I have a shape with curved points (like horns) that I want to add an offset path to in Illustrator. The problem is the offset path does not follow the curved shape all the way to the point, and becomes a sharp angle above where the miter limit takes effect.

How can I get an offset path that follows the same curved shape all the way to the top of the point? The image below shows my issue. I want the purple offset path 'horns' to match the curved shape of the original path.


  • I honestly do not know if there is an automatic solution to your question, I'm sorry. I've dealt with Illustrator's offset path issue for years, and although most offset paths work without a hitch, there are situations such like yours, where I'm dealing with sharp angled paths, that you may need to manually custom draw a solution. It's a pain, I know. If you are new to Adobe Illustrator than what you've achieved in your question is actually pretty good compared to past versions of Illustrator, as sharp angled offset paths are nearly impossible. I'm sorry I could not be more help. May 10, 2016 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


There is no info on how the curve should continue. Adobe gives you three (or four more on that later) choices in these cases. The choices are miter, which continues the path straight after information stops, round, which makes a circular join, and bevel which just connects the parts at the unknown.

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Image 1: The three choices provided by Adobe when information stops, in green.

Now obviously there is a 4 choice. Make the curve yourself. Then you could use whatever you like, there is a infinite number of choices.

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Image 2: 3 other choices that era possible.

In practice we can guess a natural continuity for the curve. CAD apps can do many variations*. You can also find a extend curve tool in astute graphics toolset (their site is offline for a moment), unless you want to do so manually They allow for 3 different types of extensions (see here). Its just that these aren't always what is being asked for.

In practice its a good idea to draw the outer shape first and offset inwards as that does not have the problem. You were given 3 choices if you dont like them make your own.

* In practice they have a better ways to get the natural continuity because they use NURBS curves most likely which have more nicely behaved natural modes.

  • I had a feeling the answer was 'make it yourself', but was holding out for a shortcut. Thanks. May 10, 2016 at 18:41

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