Adobe CS5 Illustrator Stroke Modification

Changing the width and type of stroke in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator is done via the Stroke panel. Access the Stroke panel by clicking the Stroke hyperlink in the Control panel.

In the Stroke panel you can choose caps (the end of a line), joins (the end points of a path or dash), and the miter limit (the length of a point). The Stroke panel also enables you to turn a path into a dashed line.

The Align Stroke options.
The Align Stroke options.

In the Stroke panel options, you can choose to align the stroke on the center (default) of a path, the inside of a path, and the outside of a path.

The Align Stroke options affect the placement of the stroke.
The Align Stroke options affect the placement of the stroke.

This feature is especially helpful when stroking outlined text. The new option for aligning the stroke outside of a path is very different from the traditional centered stroke.

You can’t adjust the alignment of a stroke on text unless you change the text to outlines first. Select the Selection tool and choose Type→Create Outlines to enable the Align Stroke options.

You can also customize the following aspects of a stroke from the Stroke panel by clicking the buttons described below:

  • Cap Options: The endpoints of a path or dash

  • Butt Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines square

  • Round Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines semicircular

  • Projecting Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines square and extends half the line width beyond the end of the line

  • Join Options: How corner points appear

  • Miter Join: Makes stroked lines with pointed corners

  • Round Join: Makes stroked lines with rounded corners

  • Bevel Join: Makes stroked lines with squared corners

  • Dashed Lines: Regularly spaced lines, based on values you set

    To create a dashed line, specify a dash sequence by entering the lengths of dashes and the gaps between them in the Dash Pattern text fields. The numbers entered are repeated in sequence so that after you set up the pattern, you don’t need to fill in all the text fields.

    In other words, if you want an evenly spaced dashed stroke, just type the same number in the first and second text fields and all dashes and spaces will be the same length (say, 12 points). Change that number to 12 in the first text field and 24 in the next to create a larger space between dashes.

    Setting up a dashed stroke.
    Setting up a dashed stroke.
  • Arrowhead: Arrowheads have been surprisingly difficult for new users to locate and use in previous versions of Illustrator. In CS5, you can just open the Stroke dialog box, and use simple drop-down menus to set start and end times to your arrowhead as well as the scale.

    Arrowheads are easy to find and use in the Stroke dialog box.
    Arrowheads are easy to find and use in the Stroke dialog box.
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