Is it possible to remove on side of a stroke on a rectangle?

Let's say you have a rectangle with a stroke all the way around it and I want one end of the rectangle to be 'open' and take the stroke off. I've tried searching but there doesn't seem to be a concise explanation if it can actually be done. I know I can make clipping masks and minus front and all that but I was wondering if there's a simple solution. Let me know if you need more details.


  • I don't think there's a native setting. You'd have to kind of hack it.
    – Hanna
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 4:16
  • Oh ok, that's what I seemed to be finding everywhere. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 4:19
  • Be aware, open strokes on filled shapes can cause all sorts of issues with files. It's best to have 2 objects. A shape with a file, then an open path around the shape if needed.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 2:08

7 Answers 7

  1. Choose Direct Select tool (A) which I call the ANCHOR tool for my students.
  2. Press + to add an anchor. (Changes direct select tool to pen + tool).
  3. Click on the stroke half way between the two anchors you want to remove the stroke from.
  4. Hit delete.

Stroke disappears.


Delete the line connecting the 2 anchor points on either end of the "strokeless" side. It will leave an open shape, but shouldn't cause any major issues. The stroke won't be applied to the open edge.

The other approach is to expand the stroke as a separate object and modify it separately from the fill object.

  • 3
    How do you "delete the line", assuming you created the rectangle with the rectangle tool? Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:29

For more clarity - a simple way is to select 'A' for the white arrow tool - drag a selection through the line part of one of the box sides and hit delete.


Removing one side of the shape might be a workaround, BUT!

You won't be able to align the stroke to inside or outside, it will always be central

A better solution would be expanding the stroke (in case you need an inside or outside alignment for it)


I realized you can achieve this goal by being crafty with Dashed Line in Stroke. I wanted one line open, but also wanted the curvature of the fill. You can change the length of 'dash' and 'gap' using the arrow keys on your keyboard to quickly change their values until you find a combination you need.A reasonable approach to leave one stroke open.

  • cool idea! If you want to use a dashed outline, this becomes impossible though, correct? Commented May 31, 2021 at 12:25

select the rectangle and remove fill inside. use scissors tool (C) and click on side corners. edit removed side seperately


I use Shade with 100 % opacity twice and offset it to create this look. It's most helpful when dealing with diagrams that you do not want to convert to shapes.


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