How to Make Dotted or Dashed Lines/Objects in Photoshop


Have you ever wondered how to make a dotted line in Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop has the option of “Stroke”, but no such option as dotted stroke or dashed stroke etc. The good news is it is actually very easy to do. It can be done just by following these few simple steps.

Last night I happened to need some dashed strokes in Adobe Photoshop and I realized many people might not know this command of making such strokes.

So here’s a tutorial comprising just 3 simple steps to make a dotted or dashed outline stroke.

Hope you like it, and don’t forget to comment if you do.

Making a dotted line in Photoshop

 Step 1

Make a line or a shape using any of the shape tools (rectangle, eclipse, line etc.) or Pen Tool. Make sure the path option is selected before drawing.

To create a dotted line in photoshop, select path tool

 Step 2

Hit B to select brush and Select a solid hard brush of shape you desire, can be a circle or square. Now open Brush Panel. If brush panel is not visible you can enable it from windows -> Brushes (Short key : F5).

In the Brush Panel click on Brush Tip Shape. In this area you will have options like diameter, spacing and so on. You will be able to see the preview below. Increase the spacing to 250%+ or any value depending on your preview. Let’s have a screenshot to know what we’re talking about:

define the options properly to create a dotted line

Enable scattering and make its value to 0% in this same box.

 Step 3

Take a new layer, go to paths panel. If path Panel isn’t enabled, go to window -> Path in the menu bar.

Right click on the path you made and Stroke Path. It will make dotted line of your created path!

Here are a few samples:

a dotted line in photoshop has been created


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  1. Dathan March 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    It’s not very intuitive, they should give the option in the border options to use a brush.

    1. Ayaz Malik March 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Yes Dathan, you are right! they should. sadly this is the easiest and fastest way i came up for this purpose

    2. Tayyab March 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm


      I’m with you, there should be an option of Border Styles in PS CS6

  2. Dietmar March 28, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Wow, short and sweet. Thanx for this tipp!!

    1. Ayaz Malik March 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

      @Dietmar np at all 🙂

  3. Oscar March 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Here is a simpler solution.

    1.) Use the pen tool to create the path you want your dotted line to take.

    2.) Select the type tool and hover over the beginning of the path.

    3.) Click where you want to start and hold down the – or . button and watch as your path gets filled with – or .’s

    4.) Highlight your new dash or dotted line and use the option+arrow keys to modify the distance between the dotted line and the font size and style to change the way tour line looks.

    Now you can control the shape, size, distance and color of the font on the fly (in a vector format) because you are just using basic text on a path. The End.

  4. SyberKnight September 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    @Oscar – BRILLIANT!!!
    Thanks for the wonderful tip Oscar!!!
    You saved me a huge headache.

  5. SMUO Skin January 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you, wanna try it…

  6. Christina January 13, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You don’t know how long I’ve been looking to figure out how to do this….it’s sad really.

    I’m used to Fireworks and the quick ability to change the stroke.

    1. Tayyab January 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

      Thank you for the comment Christina!

      You know what, I actually thought that people would know this but Ayaz said no one does, I guess he was dead right.

  7. Anonymous January 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    i find this method very fascinating.


    I strongly disagree with your comment christina 😛

  8. deepti.jain May 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    thanks so much Ayaz for this wonderful tip. I really find it very useful as I was looking for it long time.

  9. February 1, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Thank you ayaz for such nice post, but i think this will also helps

  10. salman May 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

    hi there Im a new user of photoshop + Illustrator & my assignment is to make the text in a dotted form the whole paragraph about 200 or 300 words & I confused any help from any one becouse Im a new user of photoshop CS6 & Illustrator CS6 so guide me step by step , regards

    1. Tayyab May 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Salman you’ll have to be a little more elaborate.
      Does your teacher want just the final result or does he also wants to know how exactly did you make it.
      Of course, if you only need the result, you can do it easily by converting text into a smart object or rasterized layer and masking it.
      If they want you to create a dotted line which forms text in Photoshop??? that’s a little difficult and quite honestly, very stupid because such things are done in vector design programs.

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