Photoshop: Dotted/Dashed Lines

One of the more common questions that I’ve received is “How can I created a dotted or dashed line in Photoshop?”. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple way to do this, but with a few minutes, you can get the results you’ve been looking for.

Let’s start with the easy one; dotted lines.

To begin with the dotted line, we first need to create a custom brush. Grab the Brush Tool, then start off by choosing a simple round brush from the drop down at the top. Set the size to the size you want your dots to be.

Once you have a nice sized brush, we need to do some modifications to add some spacing. If you don’t see your Brushes Panel on the right, head up to Window > Brush. You should see this Panel show up:

For the dotted lines, the only options that we really need to change, is the spacing. As you move the slider to the right, you’ll notice that the spacing between the dots increases. I’ll set it around 350%.

Now that we have our brush all ready to go, you can either freehand your line, or we can create a path to stroke! This can be done with either the Pen Tool or the Shape Tools. Let’s use a shape! Grab one of the shapes from the Tools Bar on the left. I’ll choose a Rectangle.

Instead of drawing out a filled shape, we only want the path of the shape. On your Options Bar at the top, select the second icon, Paths.

With that set, draw out the shape that you want the dotted line to go around. You should see a simple outline of that shape on your document.

When you’re shape is set, right click anywhere on the path, with either the Shape Tool or Pen Tool active, and select the “Stroke Path” option.

You should be presented with a small dialogue box, asking you what Tool you want to use to Stroke the path. Select “Brush” from the drop down. This will use the brush settings which we created a few moments ago.

It’s important, for this project, not to select Simulate Pressure. Checking this box will fade the line towards the edges. We don’t want that. When you accept this dialogue box, you should have your stroked dotted path.

And that’s how you create a dotted path in Photoshop. You can always adjust the spacing back in the Brush Panel if you like. On the next page, we’ll take a look at creating a dashed line!

To create a dashed line, click to continue!