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Adobe Illustrator is a graphic design tool that lets you build logos and other graphics. Several features are available in this software tool, including the ability to add a border to images and input shapes.

This step-by-step guide will help you better understand how to outline an image in Illustrator. You will also see several different methods for adding a border to shapes. Continue reading to learn more about how to add these essential graphics!

How to Outline an Image in Illustrator

This guide will help you when learning about outlining an image in Illustrator. You can perform this process using paths and strokes, or you can use the pen tool. Illustrator lets you trace shapes in the app, giving them an outline for artistic purposes.

How to Make an Outline of an Image in Illustrator

The first method you can use to learn how to outline an image in Illustrator is to use the effects panel. This method is the easiest and only requires the click of a few buttons within the software program, as shown below.

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator on your computer.
  2. Press “New Project” when the application loads.
  3. Click on the “File” menu at the top of the screen.
  4. Press “Place” in the dropdown menu.
  5. Select the image you want to use with a border.
  6. Move the image to where you want it in the project. Use the blue boxes surrounding the graphic to adjust the size of it.
  7. Click on the “Appearance” panel on the right side of the screen.
  8. Press “Add New Stroke.”
  9. Make sure you see a highlight on the stroke option in the “Appearance” panel.
  10. Click on the “Effect” menu at the top of the screen.
  11. Press the “Path” option.
  12. Click “Outline Object.”

This method of learning how to make an outline of an image in Illustrator does not always create the best results. Make the effect more accurate by using the rectangle tool. Before learning the latter feature, check out how to change the stroke color.

Change the Color of the Path or Stroke

Change the color of the path if you learn how to outline an image in Illustrator with the above method. Use the below steps to make these adjustments.

  1. Look for the toolbar on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click on the “Selection” tool.
  3. Double-click on the border you created.
  4. Look for the “Color” panel on the right side of the screen.
  5. Use the palette to select a new color for the border.

Change the Width of the Stroke

After you create an outline for your image, you can change the width of the stroke. This feature makes the border thicker or thinner. Change the size of the stroke using the width tool, as seen below.

  1. Click on the border around your image.
  2. Press the “Width” tool in the toolbar. You can also use “Shift + W” as a keyboard shortcut.
  3. Find the blue anchor points in your stroke.

Drag one anchor point at a time to adjust the width of specific portions of your border.

Outline an Image Using the Rectangle Tool

You can also learn how to outline an image in Illustrator by using the rectangle tool. This method will create a border directly around the graphic. The steps below will help you use this feature.

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator on your computer and press “New Project.”
  2. Click on the “File” menu.
  3. Look for the “Place” option in the “File” menu.
  4. Find the image you want to add to Adobe Illustrator
  5. Drag and drop the image to where you need it in the project.
  6. Select the “Rectangle” tool in the toolbar.
  7. Use your mouse to draw the rectangle slightly larger than the image.
  8. Right-click on the portion of the rectangle you can see.
  9. Hover over the “Arrange” option and wait for the dropdown menu to load.
  10. Press “Bring Forward.”
  11. Choose the “Selection” tool on the left toolbar.
  12. Hold down “Shift” on your keyboard and select the image and rectangle.
  13. Navigate to the “Align” panel.
  14. Click on the “Horizontal Align Center” and “Vertical Align Center” options to even out the border.

You can change the size of the rectangle by making it larger or smaller, as seen in step seven above.

Change the Color of Your Border Using the Rectangle Tool

You can change the color of the rectangle you use as the border of your image in Illustrator. You will need to access the “Properties” panel, as shown below.

  1. Click on the rectangle you added to your project.
  2. Look for the “Properties” panel on the right side.
  3. Look for the “Appearance” section.
  4. Click on the white box next to the word “Fill.”
  5. Wait for the “Color” panel to open.
  6. Choose the color you want to use for your border.
  7. Adjust the color further by double-clicking the white box.
  8. Use the hue slider to find the perfect color.

Press “Ok.”

How to Outline a Shape in Illustrator

You can also teach yourself how to outline a shape in Illustrator. Learn how to insert one of these graphics before adding a border.

