How can I make a dashed or dotted lines in Photoshop?

  • I couldn't figure out why my dashed line in Photoshop CC wasn't working, and the answers below didn't help. I'd been trying to use the Line Tool with dashed "Stroke Options". Eventually what worked was to use the Pen Tool, setting the Fill color to transparent and setting the Stroke color to the color that I wanted the dashes to be.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 16:59

10 Answers 10


Rounded dotted lines are easy,(using a round brush as base) just setup the spacing bigger in "brush tip shape" settings.

When wanting dashed ones, add square tip brushes if you havent got there, it comes default in the "load brushes" list at brushes window (accessing from right top corner icon in this brushes window). Choose a square tip brush. In brush tip shape settings again, just set the "roundness" at a low value, ie, 30%. Angle at 0º or 180º. You will want the strokes to follow the curve. For this, check "shape dynamics", and in 'angle jitter', set "direction" (just that).

A good combination is to use photoshop paths and then stroke to path. This can give you extra accuracy and flexibility.

Edit: Sorry, forgot. Remember to setup angle jitter to zero.

  • You don't need a square tipped brush, just use the pencil tool (hold down on the brush tool, it'll show up under the brush). The pencil doesn't do soft, it's either a painted pixel or not.
    – dkuntz2
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 6:34
  • 4
    @Dkuntz2: That's a good reason not to use the pencil tool. Unless you're doing pixel art, you usually want there to be antialiasing. This is especially true if your dashed line isn't straight horizontal or vertical. Commented Jan 13, 2011 at 4:34
  • Use pen tool (in shape mode) is much cleaner way to draw editable dashed or dotted line. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 10:25

Try using Text tool and play with it's options.

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  • Use pen tool is much cleaner way to draw editable dashed or dotted line. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 10:25

The easiest way is to get the new Photoshop

Yes, finally, at version 13, in Photoshop CS6 each Shape can have a Stroke. It can be dashed... took them 13 versions of Photoshop but they finally came round to it

P.S. - It also has lots of new great stuff. Moves kind of slow on my laptop, but still.. I recommend it, have a look at these videos to see the new stuff it has:



My quickest solution to this would be to use Illustrator to create the line and then copy it into Photoshop as a smart object. This way it is still easy to edit.


In photoshop CC i used line tool with stroke option set to one of dashed line types. also there is more options for having a perfect and fully customized dashed lines.


You could make a pattern, start with a blank canvas double the size of the dashed lines you want to make (or the size of the line plus spacing on one side only), and add in the line once. Than click edit -> define pattern.

In your main project, select the area to receive the dashed line and fill it in with your new pattern (you may need to move the pattern depending on where you put the pattern in the first image).

  • This is a good option IF your lines are vertical or horizontal. For curves or angled lines, this simply won't work the way the OP wants it to.
    – Tom Auger
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:09

Simply select the brush tool >> select your brush. Then press F5 to access the brush properties. Go to brush tab >> adjust the spacing. I hope that helps.

  • Use pen tool is much cleaner way to draw editable dashed or dotted line. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 10:23

I wanted a straight dashed line, so I used the line tool, rasterized the level, and then erased sections using my eraser circle as a rough length measurement.

  • Use pen tool is much cleaner way to draw editable dashed or dotted line. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 10:23

Dotted lines in photoshop tutorial

In Photoshop, it’s always been a challenge to make dotted lines until Photoshop CC. This tutorial is going to show you how to make dotted lines in any version of Photoshop.

Step 1

Use with the pen tool, or the custom shape tool set to custom shapes or paths. In this case, grab a heart custom shape and choose Shape for the options

Step 2

Next to the stroke, choose the color and width from the top menu. Click on the line next to size to reveal the Stroke Options. This is where you can choose sots, dashes or a solid line.

Step 3

Click on the More options button to set a custom dot/dash style.

Here is how to make a dotted line, the old school way that is supported on every version of Photoshop. Also experiment with different brush tip shapes for some variations, you could even use photos.

Step 1

Select the brush tool.

Open the brushes Panel (F5) or Window>Brushes

Step 2

Let’s change some settings

I chose 5 for the size. Obviously the larger the size, the larger the dots

It’s important to set the brush to hard

Set the spacing for 150% – More to increase the gap between dots

Step 3

You can save the bush if you want to use it again. To do this, click the icon in the bottom right corner of the Brushes panel.You only really need to make it one time and can change the size at any time for a larger or smaller one.

Step 4

To draw a straight line: Click your mouse anywhere, Hold shift and click again. It will connect the dots, with a nice dotted line.

  • 1
    Or just set the stroke to dashed in the stroke options....
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 9:16

CS5 This works best for boxes and rectangles but it can work for other shapes too.

1) Create a new layer for your shape. If one of the shape tools will give you the shape you need, choose it.

2) Select the fill pixels button in the Shape Options on the Shapes Toolbar. I use a white fill because it is easy to remove.

3) Create a shape.

4) Double click on the Shape Layer on the Layers Panel to bring up Blending Options.

5) Click the Stroke check box. Double click on the word Stroke next to the box you just checked to get the Structure and Fill Type boxes.

6) Choose Fill Type Color and choose your color.

7) Click on Styles at the top left. Pick a dotted line that you like. I like the 4th one from the top left.

8) If you go back to strokes and click twice you'll get the Structure and Fill type boxes. Hold down the left click on your mouse over the shape and you can move the pattern around to improve the border. Play with Scale, Size and opacity to find a design you like.

  • Thanks for the contribution and welcome to GraphicDesign! Would you mind adding some more explanation to your answer so it's more full? If you have any questions please let us know Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 21:36

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