How to draw a straight line in Photoshop


In this article, as the title suggests, we will look at ways to draw dashed, dotted, and dotted frames. Let’s decide right away: we’ll draw all the frames on a new layer! Looking ahead, I will say that the method described below applies to Photoshop CS5 versions and below.

Create frames from points

These frames are created using an ordinary round brush from the standard Photoshop set. Frames can be round, oval. rectangular, as well as any irregular shapes, because they are outlined along the contour. Let’s set up the brush first. 

If someone doesn’t remember, to open the brush settings panel, select the Brush tool and then click the corresponding button in the settings panel. In the image above, the following settings were applied for the inner round and inner square (click image to enlarge):

Now let’s create an outline, according to the shape the frame should have, this can be done using an outlining tool, the Pen tool, the Rectangle tool, etc. The outline can be closed or open. Then right-click on the outline. Important: the contour tool must be active at this time! In the window that appears, select the line “Draw the route” (Draw the route). 

A new window will open where we will be asked to select a stroke tool. In this case, a brush or pencil (pencil) is suitable for us. As a reminder, the brush or pencil should already be set up. After selecting the tool, click OK and points will appear on the path. 

The points made with the brush are slightly blurred, so after applying the points it doesn’t hurt to apply the Sharpen Edges filter, select the settings individually. Here is an example of a screenshot obtained by the above operations:

The following brush settings were applied: Text: pencil type, Size 3 pixels, Hardness 100%, Spacing 180% Underline: type – brush, Size 3 pixels, Hardness 100%, Spacing 205% Frame: Pencil type, Size 6 pixels, Hardness 100%, Spacing 180%

Create frames from dotted lines

Rectangular frames, that is, consisting of vertical and horizontal lines do not cause any problems. You can draw them with a rectangular brush from Photoshop’s default settings. Open the control panel of the brushes and load them as shown in the image. Next, set the brushes with settings similar to those set above for the round brush. Then we slightly stretch the shape of the print, this is shown on the screen:

You can draw a horizontal line with such a brush. But vertical will no longer work, or rather, it will work, but ugly:

To create a vertical dotted line, rotate the brush footprint 90 or 270 degrees:

Now you can safely add a vertical dashed line:

But if I need a dotted line in a circle or along any curve, then this method is no longer suitable. Choose a round brush, set the printing diameter to 9 pixels, with 170% spacing. Create a route, trace the route, as in the case of points. Then right-click on the path, select the item “Make Selection” with a fade radius of 0. Here is the screenshot:

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N). Now just click on the resulting path with the right mouse button and in the context menu click on the item “Stroke Stroke” (Stroke Stroke). A new window will open where you select the Brush tool and click OK. And our simple dotted line will be created. Now you can delete the work path or use it further to create new lines. You can move, scale the path, change its shape, rotate, add anchor points, the dotted line will repeat all the changes along the way. Just remember to trace the path on a new layer.

Create a dashed curved line in Photoshop

This method is used when creating more complex curved paths. It differs from the method described above only in the shape of the outline. In the first case, we draw a straight line with the pencil, and to create a dashed curve, we draw a path in the shape of the desired curve, adjust the brush as described above, and trace the path:

How to create a dotted circle in Photoshop

As you’ve probably already noticed, you can outline any shape with a dotted line in Photoshop.

Just to create an outline in this case, you need to use not the Pen tool, but the outline tools. To create a circle, use the Ellipse tool, to create rectangles and squares, the Rectangle tool, to create complex and custom shape outlines, the Custom Shape tool, and so on. .:

All you have to do is customize the brush, create a path with one of these tools, and then trace the path with the brush:

Note. Photoshop CS6 and above has a stroke option for outline shapes. Learn more about creating discontinuous shapes in Photoshop CS6.

There is no “right” way to draw lines in Photoshop – each artist and designer eventually finds their own methods and chooses the tools they feel comfortable with. Whether you use the Line tool, Pen tool, or Brush tool, you can approach a creative project in different ways and still get the same results. In this how-to guide, we will show you how to draw straight lines in Photoshop using the many drawing tools available in this program.

Line tool

To find the Line tool, click and hold the mouse button on the Rectangle tool on the main toolbar. A menu will open to select the shape of the tool. If any shape tool is enabled, you can also select the Line tool from the top options menu.

Why is the Line tool considered a shape? Basically, the Line tool only creates thin rectangles that look like lines because the Fill and Stroke colors are the same. If you want the line to be empty inside (like a rectangle), just turn off the fill.

