Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

How to make a dotted line, dashed line & borders in InDesign

Daniel Walter Scott

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How to make a dotted line

  1. Choose the rectangle tool.

    Note: if you can’t nd the rectangle tool, click & hold on the ellipse tool.

  2. Draw a rectangle 

  3. Give the box a fill of none.

  4. Give the box a stroke of white.

  5. Window -> Stroke.

  6. Note: If you have limited options in your stroke panel, you might have to choose ‘Show Option’ from the panels of the fly out menu.

  7.  Choose ‘Type’ from the stroke panel. Then choose dotted.

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Hi there, in this video we're going to look at creating dotted lines, dashed lines, perforation lines, we're going to do wavy lines, strappy lines, and all sorts of lines. So let's go and do that now.

To put the border around the outside, we're going to start with the rectangle. The 'Rectangle Tool', not the 'Rectangle Frame Tool'. And what I'd like to do is, you saw earlier that I had it perfectly away from the edge. What I can do is I can draw it exactly the right size. Remember, that is actually edge of the page. This bit on the outside here is the 'Bleed'. I'm going to draw the actual size, my 'Half Letter'. It's a nice big rectangle. Now, we've got a 'Fill' of green, and a 'Stroke' of nothing. What I would like to do-- actually I'll leave it there for the moment while we're practicing.

If I grab my 'Selection Tool' and I try and 'Scale' it down proportionately-- what are the keys? That's right, 'Command', 'Shift' on a Mac, and 'Control', 'Shift' on a PC. If I hold them down, and make them proportionately smaller, you'll notice that if I put it here, in the middle, it's actually kind of-- it doesn't scale the way we want. We want equal distances around the outside, so if I 'Scale' it even more, you can see, it's a lot bigger on the sides than it is at the top and the bottom, just because it's scaling that way. So what I'd like to do is, I'm going to 'undo', so it actually fills the outside.

What we can do, you can see at the top here, it's got a width and height. It's perfect, I'm half way there. What I can do in here is some basic Math. These little boxes, any of these white boxes, you can do some math in, which is really handy. So in here, I can go minus, '-' and I'm going to turn half an inch, '0.5' You'll see, it dissected in half an inch. Do the same here, '-0.5' You can do times. If I did times 2, '*2' this will be times 2 inches, it's that little asterisk, '*'

It's a whole lot taller than it needs to be, I'm going to 'undo'. I'm going to go '-0.5' Minus, plus, all that sort of stuff works. To get it in the middle, you could use your line tools. There's mine at the top here, or there's a panel that we saw earlier, but actually it's just easier to grab your 'black arrow'. Click, hold, and you'll notice it just kind of snaps. You see those two purple, pinky lines? Just kind of saying, "Hey, there's the middle." And you'll see, visually it looks like it's in the middle. So it's actually '0.5', half an inch from all the sides, and that looks nice and perfect.

So, now to make the line dotted we're going to give it 'No Fill'. So, I've clicked on 'Fill', I'm going to go to 'None'. This one here, the 'Stroke' around the outside, I'm going to make it white, or 'Paper'. And this is the 'Stroke' here. How thick it is? At the moment it's '1 pt'. It's probably what I want but let's make it nice and big just as an example, so we can all see what we're doing. So bump it up to '4 pts'. And now we need to find our 'Stroke' panel. If you can't find it-- mine's there, if you can't find yours, go to 'Window', 'Stroke', and turn it on.

Now yours might look a little different as well, yours might be-- this little fire menu, that says 'Hide Options', and if yours look like mine, you got really basic control. Click on this option, and say 'Show Options'. You get the big ugly version, with all the details that we need. What we need at the moment is 'Type'. That's going to allow us to change it from the 'Solid' line like we know it, to all these other options. There's some weird ones. Ones I've never used, 'Thick', 'Thin', you might like them. 'White Diamond', I've never used. 'Dotted Lines' and 'Dashed Lines' are the ones we're going to look at the moment.

There's two kind of dotted, there's 'Dotted', and for some reason the Japanese like their dots a little bit closer together. Japanese thing, not sure. So there's my dots around the outside. If you want dashed, there's 'Dashed'. There's the ugly 'Squirly' line. You might like the squirly line. There's so many things in there, but we're going to go to 'Dotted. We're going to put the size down to something, I'm putting '2 pts'. You might use 'Dashed Lines' as a visual thing, like I'm doing here. There's nothing, just dotted lines, just for pretty sake.

What we're going to do is, maybe a snip here. The scissors, cut this bit off whatever you clip on. What you can do is, instead of doing it for this rectangle you can do the exact same tricks with just a straight line. This straight line here, I can draw. And what I might do actually is draw it straight up and down. If you want to draw a line straight up and down, it's the similar technique we did when we made a circle. Remember, we held down 'Shift', and it was a perfect circle. That same technique makes it a perfect line. So if I hold down 'Shift' before I start dragging it out, you can see, it really wants to go up, straight up and down.

So say, that's going to be my perforation line where I want people to snip it off. It's got a 'Fill', a line can't have a 'Fill'. And the line around the outside is going to be white. I'm going to make it '2 pts' just so you can see it. And then, you can see the exact same controls. Let's go to 'Dashed Lines'. I'm going to pause there, I'll be right back. So I'm back. This 'Dashed Line' here, I don't need it. So I've select it with my 'black arrow', and hit 'delete' on my keyboard. Just tap the key on your keyboard, and it's gone.

Dashed lines, dotted lines, wavy lines, curly lines all of that. Let's move on to our next video.