I want to know how can I draw a dashed circle in photoshop, I am using photoshop CS5. \ In one of the article I found that by using pattern we can do it, I found this pattern http://www.brusheezy.com/patterns/14725-dotted-and-pois-photoshop-patterns but its not giving dashed circle..


3 Answers 3


Photoshop's not the first tool I'd use to do something like this (Illustrator would be my choice), but you can achieve those results by stroking a path using a square brush with the right settings.

  1. Create your circular path using the Ellipse tool.
  2. Select the Brush tool and load the Square Brushes brush set. Select one of the square brushes.
  3. Open the brush options palette and change the Brush Shape settings:
    • First, change the spacing so that there are gaps in the brush stroke (ex. 240%).
    • Then change the square to a rectangle so it looks more dash-like by adjusting its "Roundness" (ex. 50%).
    • Next, adjust the size of the brush as appropriate for the thickness of the stroke you want (ex. 12px).
  4. Then change the Shape Dynamics, setting Angle control to "Direction".
  5. Now select the Path Selection Tool (A) and right-click on your circular path and select "Stroke Path..." and choose "Brush" as your tool.

You should be able to come up with something like this:

crude black dashed circle on red background

Better Way

The above method is fairly quick, but because of the way the brush is transformed, the results are somewhat crude. So here's a better method using vector paths:

  1. Use the Ellipse tool to create a circular path.
  2. Duplicate the circular path and then using Free Transform, shrink the path to create the inside edge of your eventual stroke.
  3. Combine the 2 paths by subtracting the inner circle from the outer circle.
  4. Use the Polygon tool to create a triangle (set number of sides to 3 and hold Shift to make sure it's straight) that points down. Move the triangle so that the bottom vertex snaps to the center of your circles.
  5. Free Transform the triangle and stretch it vertically, pulling the top edge of the bounding box past the top of your circular stroke. Adjust the width of the triangle to the length of the dash (or gap) you want your stroke to have. Apply the Transformation.
  6. Free Transform the triangular path again. This time set the reference point to the bottom center and rotate by an even angle (e.g. 10°, 15°, 20°, 30°, etc.). Apply the transformation.
  7. Hold Alt and hit Ctrl+Shift+T to repeat the transformation with a new copy of the path. Do this until you've made a full circle with the triangular paths.
  8. Select all the triangular paths and combine them additively. Then either subtract (if you want to use them as the gaps) this new path from the stroke path, or combine it with the stroke path via intersection.
  9. Now you should have a vector path of a dashed circle, and you simply have to go to "Layer"->"New Fill Layer"->"Solid Color..." to add it to your composition. Cleaner gold dashed circle on white background.

This method takes longer, but the result will be cleaner. You can also resize the path easily, as well as save it as a custom shape. Or you can just save the triangular paths as a custom shape so you can re-use them to intersect/subtract them from a circular stroke path of different thicknesses in the future.

  • 1
    Or, like you said, just use Illustrator and place it as a smart object (; Nice solution though! Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 22:25
  • @Lese, Why does photoshop take so many steps to do simple stuff like these?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 8:38
  • @Pacerier: Because Photoshop isn't really designed for this style of graphic design. Things that are simple to do in vector image editors like Illustrator are often hard to do in raster image editors and vice versa. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 9:07
  • @Lèsemajesté, So what is photoshop's goal? Is it to edit photos? But adding vector art to photo (drawing on photos) is a common need.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 9:14
  • @Pacerier: Photoshop is designed for making raster graphics. This includes photomanipulation, compositing images, digital painting, creating textures, etc. And it's easy to add vector art to Photoshop documents (Photoshop supports smart objects, rudimentary vector paths, and the same basic shape presets that most vector graphics programs support). But if you're creating vector graphics, it makes sense to create them in Illustrator and import them into Photoshop, or import your raster image into your Illustrator document. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 20:19

I know this is coming in a bit late in the game but if you absolutely have to use Photoshop (or do not own Illustrator) this is doable. And is especially useful if this is for a website.

First you create your custom shape ( or circle in your case ) make sure it becomes a path. Then you create a custom brush. You do this by opening up your brush options in Photoshop. You then skew the size of your brush to an oblong sized brush and adjust the spacing. Save your new custom brush.

Then go back to your path and select your brush and stroke the path.


Yes Adobe Illustrator is better choice but If you want this effect in Adobe Photoshop then Use these simple steps

Draw a circle with Ellipse tool shape and draw another circle inside it by subtracting that smaller circle with it.

Than make rectangle shape subtracting the combined circle beneath them adjust the gap you want to have in dashed circle.

then rotate that rectangle in particular angle to get the gaps

For more clear info watch this Video.

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