Why Do Your Lines Disappear in Illustrator? [5 Easy Fixes]

Illustrator is a vector-based design application and graphics editor. In Illustrator, you can create icons, typography, drawings, logos, etc. Comparable to Photoshop, the primary difference is that Photoshop is raster-based. The preference between the applications is based on the individual user and their design needs. Getting the swing of these programs can prove challenging at times, and nothing is more frustrating than trying your hand at an illustration and seeing your work disappear before your eyes.

Your lines are likely disappearing in Illustrator because the box is checked for “Edit Selected Path” for your pencil or brush tool. The “Edit Selected Path” option means that when you draw a line near a selected pre-existing line, Illustrator thinks you want to edit the pre-existing line, deleting it and replacing it with the new line.

There is a simple fix for this issue in Illustrator. However, it may not be the solution to why your lines are disappearing in Illustrator. Other possibilities could be causing this issue. You can also utilize different options for your graphics or design needs.

5 Fixes For Disappearing Lines While Drawing in Illustrator

There are many tools in Illustrator, and each tool has its own set of preferences that you can adjust to use the tool how you would like. Some of these preferences are set by default, while others require you to set them as you would like manually. If you’re new to Illustrator, you may not know how some of these preferences affect your ability to use the tools successfully.

1. Deselect the Edit Selected Path Option

If you see your previous lines disappear as you draw new ones around them, the issue may be that your “Edit Selected Path” box is checked under your pencil or brush tool in Illustrator. Having this option selected signals to Illustrator that you would like to edit your last line when you draw near it, so it replaces your previous line with your new line.

Having your lines disappear as you’re trying to draw them can be quite frustrating. Luckily there is an easy fix to this problem—double-click on the pen or brush tool to open its preferences. Once the “Preferences” dialog box is open, deselect the “Edit Selected Path” option and press ok to complete the change. If you would like to keep the option to edit the selected path, you can always use the slider at the bottom of the “Preferences” dialog box to change the pixel distance, then click ok.

2. Check the Opacity Level

Opacity level might seem like a ridiculous reason for your lines to be disappearing in Illustrator, but for that reason, people may not check to see where the level is set on their tool. To narrow down the culprit of your disappearing lines, go ahead and check that your opacity level is above 0%.

You can locate the opacity slider on the innermost ring of your tool wheel. The tool wheel is listed as a circle with one filled-in side. If it’s at 0%, it means that your lines are invisible. You can adjust to your preference; keep in mind that 100% opacity is as solid as your tool will get, so decide accordingly.

3. Check the Filled Stroke Tool

If you’re using the “Filled Stroke” tool, you might want to check the smoothing in the preferences of that tool. While most tools with smoothing mean that your strokes get turned into straight lines, the “Filled Stroke” tool fills in the positive space between points. So, if your tool is set to 100% smoothing and your starting and ending lines are near the same point, it will seem like your shape has disappeared, or your line will be reduced to a small point.

To adjust the smoothing, double-click on the tool, and the “Preferences” dialog box should appear. Change the smoothing level to your preferred level from the dialog box, so the filling won’t cause your lines to disappear.

4. Check the Layer

Automatic laying will separate your strokes on layers according to the tool type being used. So, if you are moving between tools, you may forget that if visibility for that tool is turned off. Sometimes a pop-up will appear, letting you know that you’re drawing on an invisible layer when you re-select the tool.

If you did not see anything pop-up, it wouldn’t hurt to check and see if the layer you’re drawing on is visible. To make all layers visible, hold down the “Control” key on Mac and click on the eye icon, then select the “Show/Hide all other layers.” If you’re using Windows, right-click the eye icon and follow the rest of the instructions.

5. Check the Pressure Settings for Your Stylus

If you’re using a pressure-sensitive stylus, you might need to check the pressure settings to ensure that the pressure is set to low enough to catch your gentle pressure when using the stylus or simply use more pressure when using your stylus. To check the settings, click on Settings>Stylus, then adjust the pressure sensitivity.

How to Keep Lines From Disappearing When Exporting

The issue of disappearing lines may only arise when trying to export graphics from Illustrator. If that is the case, then here are the fixes for you.

  • Make sure everything is converted to paths
  • Select Object>Object Menu>Rasterize
  • Select Object>Windows>Attributes>Deselect Overprint
  • Increase the weight of the lines

These options are not meant to be done all at once. Go down the line and try each one to see if it resolves the issue. If one of these suggestions does not work, continue down the line until you find the one that works for you.


Hopefully, one of these fixes will address whatever issue is causing the lines your drawing in Illustrator to disappear. If none of these options work, consider contacting Adobe support for further assistance. You can always present the problem on Adobe support forums, and other users or technicians will offer possible solutions to troubleshoot.