How to scale a stroke in Illustrator to increase / decrease in size inline with object size

Ok, so this is a website dedicated to Photoshop, but after 2 hours plus of searching the internet on how to fix this stroke issue in Illustrator along with a couple of forum posts with few replies, I thought I’d share the fix so perhaps others will be able to find it a bit quicker than me πŸ™‚

The problem I had was scaling a logo that I’d created which had a stroke applied to part of the lettering. I used the stroke effect normally, which was fine for initial logos and concepts but not when I needed to create the print setup version.

When you add a stroke in Illustrator – a 6pt stroke for example. When you scale the logo down or up the stroke remains at 6pt when you actually need the stroke to scale in proportion to the type or object.

By default, Illustrator does not scale strokes and effects at the same proportion as the object, it will keep the settings originally applied. There is a very simple fix to this issue, all you have to do is:

On a mac go to Illustrator > Preferences > General and check Scale & Stroke Effects.

On a PC go to Edit > Preferences > General and check Scale & Stroke Effects

The stroke should now scale at the same rate as the object. The only problem with this solution is that when you change this in the preferences it’s only changing the preferences on your machine, IT DOESN’T MAKE THE CHANGE DOCUMENT WIDE. This can obviously cause problems if someone other than you is going to use the file, as you can’t guarantee that they will have this option checked. A way around this problem is to expand the stroke lines instead of changing the setting in the preferences.

About hannah
Hannah works as a website designer for a digital agency based in the UK. She has over 15 years of experience using Photoshop and has been using it daily since 2005.

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  • Laura

    Excellent tip, thanks a lot. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a long time!

  • hannah

    Glad you found it useful πŸ™‚

  • Dean

    You are an art saver. I always used Freehand, which I think is a better, more intuitive program, until I upgraded my Mac and now of course it’s unsupported and outdated. So I’ve been forced by Adobe to use Illustrator. Arrgh!

    If not for you I might have ended up in the Self Inflicted Wounds column of the local paper…lol

  • hannah

    Glad I could help πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for posting this tip!! I was nearly pulling my hair out trying to solve this exact problem. The file I have was created by someone else, and had about 100 layers, so it was not logical to change the stroke on each layer. I have to scale down this file, and every time I would scale it down, I would get larger then normal stroke, and when I saved the document as a PNG, I would lose resolution, and the illustration would become pixelated. So glad I found this tip.

    Once again, thanks so so so so much for postin this tip.

  • Rins Varghese

    Excellent tip, thanks a lot. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a long time!

  • hannah

    You’re welcome πŸ™‚ Glad you found it useful.

  • Emma

    I could kiss you right now

  • Adrienne

    So glad this is still posted! Just helped me solve a problem really quickly as we have a tight deadline. thank you thank you thank you!

  • Thomas

    Thank you so much! My deadlines tomorrow and you’ve solved my problem that was beginning to drive me crazy.

  • hannah

    You’re welcome πŸ™‚ thanks for your comment

  • Alexandre

    Just what I needed… cheers!

  • Tom

    You absolute babe

  • Amazing Sey

    Thanks this worked!
    Another workaround is outlining the stroke (illustrator: Object -> Path -> Outline stroke). That way the file works fine on other machines.

  • James

    Really helpful thank you!!

  • Shaw Fee

    Seriously, this has been annoying me for so long. Thank you for the help.

  • kassandra

    thank you so much!! i could kiss you too! @Emma haha

  • vengesh

    thank you very much

  • Iuri

    thank you, this really helped

  • Hilary

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • beccy

    THANK YOU, THAKN YOU, THANK YOU πŸ™‚

  • Pili

    Thank you very much!

  • BOJAN

    Thank You very much. This is very simple tutorial and usefull too.

  • kamimi

    have been struggling for the issue, glad that i found your post. Save my time and eyes. πŸ˜€

  • k

    THHHANNKKK YOU!!!!! This was driving me crazy, glad to have found your post and fixed the issue.

  • efy

    marry me

  • SimonSolar2C

    What a fantastic tip – I have so many little icon files that dont scale properly – strange thing is not all the strokes had this problem – only some within each picture – but now I dont need to figure that out – I change change that setting and voila
    Thanks so very much

  • Smeeta

    Thanks for the tip. I was struggling to find same πŸ™‚

  • Siddharth arora

    Thanks a lot for the help, i was doing this wrong for 3 years. God bless you for this πŸ™‚

  • hannah

    You are welcome πŸ™‚ glad I could help

  • hitesh

    thank you so much for this post..
    you just pinpointed my problem.

  • Jennifer Alvarado

    Hi! Thanks for the tip! I canΒ΄t believe I’ve never seen that option on “General”… I was getting tired of changing the stroke size every time I shrink or enlarge a vector (: This was very helpful! Greetings from CR.