Solid, Dashed, and Dotted Lines
in Photoshop Elements

How to draw solid, dashed, and dotted lines with Photoshop Elements.

You might be surprised to hear that this technique does NOT use the Line Tool in Photoshop Elements.

Instead, we change a few options and use the Brush Tool.

Click to watch the video below to see how it's done. Under the video there's a summary of the steps for you to use as a quick reference.

How To Make Solid Lines
In Photoshop Elements

STEP ONE- Make The Brush Tool Active.

Make the Brush Tool active by clicking on it in the Toolbox.

STEP TWO- Get A Square Brush.

Go down to the Tool Options. If you’re using a version of PS Elements older than version 11 you’ll find these same options at the top of your window in the Options Bar.

Click on the Brush Preview.

The Brush Preset Picker pops up. Let’s click on the field at the top and click on “Square Brushes” from the list.

Now we get a list of all of these different sized Square Brushes. I’m going to choose the 10 pixel Brush by double-clicking on it.

STEP THREE- Add Guide Lines.

Now let’s place some guides on our document that we can use to draw our line perfectly horizontal and level.

If you want to learn more about guides in PS Elements see my last video which is titled “Find Exact Center”.

Go up to the View menu and click on “Rulers” to make them visible.

Our Rulers appear on the top and the left side of the Active Image Area.

You can pull Guide Lines from the Rulers. So click-and-drag from the top Ruler three times to pull 3 Guides onto the Active Image Area.

Wherever you let go of the mouse button, the Guide will be placed in that spot. But you can always use the Move tool to click-and-drag a Guide to a different area if you want to move it.

For this tutorial let's just kind of space them out in the Active Image Area.

Let’s also pull 2 guides out from the side ruler. Don’t be too particular. Just put one guide on each side.

Now that we have our guides we can hide the Rulers by going back up to the View menu and click on Rulers again to hide them.

By the way, these are non-printing guides which means that if you print out your document, they won’t be visible on your print.

STEP FOUR- Check "Snap To Guides".

One other thing we’ll check is also under the View menu. Hover your cursor over “Snap To” and make sure that there’s a check mark next to “Guides”. If there isn’t click on Guides to turn onSnap to Guides”.

That will help us to keep our lines right on the guide lines.

STEP FIVE- Draw A Line.

To start our solid line using the top horizontal guide, we’ll place our cursor over the top and left guides and click once.

Then move your cursor over the top and right guides, hold down the Shift key, and click again.

After Shift-Clicking on the top-right guides, PS Elements connects the 2 points where you click to create a solid line.

We can see what our line looks like without the guides which can be distracting, by temporarily hiding the guides.

To do that go up to the View Menu and click on “Guides”. Notice that there’s a keyboard shortcut: Command-;(semicolon) on a Mac or it would be Control-;(semicolon) on a PC.

Now we can see the line without the guidelines.

And that's it, we're done! Those are the 5 steps that you can use to draw a line.

Now let's see how to draw a dashed line.

How To Make Dashed Lines
In Photoshop Elements

To make a dashed line we can mostly use the same steps except we need to add a step between Steps Four and Five.

So follow Steps One thru Four from "How To Make Solid Lines" above. And let's start with Step Four(A)_Dashed for "How To Make Dashed Lines".

STEP FOUR(A)_Dashed- Change Spacing And Roundness.

With the Brush tool active in the Toolbox go down to the Tool Options and click on Brush Settings.

The Brush Settings dialog box pops up.

To make dashed lines we need to increase the “Spacing” of our Brush. So we’ll click-and-drag to the right with the Spacing slider.

To see the effect that the increased Spacing is having on the Brush, just watch the Brush Preview. We’ll bring it to 190%.

We can also use this dialog box to make our dashes rectangular instead of square.

To do that, click-and-drag to the left on the “Roundness” slider. Again watch the Brush Preview to see the results. Let’s bring it down to 50%. Close the dialog box by clicking on “Brush Settings” again.

One result of reducing the roundness of our Brush is that it’s only about half as high as it was before.

To make our dashed line as thick as our solid line is we need to increase the Brush size.

So let’s go back to the Tool Options and use the “Size” slider to change our Brush from 10 pixels to 20 pixels by clicking-and-dragging until it gets to 20 pixels.

Now the height of our Cursor for the Dashed Line is the same as the height of our Solid Line.

Follow the instructions from Step Five:

  • Click once where you want your line to start
  • Move your cursor to where you want your line to end
  • Hold down the Shift key and click once

Now we have a dashed line.

How To Make Dotted Lines
In Photoshop Elements

Now let’s make a dotted line.

Just like with a dashed line, to make a dotted line we can use steps One thru Five except we need to add a step between Steps Four and Five.

So follow Steps One thru Four from "How To Make Solid Lines" above. And let's start with Step Four(A)-Dotted for "How To Make Dotted Lines". Then we'll finish off using Step Five.

STEP FOUR(A)_Dotted- Change Brush Sets.

Go to the Tool Options and click on the Brush preview to open the Brush Preset Picker again.

At the top it show us that we are currently using the Square Brushes presets.

Let’s click on that and from the pop-up list let’s choose the “Basic Brushes” presets by clicking on it.

The Basic Brushes are all round brushes of different sizes. The ones at the top of the list are all hard-edge Brushes which is what we want.

Let’s use the scroll bar on the right side of the pop-up list to click-and-drag down until we see the 12 pixel Brush.

We can double-click on it to close the pop-up and make that our active Brush.

Now let’s click the “Brush Settings...” again to set the Spacing.

Let’s use the same spacing that we used for our dashed line which is 190%. Click on “Brush Settings...” to close the pop-up.

Follow the instructions from Step Five:

  • Click once where you want your line to start
  • Move your cursor to where you want your line to end
  • Hold down the Shift key and click once

Now we have a dotted line.

And that completes this tutorial on how to draw solid, dashed, and dotted lines with Photoshop Elements.

Until next time, this is Rick saying . . . Take care!

You might also like . . .

How to Use Guides in Photoshop Elements.

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