How to Make a Square With a Dashed Line Border in Illustrator

Written by alvaro roque
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How to Make a Square With a Dashed Line Border in Illustrator
Dashed borders are easy to create in Adobe Illustrator. (end of the line image by Stephen Jacoby from

Dashed lines help denote printed coupons and cut-outs. A dashed line usually demands attention from the viewer. Within graphic design, a solid border may denote security and stability, while a dashed line, in contrast, creates excitement. For whatever reason, the dashed line is an important element to master. Adobe Illustrator allows all types of designers the use of this design element within a few easy clicks.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Adobe Illustrator CS3 or CS5

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  1. 1

    Open Adobe Illustrator CS3. Name this Document "Dash Square" within the "New Document" pop up window. Select "Print" under "New Document Profile" drop down menu. Select "Letter" under the "Size" drop down menu. Press the "OK" button.

  2. 2

    Select the "Rectangle Tool" from the "Tool Bar" to the left side of the Illustrator window. Click and hold down the "Shift" key to create a proportional square and drag across the page to the size that you want.

  3. 3

    Go to "Window" > "Stroke" to open up the stroke window, which in this case can also be called the border of the square you just created. This will allow you to change the thickness of your stroke, change the roundness of the corners where the lines of your stroke connect, and convert your border into a dashed line.

  4. 4

    Select the square with the "Selection Tool," which is the first tool within the "Tool Bar." Click the "Dashed Line" box to activate the dashed stroke around the square. Click off it to see what it looks like.

  5. 5

    Select the square again. The "Dash" length is preset to "12 pts." Change the "Dash" length to "3," and change the "Gap" length to "10" to see the difference.

  6. 6

    Select the square, and go to the "Stroke and Fill" panel at the bottom of the "Tool Bar." Click on the "Stroke" white swatch and click "/" on your keyboard to take out the colour from the filled in area within the square. Double clicking the "Fill" swatch

    With the red dash through it will allow you to fill it with any colour you want.

  7. 7

    Double click on the "Stroke" colour swatch, and select a pink colour from the "Color Picker." Move the selection tool within the "Color Field" which looks like giant colour square within the "Color Picker," and move it towards the top right. Move the "Color Spectrum Slider," which is to the right of the "Color Field," towards red (or the top of the column) until you reach a desirable pink. Press "OK."

Tips and warnings

  • The difference of dashed lines on a border in Illustrator CS5 is that with CS5 one thing is improved. Unlike CS3 and CS4, the strokes can align to the corners of the square with one simple click. This is mainly due to the fact that before you could only have mathematically perfect dashes.
  • Repeat steps 1 through 4 within Illustrator CS5. There should be two buttons now within the "Dashed Lines" section of the "Stroke" Panel. Click on the button to the right most, which is the new " Aligns dashes to corners and path ends, adjusting lengths to fit" button.

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