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  1. Illustrator User Guide
  2. Get to know Illustrator
    1. Introduction to Illustrator
      1. What's new in Illustrator
      2. Common questions
      3. Illustrator system requirements
      4. Illustrator for Apple silicon
    2. Workspace
      1. Workspace basics
      2. Learn faster with the Illustrator Discover panel
      3. Create documents
      4. Toolbar
      5. Default keyboard shortcuts
      6. Customize keyboard shortcuts
      7. Introduction to artboards
      8. Manage artboards
      9. Customize the workspace
      10. Properties panel
      11. Set preferences
      12. Touch Workspace
      13. Microsoft Surface Dial support in Illustrator
      14. Undo edits and manage design history
      15. Rotate view
      16. Rulers, grids, and guides
      17. Accessibility in Illustrator
      18. Safe Mode
      19. View artwork
      20. Use the Touch Bar with Illustrator
      21. Files and templates
    3. Tools in Illustrator
      1. Tools at a glance
      2. Select tools
        1. Selection
        2. Direct Selection
        3. Group Selection
        4. Magic Wand
        5. Lasso
        6. Artboard
      3. Navigate tools
        1. Hand
        2. Rotate View
        3. Zoom
      4. Paint tools
        1. Gradient
        2. Mesh
        3. Shape Builder
      5. Text tools
        1. Type
        2. Type on a Path
        3. Vertical Type
      6. Draw tools
        1. Pen
        2. