How to Make a Dotted Line in Adobe Illustrator

Still downloading stock dotted lines? You don’t have to. It’s probably quicker to make a dotted line on your own than looking for a free one online. 

Been there, done that. I knew that making a dashed line was easy, but I struggled to find out where the dotted line option was. 

Cap & Corner and the dash value are the two keys settings that you’ll need to work on. Other than that, you can also make a dotted line by creating a new brush. 

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a dotted line using two simple methods along with some additional tips. 

Let’s dive in!

2 Ways to Make a Dotted Line in Adobe Illustrator

You can make a dotted line by creating a new brush, or change the stroke settings and edit the dashed line.

Note: the screenshots are taken from Adobe Illustrator CC 2021 Mac version. Windows or other versions can look different. 

Method 1: Create a dotted line 

Step 1: Select the Ellipse Tool and create a small circle. 

Step 2: Drag the circle to the Brushes panel. If it isn’t opened already, you can open the Brushes Panel from the overhead menu Window > Brushes

When you drag the circle to the Brushes panel, this New Brush dialog window will pop up, and you’ll see the default brush option is Scatter Brush. Click OK

Once you click OK, you can change the Scatter Brush Options. You can change the brush name and leave the rest of the settings for now. 

Step 3: Select the Line Segment Tool to draw a line

Step 4: Go back to the Brushes panel and select the dotted line brush you just created. You’re going to see something like this.  

As you can see that there’s no space between the dots and they are too big. 

Step 5: Double click on the brush on the Brushes panel to open the Scatter Brush Options window again. Check the Preview box and adjust the Size and Spacing to get a result that works best for you. 

Method 2: Change the stroke style

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

Step 2: Go to the Appearance panel and click on Stroke

Step 3: Adjust the settings. Now you’ll have some options to adjust the line. Change the Cap to Round Cap and Corner to Round Join (the middle option for both). 

Check the Dashed Line box, and change all dash values to 0 pt. The gap value determines the distance between the dots, the higher the value, the longer the distance. For example, I put 12 pt and it looks like this. 

If you want to make the dots bigger, simply select the line and increase the stroke weight. 

Additional Tips

If you want to make dashed or dotted shapes. You can select any of the shape tools and then change the stroke style. 

For example, if you want to create a dotted rectangle. Select the Rectangle Tool to draw a rectangle, and then change the stroke using either of the methods above. You can also change the dotted line color by changing the stroke color.

Want to make the lines more fun? You can change the Profile. How about this? 

Wrapping Up

Both methods give you the flexibility to edit the size and spacing, but if you want to change the dotted line color, you’ll need to change the stroke color. 

Technically you can create a color brush, but how many times are you going to use the same color? That’s why changing stroke color is more effective. 

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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