Given two illustrator paths (selected here):

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What is the best way to duplicate the paths at either end of the selection, so that it fills the intermediary selection space N times.

I'd like to create 8 "ticks" between the two paths so I have 10 in total, equally spaced.


Select the start and end paths....

Choose Object > Blend > Make


Choose Object > Blend > Blend Options and set the drop down menu to Specified Steps and enter 8 in the text field -- 8 because you start with 2 thus resulting in 10 steps including start and end.

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Leaving the blend in tact means if you move either path at the end with the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), the spacing will adjust to accommodate any repositioning.

If you want each step to be an individual, selectable, path - Choose Object > Expand. When the Expand Options window pops up, tick only the Object option and hit the OK button. Then you may need to also ungroup.


Start with 10 paths...

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On the Align Panel click the menu button and choose Show Options.

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Then in the Options, set the Align To to Selection

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Then lastly click the Vertically Distribute Space button.

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You can also do this with the Transform effect, from either the main menu or the Appearance palette:

  • Effects > Distort & Transform > Transform
  • Then put "Copies" up to the number you want minus one, and "move" until they're in the right place.

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I prefer this to blends because you can modify the original and it updates all copies, rather than needing to modify both the blend start and end point.

If, later on, you decide you want to edit each copy individually, you can break the effect apart with Object > Expand Appearance.

A nice bonus is, you can do lots of tricks, like stack multiple Transform effects to create grids:

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...grids of grids...

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...or have fun adding scales and rotation:

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  • Thanks, great answer, and really useful for 2D grids, particularly if you want to tweak the base shape. Introduced me to another cool feature of Ai and made setting up a shape in an 11x10 grid a breeze. – Nick Dec 30 '19 at 11:22

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