I'm trying to create something like this.

enter image description here

From this.

enter image description here

See those dashed lines or dotted lines inside the shape?

Any tips on how I can do this using Illustrator CC 2015?

  • Comes a little heavier if your shape is a PNG but only Illustrator is available, no Photoshop. Let us know,
    – user82991
    Jan 17, 2017 at 10:58

3 Answers 3


You can add multiple strokes to a shape using the Appearance panel and offset. This has the benefit of only have a single shape to maintain, rather than duplicating the shape and having to re-do the effect with any changes to your shape. See The pros and cons of using the appearance panel to create complex shapes and strokes in AI.

  1. Add a second stroke using the button at the bottom of the panel.
  2. Click "Stroke:" to bring up the stroke options and add your dashes.
  3. With the Stroke row selected use the "fx" button to add an Offset Path effect.

enter image description here

  • What a nice example for us who avoid the appearance panel until absolute necessary.
    – user82991
    Jan 17, 2017 at 10:47
  • 3
    @user287001 Don't avoid it! It's almost always a better option than manually recreating things :)
    – Cai
    Jan 17, 2017 at 10:49
  • 1
    Well, you learn something new every day. Tidy.
    – Westside
    Jan 17, 2017 at 10:52
  • @user287001 that would be never then. You can do all effects manually
    – joojaa
    Jan 17, 2017 at 11:42
  • Select your shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path...
  • Set a negative value for the Offset to put the new path INSIDE the existing one. You may need to experiment with the other settings to get a result that you like the look of.
  • Change the style of your new, inner path to a dashed line. This option can be found in the Stroke palette. Again, experiment with the settings to taste.
  • This maybe is the perfect answer to be given to a beginner who still fights with elementaries.
    – user82991
    Jan 17, 2017 at 11:50
  • Agreed, @Cai's answer is much more elegant, but I've left my answer here as it may be useful to novice users or anyone with 'appearance panel fear' :-)
    – Westside
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:06
  • @Chris How do I select my image though? When I click it with the selection tool, the shape of the selection is rectangle instead of what my shape is supposed to be.
    – ariasaven
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:57
  • @Chris I already figured it out. I did Image Trace. Thank you very much!
    – ariasaven
    Jan 17, 2017 at 13:06

It would be even better if you use Effect → Path → Offset Path combining it with the multiple Strokes and Fills in Appearance Panel. In this case you may create the scpecific Graphic Style and then apply it to any shapes with one click. enter image description here

  • How does this add anything compared to @Cai's answer?
    – joojaa
    Jan 17, 2017 at 11:39
  • I saw Cai's answer only after I had posted my one. Besides my post indicates the possibility to create Graphic Styles with the specific Appearance.
    – user70267
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:07

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