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In addition to regular strokes inside of Illustrator, you can also create dashed and arrowhead strokes as well. In this movie I'll explore those features and how you can utilize them to enhance your artwork. Let's first go ahead and create a new document by going up to the File menu and choosing New. Once inside the New Document dialog box, I'll go to the Profiles and select Web, then I'll select a size of 1024x768 and I'll hit OK. That creates a new blank document for me, and I'm ready to go. I'm going to quickly draw out some shapes on the artboard, so I'll grab a square and I'll hold down my Shift key to do that, draw it out using the Rectangle tool, and then I'll go ahead and grab the Line tool, and I'll draw out a couple of lines.
We'll worry about the lines in a minute. For now, I'm going to focus only on the square. So I'll come up here and I'll zoom in, I'll grab my Selection tool and make sure I have the square selected. With the square selected, I want to give it a fill color, so I'll give it a fill color of a blue, and the stroke, I am going to increase the weight to about 10 points. That way you can see it really nice. I'll then open up the Stroke panel from this Control panel here and I'll go down to the option for dashed Line.
Once I click that option, you're going to notice that you get two little boxes over here at the right. The first one preserves the exact dash and gap lengths. That means if you enter in values in these boxes here, then Illustrator will respect those values and won't give you these nice clean corners around each edge. If you have this option selected, it aligns the dashes to the corners and path ends, and adjusts the lengths of those paths to fit, meaning you get nice, crisp corners on each edge or side of your path. That's what I like and I'm going to keep it that way, because I think it looks cleaner.
So this option again, gives you the nice clean edges. Here you can determine the length of the dashes and the length of the gap in between them, and you can do that for several different iterations. So here it starts off usually with 12 points. I'm going to keep that on the 20 points that I've entered though. For the gap, let's do 25 points. Once you enter in a number, you can just press the Tab key and it'll automatically take you to the next box. You'll notice as I tab over, Illustrator gives me a live preview out of my artboard of the changes that I'm making.
So in this case, if I wanted to make the next dash only 10 points and press the Tab key, you can see that small 10-point dash is right here. The next gap, let's shrink that down to 5 points. Then the next dash, let's do 25 points, and then the next gap, let's make that 5 points again. So you can see if I click away, I've created a really interesting pattern of multiple dashed lines and gaps around this artwork. I can then select it again and go back and change it to make it more uniformed.
If I hit Stroke, all I have to do is go back into these values and delete them. As I delete them, you should see that it changes, as I go. Again, this is part of the live preview. So once I get back, I get the 20-point dash and I'm actually going to change that a little bit. I'm going to change that to 30. Let's give it a little bit more size. Once I do that, I'm pretty much finished. I can click on Stroke again to close the Stroke panel and I'll click away from it to see my results, and I'll hit Command+0 or Ctrl+0 so I can see the entire artboard again.
Now let's work on these lines down here. I'll select this first line and I'll zoom in a little bit, so we can see what's going on. I'm going to give it a pretty fixed stroke, something like 5 points. Once I have that done, let's go ahead and add some dashes. I'll go to Stroke, click on Dashed Line. Remember, I want those nice clean edges, so I'll select this, and then I'm going to vary this up a little bit. I'll do 5 points for the gap, I'll do 20 points for the next dash, I'll do 5 points for that gap, and I'll do 50 points for this dash, and I'll do 5 points for the next gap, just giving a little bit of variation in between.
And you could come back in and make any type of adjustment that you wanted. Directly underneath that, you're going to get the ability to add arrowheads to this. So I can actually come here and click and I can set the arrowhead for the left-hand side. Let's scroll down and I'll pick Arrow number 5. Once I choose that, an arrow automatically pops up right there on the left. Once it's popped up there on the left, I can then make changes to it. I can scale it, I can also change the alignment. In this case, I'm going to scale it down just a little bit. It's a little too big.
So let's change the scale by just clicking until I get to about 75%. I can also change this part of the scale, the end of the arrowhead, so I'll scale that back to about 75%. If you want to keep these in proportion with one another, click this little Link button and it will automatically link the start and end points of the arrowhead. If you want to change the alignment, you can extend the arrow beyond the path or you can place the arrow at the end of the path. In this case, I think I'm going to extend it past the path.
Once I do that, you'll see it jump. Now let's add an arrow to the end of the path. I'll go back down to Arrow number 5 so that they're equal, and then I'm going to change the Scale as well. So I'll change this back down to 75, and again, I'm just clicking with my mouse. You could also go in and enter that value manually with your keyboard as well. If I wanted to switch the alignment, I could place the arrow at the end or I could place it outside. You'll notice that this holds true for both arrowheads. Any time I switch that, it switches both of them.
It's because they're linked together. So I'm going to keep it right here on Extending the arrow tip beyond the path. Once I've done that, I can click away and my line is complete. Let's try it one more time with this line down here. I'm not going to add a dash to this one though, I'm just going to add some arrowheads. So let's go ahead and beef up this stroke just a little bit. Let's put it up to about 10. Now let's go back to the Stroke panel and I'm just going to go down to arrowheads. Let's take a look at all the arrowheads we have available to us. If I scroll down, you'll notice that we get several different types.
As we go down, they become more ornate and they also have different variations of each arrowhead as well. So let's scroll down and let's make one end the end of the arrow, and the other end the actual arrowhead. So in this case, I'll pick Arrow 20 for the left and I'm going to make sure that it goes out past the path. And then for the front end, let's pick one of the other arrowheads, something like Arrow 16. Once I click away, you can see that I've created a pretty nice-looking arrow. But essentially inside of Illustrator, it's nothing more than a line segment.
The tail end and the arrowhead itself were just added inside of the stroke options. It isn't until you expand this object by going to Object > Expand Appearance, that you actually get control over the paths that make up the tail end and the arrowhead itself. Once you do that though, you'll then have full editing control over the entire segment. The best part about using the arrows and dashes inside of Illustrator, is any time you resize or change the object in any way, the arrowheads and the dashes automatically change with it. Let's take a look.
If I select this and resize the square, the stroke and the dashes scale proportionally with it. Same thing holds true here. If I zoom out a little bit, watch what happens when I shrink this line up. Normally you would expect these arrows to become smudged, but if I drag it to the left, the arrows maintain their appearance. Same thing with this, if I were to shorten this up, the arrow maintains its appearance. Yes the stroke does shrink with the line itself, but the arrows maintain their full proportional appearance.
Scaling it back up, brings them right back to where they were. If you're ever working with charts or anything like that inside of Illustrator, you can utilize the arrows to point to things or highlight different parts of your design. You can also utilize the dashed strokes to add a little bit more of a decorative border to your artwork.
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