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Creating dashes and arrows

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Creating dashes and arrows

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.

Creating dashes and arrows

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 75778 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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