Custom stroke caps in Illustrator?

First post here!

What I’m trying to accomplish looks fairly simple but so far I’ve had no luck in finding a way to accomplish it. Essentially I want to create custom stroke caps (or strke profiles if necessary) that will allow me to create strokes with a shallow rounded end or an angled end as shown below


Is this even possible? If so, how would I go about making this happen? I am working on a typeface where these two shapes will be common, and I prefer to work with pure strokes first, so if I can accomplish this it would be great. Thanks in advance for any tips!


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

You could create end caps by creating custom arrowheads.
[Adobe video tutorial link removed. They changed it to some “pop art” tutorial.]

You can follow the Adobe Help Pages, here’s what they say:

To define custom arrowheads, open the file, which is
located under ShowPackageContentRequiredResources<locale> (for
Mac) and Support FilesRequiredResources<locale> (for Windows).
Follow the instructions in the file to create custom arrowheads.

Place the updated file at: Plug-ins
and avoid replacing the existing file.

Note, you must relaunch Illustrator after editing the file (or replacing it).

Then apply the arrowhead to the strokes via the Stroke Panel.

Custom stroke caps in Illustrator?

You could also create brushes with end caps (pattern brush) but arrowheads offer the advantage of scaling with the stroke properly and brushes can be hit or miss when it comes to scaling ends without middle pieces.

Art Brushes, with the ability to Stretch Between Guides can be a quick and easy way to create some end items….

Custom stroke caps in Illustrator?

Custom stroke caps in Illustrator?

I use what is needed and sometimes the brushes just don’t work as expected, especially for non-perpendicular or curved paths. The arrowheads seem to always work as expected.

Method 2

You can also use this pretty simple method:

  1. Create Stroke then select
  2. Object > Expand Appearance
  3. With the direct selection tool select two points you want to round
  4. Convert those points to smooth.
  5. Use the the handles to get desired curve on line.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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