Add a Shape on Illustrator

You must add a shape to Illustrator before you can outline it using the steps below.

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator on your computer.
  2. Click on “New Project.”
  3. Look for the rectangle tool in the toolbar.
  4. Press and hold on to the rectangle to see a list of all of the available shapes.
  5. Click and drag on the artboard to draw your shape.
  6. If you choose the “Polygon” tool, you will need to enter how many sides you want for your shape.
  7. Use the anchor points surrounding the shape to adjust its size or proportions.
  8. Find the “Properties” panel on the right to change the color of the shape.

Outline a Shape Using a Stroke Effect

The first method you can use to learn how to trace a shape in Illustrator is to use stroke effects. Follow the steps below to learn more.

  1. Click on the shape you created in your project with the “Selection” tool.
  2. Look for the “Appearance” panel.
  3. Press the “Add Stroke” icon.
  4. Choose the stroke you want to add. You will not see the outline yet.
  5. Click the “Fx” button after clicking on the stroke.
  6. Press “Convert to Shape.”
  7. Choose the shape you want to use in the outline.
  8. Press “Preview.” You will see the outline in the pop-up window.
  9. Change the height and width to that of the shape. Find these details in the “Properties” panel.
  10. Press “Ok.”

How to Trace an Image in Illustrator Using Pen Tool

You can learn how to trace an image in Illustrator using the pen tool. You have to complete this process carefully to get the best results. You want your border to be clean and symmetrical.

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator on your computer.
  2. Press “New Project” after the software loads.
  3. Click on the “File” menu at the top of the screen.
  4. Press “Place.”
  5. Find the image you want to add on your computer and press “Place” again.
  6. Click on the flyout icon on the layer that includes the image.
  7. Press “Template.”
  8. Click “Create New Layer” at the bottom of the “Layers” panel.
  9. Choose the “Pen” tool in the lefthand toolbar.
  10. Left-click on your keyboard to start your path.
  11. Drag the mouse until you get to another anchor point. Click again.
  12. Use the direct selection tool to adjust the curves in your border.
  13. Continue going until you trace half the image.
  14. Select the path using the direct selection tool.
  15. Press “Object” at the top of the screen.
  16. Choose the “Reflect” option. Choose “Horizontal” or “Vertical,” depending on the layout of your image.
  17. Hold down “Shift” on your keyboard and select both paths.
  18. Press “Join Paths.”

You can use the “Properties” panel or the “Fill Color” tool on the left to change the border’s color.

Learn how to trace an image in Illustrator using the pen tool with this method if the graphic is symmetrical. You will have to draw the entire path if it is asymmetrical.

Outline an Image in the Illustrator Mobile App

Learn how to trace a shape in Illustrator using the mobile app. This process uses the pen tool, and it helps you outline shapes.

Once you start a new project in the Illustrator app, look for the toolbar on the left. Choose the “Pen” tool to begin.

Tap on the artboard to create your first anchor point. To make a line, you will click and draw with your finger.

If you need to make a curve, use the direct selection tool. Drag the outline to where you need it. You can also use a pencil or paintbrush tool.

The Best Image Trace Settings Illustrator

If you want to learn how to image trace in Illustrator without losing quality, you will have to know the best settings.

First, you need to adjust the color default settings. Use 20 instead.

Most individuals work in grayscale when they trace images in Illustrator. They remove the background using the “Lasso” tool, clearing the unnecessary background. One of the best image trace settings in Illustrator is to remove any blemishes or sun spots surrounding the subject.

Learning How to Outline an Image in Illustrator

This guide helped you learn how to outline an image in Illustrator. You can do the same to shapes in this tool.

The easiest method to outline images or shapes is to add a stroke. You can use the “Effects” panel to access these features. Change the color of the stroke by accessing the “Properties” panel.

You can also use the “Rectangle” tool to outline an image in Illustrator. Make it slightly larger than the image and change the color as needed.

Finally, you can use the pen tool to outline images and shapes in Illustrator. Set anchor points for your pathway, and use the direct selection tool to curve the lines.

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