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How to Draw Straight Lines in Photoshop

There's no "right" way to draw lines in Photoshop — every artist and designer develops personal methods over time, and they choose tools that feel comfortable to them. Whether you're using the Line, Pen, or Brush tool, it's possible to approach a creative project from a variety of ways, and still come up with the same results. In this practical guide, we've shared how to draw straight lines in Photoshop, using the plethora of drawing tools included with the software. 

The Line Tool

To find the Line tool, click and hold your mouse over the Rectangle tool in the main toolbar. This will bring up a submenu with more shape tools. If you have any of the shape tools enabled, you can also select the Line tool from the top options menu.

So, why is the Line considered a shape tool? Essentially, the Line tool is just creating skinny rectangles, which look like lines because the Fill and Stroke colors are the same. If you want your line to look hollow (like a rectangle), just turn off the Fill color. 

Drawing straight lines is easy with the Line tool; just click and drag in any direction to create a new line. If you'd like to draw a perfectly horizontal or vertical line, you can hold down the Shift key while dragging and Photoshop will take care of the rest. 

Once you've learned how to draw straight lines in Photoshop, you can start playing around with some advanced line options to create dotted or dashed lines. To access these options, click the Stroke Options icon located on the left side of the options bar, and then choose "More Options". Here, you can save custom line presets, enable dashed lines, and choose how long to make each dash and gap.   

The Brush Tool

Next, the Brush tool is just as effective at drawing straight lines, and it offers more versatility than the Line tool if you want to create custom brush styles. You'll find the Brush tool in the main toolbar, located in a separate area from the shape tools. 

Holding down Shift and drawing with the Brush tool allows you to create perfectly straight lines in any direction. To create a shape with multiple line segments, you can hold Shift and draw a line, release the mouse, hold down Shift again, and then start drawing from the last line's endpoint to create a new segment. 

Just like the Line tool, the Brush has a variety of stroke settings that can be adjusted in the top options bar, including hardness, opacity, and brush style. We recommend tweaking these settings before you start drawing any lines, because the changes won't apply retroactively to any brush strokes you've already made.

The Pen Tool

Finally, the Pen tool is extremely useful for drawing straight and curved lines. Click on the pen-shaped icon in the main toolbar to select the Pen, and then click once in your image to set a starting point, and click again to set an endpoint. Photoshop will automatically create a straight line between the two points, no matter where they're located on the image. If you hold down the Shift key while setting these points, you'll create line segments with 45- and 90-degree angles. 

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