I'd like to surround a path with a border (see the third illustration below). However, I cannot get it done without using Path -> Outline stroke. This is very inconvenient, as Outline stroke replaces the original path with a new, much more complicated one, and it becomes much harder to edit the path later.

I thought that maybe some border effect exists that I don't know of. Something like Outer glow (see the second illustration), but solid rather than a gradient. Is there such an effect?

enter image description here

4 Answers 4


I found it! It's actually very simple:

  1. Open the Appearance panel and add another stroke, two pixels wider than the green one. Make it black.
  2. Drag it down in the Appearance panel, so that it is below the green stroke.

Voilà - a border!

  • 1
    That's the one to use. It's been there for quite a while, but a lot of folks haven't latched onto it. Sep 12, 2011 at 5:30

Try this:

Copy your original path. Lock it.

Paste in place.

Turn your copy into outlines. Unlock all.

Group the outline and the original.

It's a bit quick-and-dirty, and if you make changes you have to redo this sequence, but it preserves the editing capabilities you want.

  • So is there no better solution? I can't get it - why does Illustrator support an outer glow effect but not a border effect... Sep 10, 2011 at 12:09
  • Sadly it doesn't appear there is. Unless you tinker with Offset Stroke some - although I've had a heck of a time really understanding how it works. Sep 10, 2011 at 14:30

This answer shows you how to use sub-layers inside your outline layer. This way you can acchieve the result @Lauren Ipsum is describing but with

  1. the flexibility to move your lines around and not accidently missing one of the underlying lines and
  2. having the possibility to save your "style" and reusing it on other lines later.

You can add more stroke in Appearance from Window/Appearance. Then Use the Stroke panel in Window/Stroke to Align Stroke to outside.

  • 2
    I think this is similar to my answer, isn't it? Nov 7, 2012 at 7:28

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