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Wondering how to make a dotted line in Illustrator? The simplest way is to draw a line, open the appearance panel (F6 or Shift+F6 on Mac) and the stroke palette, check the dashed line option, and choose a rounded cap, setting the weight and gap values.

Make a dotted line in Illustrator, like the one above, using the technique in this article.
Make a dotted line in Illustrator, like the one above, using the technique in this article.

Making Dotted and Dashed Lines in Illustrator

Making a dotted line in Illustrator becomes easier once you know how to make a dashed line. In this article, you’ll learn how to make a dotted line in Illustrator and how to color it. You’ll also learn how to get rid of a dotted line.

You can create all kinds of dotted and dashed lines in Illustrator.
You can create all kinds of dotted and dashed lines in Illustrator.

How to Make a Dotted Line in Illustrator

The primary method for creating an Illustrator dotted line uses the line tool and dashed line. You’ll use the stroke panel palette, which is located within the appearance panel.

First, draw a line using the line segment tool. For a straight line, hold down the shift key while using the touchpad to draw your line.

Draw a line using the line segment tool, and keep it selected, like this.
Draw a line using the line segment tool, and keep it selected, like this.

Next, click on the appearance panel icon on the right hand bar (F6, +Shift for Mac, or Window > Appearance). In the collapsed bar, this icon looks like a sun. In the expanded bar, you’ll see the appearance tab next to graphic styles.

The appearance and stroke panels in Illustrator from the collapsed bar.
The appearance and stroke panels in Illustrator from the collapsed bar.

In the appearance panel, click stroke. Check the dashed line box. Set the weight to 10 so you can see your line.

Now create the dots. Choose the rounded cap icon, which is below the weight setting in the stroke panel.

To make a basic dotted line in Illustrator, use the appearance panel and these stroke settings.
To make a basic dotted line in Illustrator, use the appearance panel and these stroke settings.

To create even circles, set all dashes to 0 and gaps to 15. Change these settings as needed. For example, if you make the size of the dots bigger, you’ll want to increase the gaps so they don’t overlap to become a line.

You can also make a pattern by varying the gap amounts, or even create a shape for your line.

The appearance panel is used to create a dotted line on a shape.
The appearance panel is used to create a dotted line on a shape.

How to Get Rid of a Dotted Line

When you’re just playing around or want a different look for your dotted line, Illustrator can help you change it back to a dashed or regular line or get rid of the line altogether.

To do so, open the appearance panel. Here, you can choose projecting cap for squares or butt cap for dashes. Uncheck dashed line to go back to a straight line. Delete the line by selecting and hitting “delete.”

A square-dashed line using the “projecting cap” feature.
A square-dashed line using the “projecting cap” feature.

Coloring Dotted and Dashed Lines in Illustrator

To color your Illustrator dotted line, simply color the stroke using Shift + X. Choose your color in the color panel in the right hand column.

Coloring a dotted line.
Coloring a dotted line.

Of course, an Illustrator dotted line is only the beginning. To learn to make a color scheme in Adobe Color, add swatches, and utilize a dotted line in a design, watch this course video. Then, unleash your inner creative being!

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