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Creating 'dashed' or 'dotted' lines


In this short tutorial, learn how to create dashed or dotted lines in BioRender.


Begin by inserting a line into the canvas and selecting the dotted line version (0:26) and customize the dash thickness and size (0:50). Dotted lines are perfect for illustrating: incisions (1:22), movement, or hierarchy (3:44).

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In this video, we're going to show you how to create dashed or dotted lines in BioRender. So there's a few reasons why you'd wanna use dashed or dotted lines. Sometimes you'd like to show areas that will be cut or areas to be eliminated. Or future and past events, sometimes you want to show state change or movement of an object. There are several reasons why you'd want to use dash lines in a science illustration. 

So all of our lines in our insert line category do have the dotted line version of them. So even in our arrows, you can actually navigate over to the right hand column here, and some of them do have pre-dashed lines. So for example, this one, if I'm going to drag it out, it would actually auto draw a dashed line like so.

I'm just going to zoom in here so you can see a little bit closer. And of course, you can actually change the thickness of those lines and dashes and gaps in between like so. So it's maybe more dotted versus dashed. And then, of course, like any other line, you can change the thickness and also the size of the arrowhead itself. So that's how you would edit and modify a dash line. And let's see it used in different cases. For example, for showing objects, for example, in, you know, incisions or removing, say, pieces of a tumor or an organ, you can actually use the dotted line. Similar to when you were your kids and you played with those paper doll cutouts, and the dotted line would always show you know where to cut, even like those little coupons and newspapers, they have dotted lines to show where to cut.

So I'm going to go ahead and use this sort of line. Actually, I'm going to use a regular line just to show you that any line could be turned into a dotted line if needed. So I'm going to draw a line here just to follow the curve of this liver. Like so. I'm going to alt drag on a Mac just to multiply that line. Going to flip it 90 degrees to give it a little bit of volume here.

There we go. And going to select. I just shift, click to select all 3 lines. And I'm going to change the line color to white just so we can see it a little better. There we go. And I'm going to make it a little bit thicker, perhaps. Let's see 2.5. Let's try that. That looks good. And then we'll dash the line. So you can actually drag your cursor across this spectrum, or you can manually type it in here if you know the exact number.

So there we go. That looks pretty good. I'm just going to do a little bit of adjustment. You can also, of course, make a circle into a dotted line. So roughly around there, I'm going to make the middle of this transparent. And make the border color white to match the rest. I think the thickness was about 2 and a half, and then the dashed gap was I think 10.

There we go. So you could use a dotted circle to denote where around this tumor one would need to cut. You can also show the growth and shrinkage of a tumor or an object by using a dotted line.

So there we go. That's one use case for using dotted lines. Another would be for transformation of an object or perhaps movement from a to b. Sometimes using a dashed line actually shows perhaps a weaker signal or a stronger signal. So if I had 1 arrow that was perhaps a solid line, so I'm going to remove the dash here to 0 and 1 was dotted. It kind of communicates to me that perhaps this signal from cell a to cell b is rather weak or perhaps in a different time, so in a future or past state, whereas this arrow with the solid line is a little more certain to take that path.

So there's definitely different messages that it communicates if you use a dashed line or a solid line. So just be aware of those differences when you go to use a dash line. And that's how we'd use dashed or dotted lines in BioRender.

Due to continuous improvements in BioRender, the application may appear slightly different in some of our videos.
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