Just realised that it seems align stroke to inside and outside only works on circle and rectangles in Illustrator. I have tried to put a stroke on a path or any line but it the option becomes greyed out? I know offset path can be an alternative.

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  • To be clear- you can change the stroke to inside or outside on any closed path. Try it with an abstract path created with the Pen tool that includes straight segments and curved segments- it will give the different stroke options but only if it is a single closed path. Your first picture must be 2 or more different paths with anchor points coincident. If you joined it into one path you would get the stroke options.
    – Kyle
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 1:44
  • One can also "cheat" by using a Stroke profile which will move the stroke to one side of the path (spine).
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


Illustrator design team has made an decission that open paths can not have aligned strokes. Similarly they have decided that a open path gets offset on both sides of the path as if it was stroked.

Since a line is a open path theres no alignment.

Anyway there is no real reason why a software couldn't offset open paths just onto one side. Many, CAD applications have no problem doing this by default. But illustrator is designed with a heavy assumption that closed shapes are the only shapes you should be working with. For example pathfinder boolean tools cant work on lines just outlines (its not until shapebuilder that they even recognize its a possibility, even then a secondary consideration). So there is an assumption of you designing outlines. True or not.

Anyway, it is a valid way of designing a software. Likewise stroke side is a residue of pixel snapping per pixel, not per half pixel.


After outlines, convert to compound path.

  • 1
    I am struggling to see how this addresses the question in any way.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 22:56

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