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I have a hobby where I create templates for foam armor. Up this point I have been using Inkscape and decided to try out Adobe Illustrator. In Inkscape, I can add a Path Effect to add ruler tick marks at set distances apart from each other with an offset. An example is shown below. enter image description here

I can barely understand the Illustrator interface at this point. Worse, I cannot seem to find anyway to add path effect like this. Do I need a plugin for this? If so, can someone recommend one?

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    The distances between your markers seem to vary when followed along the whole shown black path. Is there some rule for the wanted distances? Or should every line segment have its own marker spacing? How the distance to a corner should be taken into the account? Should the method be valid also for curved forms or non-vertical and non horizontal straight lines? Is the actual wanted thing something else than an exact distance, for ex. an even distribution of the markers when the number of the markers on a segment is at first decided?
    – user287001
    Dec 3, 2021 at 11:00
  • You could do this with patternbrushes. Quite easily. how do yu want to handle overflow?
    – joojaa
    Jan 3 at 13:32

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There's no real automated way to do this in Illustrator, but it can be done.
This answer is using Illustrator CS6, some of this may be more easily accessed in recent UI updates.


Merely add a new stroke via the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance), then...

  • Set the stroke to dashed and adjust...

enter image description here

If you want the marks to only protrude into the encompassing shape, after you've got the marks in place...

  • Highlight the dashed stroke in the Appearance Panel
  • Choose Effect > Path > Offset Path and enter a negative value for the Offset.
    Note there is a bug in AI CS6 where the value field may not accept a negative value below 1 pica (1p0) and automatically converts any negatives to positives. For example, you can't enter -0p4 it gets converted to 0p4 automatically when you leave the value field or click the OK button. But you can enter -4pt. So be aware you may need to be specific with negative values.

enter image description here

The corners are going to be squares, as in the images above. You could expand the appearance and then remove them. However, you will also lose any "live" editing ability as well. There may be other methods, such as pattern brushes which may work for your needs.

Although I've used points for the measurements here, you can use whatever system you need.

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  • YOu could use a patternbrushthen you would not get the corner problems
    – joojaa
    Jan 3 at 13:32
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If you need exact sizes, then I'd use a different approach entirely with Illustrator. It's just two simple steps.

  1. Use the Rectangular Grid Tool to make a grid like this shown below. In this example I've specified the size in mm, then set up the number of dividers so I get a square grid, each being 10mm square.

enter image description here

  1. Make a white filled rectangle with no stroke to hide the inside part of the grid.

enter image description here

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