It’s easy to draw straight lines with the Line tool. Just click anywhere on the image and drag the line in the desired direction. If you want to draw a strictly horizontal or vertical line, hold down the Shift key while dragging and Photoshop will take care of the rest.

Once you’ve learned how to draw straight lines in Photoshop, you can experiment with the advanced options and create dashed lines from points or strokes. To find these options, click the Stroke Options icon on the left side of the Options bar and then select More options. Here you can define and save custom settings, activate the dotted line, and select the length of dashes and spaces.

Brush tool

The Brush tool also allows you to draw straight lines, and unlike the Line tool, it allows you to create your own brush styles. The Brush tool is on the main toolbar, separate from the shape tools.

To create perfectly straight lines in any direction, hold down the Shift key while drawing with the Brush tool. To create a shape from multiple lines, draw a line while holding down the Shift key, release the mouse button, press the Shift button again, and then start drawing a new segment from the endpoint of the last line.

Like the Line tool, the Brush has many stroke options that you can change in the top options bar, including hardness, opacity, and brush style. We recommend adjusting these settings before you start painting strokes because the changes will not apply to all the brush strokes that you have already made.


Finally, the Pen tool is extremely useful for drawing straight and curved lines. To select the Pen tool, click the pen icon on the main toolbar, then click the image to set the start point and again to set the endpoint. Photoshop will automatically create a straight line between two points, no matter where they are in the image. By holding down the Shift key while specifying these points, you can create line segments with 45- and 90-degree angles.

Adobe Photoshop has a wide range of capabilities, thanks to which you can solve some applied problems, as well as fully work in one environment without switching to another. The program is designed primarily for raster graphics, but it is also possible to work with vector graphics. Just one of the interesting questions is the construction of the dotted line in Photoshop SS. The task is not difficult at all, just follow the steps described below. In practice, it is often possible to use more than one construction method, but several.

Construction methods

Not all methods will be appropriate for a specific situation. But on the other hand, there is a universal approach that can create a dotted line of any geometric complexity. For all methods, it is necessary to go through an intermediate stage – setting the brush. In this configuration, there are some parameters that can change the spacing and change the thickness of the dotted line.

Customize brushes

All users of this graphical environment have used the Brush tool at least once. But not everyone set it up for different situations where different environments where needed.

So before creating a dotted line, you need to select the Brush tool and call the settings context menu. Here you need to set the required line stiffness and thickness. After the procedure, go to the brushes panel, where the interval option is located. The range slider can be moved to the desired value, the optimal solution is 150%.


After all the transformations with the brush, you can proceed directly to drawing the dotted line. We will create our object using the Pen tool located in the main quick access panel. Users can get dotted lines using transformed contour.

  1. Activate “Pencil” and set the first one: the beginning of the line.
  2. We place the second point in the desired place where the geometric object will end.
  3. The next step is to create a new layer, which can be added using hotkeys or in the layers control panel.
  4. Now you need to click on the resulting contour with the right mouse button and select the item “Draw contour” in the window that appears.
  5. Another window will appear, showing the trace method. The default is “Brush” – we confirm.

Any version of the program, for example, “Photoshop CS6”, supports the dotted line. After all the above steps, we get a straight line, but in addition, you can create a curve with a dotted line.

The operation for drawing a curve is no different from drawing a straight line. The only step that will be changed is to create and extrude anchor points. Here are some additions:

  1. Create an anchor point with the same Pen tool.
  2. Find the right place on the canvas and hold down the left mouse button, trying to transform the radius of curvature to the desired value.
  3. You can continue creating the curve with new arcs, which are done in the same way as in step 2.

The following stages remain unchanged: the overall picture of the operations does not change and everything is done exactly as in the case of a straight dotted line in Photoshop.

Other tools

With the help of graphic objects, it is possible to create a geometric border of figures in the form of lines with a dotted line. All of these charting tools are located in a cell on the main panel. With its help, you can create the same as the most primitive shapes: line, polygon, ellipse; and arbitrary, which were automatically loaded in the editor: arrow, star, dialog cloud, and others. Whichever tool you choose, each one has its own settings and parameters, which are displayed at the top of the program in its header. You can trace any shape in the same way as with the Pen tool:

  1. Select the desired tool and recreate the object. Important note: the created shapes automatically have their own layer, which can be rasterized later.
  2. We manage the configuration and establish the optimal ones that the user will need.

Right-click on the object and select “Trace Path”. A familiar dialog box will appear where you need to select the “Brush” option.

A shape will now appear on the screen, outlined with a dashed line along the outline. You can continue editing the new object as you see fit.