I have a zig zag line of ten inches that has ten ridges, created by adding a Zig Zag effect to a path created with the Line Segment Tool.

I need a mirror of this line. The line begins by going off to the right. I need a second line that begins by going to the left - same length and number of ridges.

Illustrator does not allow this. I can only do it with an odd number of ridges. I can't reflect the line - which would be the easiest thing to do, but alas it just reverts to the original.

Is there a solution?

  • Hello Jonathan, welcome to GD.SE. I downvoted your question because I'm missing some details to be able to accurately help you. Could you please tell us how you made the zig-zag line? A screenshot of the line might help. Thanks! If you have any questions about this site, have a look at the help center or feel free to ask for help in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation allows you to go there (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! – Vincent Jul 20 '17 at 15:32
  • As my question states, the zig-zag line is drawn as a line - line segment tool to be exact. The same problem occurs if it is drawn with a pen. – Jonathan Chamberlin Jul 22 '17 at 19:08

I'm guessing you made the zig-zag with a brush.

Expand your line's appearance with Object > Expand Appearance . Then mirror it with the reflect tool (or Object > Transform > Reflect) as usual.

  • Thank you Vincent. The zig zag line was drawn with a line. Your method is the best I came up with - though mine wasn't as elegant. I don't know why Illustrator won't let you just mirror a zig zag line and that you have to convert it first via expand appearance. Perhaps Illustrator still reads it as a straight line and therefore it can't be mirrored? – Jonathan Chamberlin Jul 22 '17 at 19:37

If your zig-zag is created with an effect on a straight line then mirroring the path itself won't do anything. You can expand appearance to turn the effect in to paths and mirror from there, or to keep the effect live you can add a transform effect after the zig-zag effect, which will then affect the zig-zag too...

enter image description here

A single path with a Transform effect (Effect → Distort & Transform → Transform...) placed below the Zig Zag effect in the Appearance panel, with nothing but a "Reflect X" applied.

Of course, if your lines aren't straight and at 90 degree angles then it gets a bit more complicated and you're probably better off just expanding the effect.


This is not exactly an answer but rather a annotated comment, mainly because you have not defined your question very well. First of you do not tell us how you have made the line. Quite clearly saying that "Illustrator does not allow this" is quite premature until you have established what the problem actually is!

You do not define what you are drawing and how is 10 ridges calculated. Is it on one side only. or on both sides.

enter image description here

Image 1: How are ridges calculated?

Now if we need to guess, your using a brush. But there could be many other things too. If so, then flip the brush, you can find this under brush options. Or expand and mirror whichever is more appropriate.

Anyway describe how the scene is make and make a picture in future. Then we do not need to guess as to what your problem is. But by the time you've done that you also have a much better idea of what the answers are going to be.

  • Sorry, I should have been clearer. My zig zag line is drawn with a line - line segment tool, but it works just the same with the pen tool. This is the most common method of creating a line. After creating a line, with a line segment tool or pen, you go into into affect > distort & transform > zig zag. A box opens. This box gives you options of sizes (or length of ridges) and the number of ridges. And if they are smooth or cornered. Illustrator calculates the ridges - I do not. Regardless of line or ridge length, # of ridges, illustrator always begins the line to the right. – Jonathan Chamberlin Jul 22 '17 at 19:25

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