Home > Adobe, CS6, Illustrator > Illustrator CS6: Apply Gradient to a Stroke

Illustrator CS6: Apply Gradient to a Stroke

This is surely one of the more exciting features for Illustrator CS6, the ability to apply gradients to a stroke, or, more specifically curvy gradients! This opens up a lot of possibilities for applying gradients that previously might have involved gradient meshes (blech) or the Blend Tool (meh).

Illustrator offers three options for applying gradients to a stroke. The options can be found under the Gradient Panel:

  • Apply Gradient within Stroke: Applies the gradient across the stroke as if it were an expanded fill. You can change the angle through the Gradient panel, though the traditional gradient tool (where you click and drag across the screen) doesn’t seem to work. The Gradient Annotator also doesn’t appear when using gradients on a stroke.
  • Apply Gradient Along Stroke: The gradient is applied along the length of the stroke.
  • Apply Gradient Across Stroke: The gradient is applied across the width of the stroke.

Add this to the list of features for an open path, and you can make some really cool things!


  1. lisa
    2013/09/10 at 9:17 am

    with the exception of square shapes the only option that I’m aloud to select for gradients on stroke is the first one “apply gradient within stroke” which i’m finding fairly useless as it’s the third option i continually want. Please can someone explain the parameters for what shuts these options on and off so i can get it to work??

    • Canvai
      2013/09/10 at 3:58 pm

      take a screenshot of the object you are trying to work with and the gradient’s panel. i’ll take a look at it.

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