For the derivation of 2.5-dimensional operator in wave field synthesis, a virtual source is assumed to be positioned far from a loudspeaker array. However, such far-field approximation inevitably results in a reproduction error when the virtual source is placed adjacent to an array. In this paper, a method is proposed to generate a virtual source close to and behind a continuous line array of loudspeakers. A driving function is derived by reducing a surface integral (Rayleigh integral) to a line integral based on the near-field assumption. The solution is then combined with the far-field formula of wave field synthesis by introducing a weighting function that can adjust the near- and far-field contribution of each driving function. This enables production of a virtual source anywhere in relation to the array. Simulations show the proposed method can reduce the reproduction error to below -18 dB, regardless of the virtual source position. (C) 2013 Acoustical Society of America.