You will often need straight lines for creating tables, guides, grids for photo collages, and much more. Thus, knowing how to draw straight lines in Photoshop is an essential skill. Luckily, it’s surprisingly easy to do.
To draw a straight line with the Brush Tool in Photoshop, simply click on a spot on the canvas, then hold Shift and click on another spot. Photoshop will automatically connect the two points with a straight line. You can continue to hold Shift and click to extend your line from the previous point.
These straight lines can be drawn horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in Photoshop but there are a number of other tools out there beyond just the Brush Tool too. So, here are five ways to create straight lines in any direction to maximize your options!
5 Ways To Draw Straight Lines In Photoshop
Option 1: With The Line Tool
The easiest way to create a straight line in Photoshop is using the Line Tool since it is designed to draw straight lines on the canvas.
To create a straight line, select the Line Tool in the Toolbar, which is located in the Shapes group (U), where you can also find other basic shapes to use in your creations.
Then, click and drag out on the canvas to create the straight line. If you hold the Shift key, your line will stay at 0°.
You will find many options to customize your straight line in the Options bar.
The Stroke option allows you to change the color of your line. You can choose from your Recently Used Colors or click the colorful icon to open the Color Picker panel and pick any color you want.
You can adjust the line thickness by moving the Stroke Size slider to the left or the right.
You can also change your line style. So instead of using a regular straight line, you can opt for a straight dotted or dashed line.
Option 2: With The Brush Or Pencil Tool
The pencil tool is used for drawing harsh lines, whereas the brush tool is mainly used for painting. However, you can also use the brush tool for other purposes, such as refining selections.
In addition to their different uses, the pencil and brush tools also differ in the number of options they offer. For example, the brush tool has its own dedicated panel with many adjustment options, while the pencil tool doesn’t.
Despite their differences, you can use the brush and pencil tool interchangeably for creating straight lines. You can find these tools in the toolbar. To activate either one of them, click its icon under the Brush grouping.
In my case, I selected the Brush Tool (B).
After enabling the desired tool, click anywhere on the canvas. Then hold Shift and click another spot to create a straight line between the two points.
The straight line will keep the settings you previously set for the brush or the pencil tool. For example, if you set your brush to two pixels in size the last time you used it, your line will also be that width. So ensure you are satisfied with those settings before creating your straight line. Otherwise, you will have to use one of these methods to thicken the lines later on.
You can keep holding Shift and clicking other spots on the canvas. That will create a series of straight lines.
Clicking spots in opposite directions will change the course of the series of straight lines, which comes in handy to create broken lines, such as zig-zag lines. Creating a series of straight lines can also help trace objects.
Option 3: With A Pen Path
Connecting anchor points allows you to create paths and shapes with the pen tool.
To create a straight line using the pen tool, you must draw a path and then stroke the path. First, select the Pen Tool from the toolbar (P).
Then, click anywhere on the canvas to create the first anchor point.
Next, click another spot on the canvas to create the second anchor point.
The connection between the two anchor points will make up a straight path. To turn the path into a stroked straight line, right-click the path and choose Stroke Path.
Then choose a tool to stroke the path. You can select either the Pen Tool or the Brush Tool.
In my case, I chose the Brush Tool. Click OK to confirm the action.
Once you stroke the path, it will turn into a straight line. Remember that your new line will keep the settings of the brush or pencil tool you last had active.
Option 4: The Single Row Marquee Tool
The Single Row Marquee Tool creates a one-pixel-high selection that you can easily turn into a straight line.
Using this tool, you can instantly create a straight line that extends across the entire canvas. This helps create elements in Photoshop, such as grids and tables.
To create your straight line, select the Single Row Marquee Tool located in the Toolbar under the Marquee group.
Then, go to the Options bar and set Feather to 0. The Feather option softens the edges of elements in Photoshop. Setting the Feather to a value over zero will result in a blurred line, which is not ideal for creating straight lines.
Now, click anywhere on the canvas to instantly generate a single straight line across the canvas.
You can drag the line-up or down to position it where you want. After that, press Alt + Delete (Win) or Option + Delete (Mac) to fill the selection with your foreground color.
Then press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect the selection. Your straight line will appear on the canvas after that.
It’s also possible to create lines that are thicker than one pixel in weight. Once again, select and area with the Single Row Marquee Tool from the Toolbar.
Then, click anywhere on the canvas, just like shown above. Next, go to Select > Modify > Expand.
Then, choose how many pixels you want the selection to be expanded. In my case, I chose 8 pixels. Click OK to confirm your choice.
After that, press Alt + Delete (Win) or Option + Delete (Mac). Then press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect the selection. This process produces a line with a thickness of 9 pixels since the original selection was expanded by the amount specified.
You can also create vertical straight lines that extend across the canvas. To do this, select the Single Column Marquee tool, click on the canvas and change the color of the line to your taste, as you learned in this section.
The single row and column marquee tools are great for creating perfectly straight lines that stretch across your entire canvas.
Option 5: The Marquee Tool
You can also create straight lines using the rectangular marquee tool. This tool allows you to control the line size when drawing it.
To use this tool, go to the toolbar and click the Rectangular Marquee icon represented by a dashed rectangle (M).
Then, set Feather to 0 in the Options bar, so your line doesn’t get blurred.
With the Rectangular Marquee Tool selected, press and hold down the mouse and drag your rectangular selection towards the spot where you want it to end. Let go of the mouse when you feel the selection size is ok. Using the rectangular marquee tool, you can create a horizontal or vertical straight line.
To fill the line with color, set your desired foreground (in my case, black), and press Alt + Delete (Win) or Option + Delete (Mac) to fill the selection. Then, press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac). This process fills the line with your foreground color.
Alternatively, right-click the rectangular selection and choose Fill.
From the Fill dialog box, choose Color within the Contents drop-down menu.
This action opens up the Color Picker panel, where you can choose any color to fill the straight line.
Press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect the line and use it the way you want.
With these different methods, you have a variety of techniques to create perfectly straight lines to suit any workflow!