properties of your dashed lined, you can simply select other stroked lines and shapes on the canvas with the selection tool, then select the eyedropper (left-hand bar) and click the stroke to copy the pattern.

Step 8 – Alternatively, you can repeat the above process with other shapes and lines on the canvas to make different styles of dotted lines.

Step 8 - Alternatively, you can repeat the above process with other shapes and lines on the canvas to make different styles of dotted line.

It really is that simple to make a dotted line in Illustrator. Just remember that you can only apply this to strokes, and you have to use the dash and rounded corner options to create the dots.

It really is that simple to make a dotted lined in Illustrator. Just remember that you can only apply this to strokes, and you have to use the dash and rounded corner options to create the dots.

The possibilities are endless with this simple technique. Because you’re making a dotted line with a dashed stroke, everything is responsive, from weight to distance.

I really hope you find this helpful, and let me know in the comments what cool pieces of art and design you used this technique for.

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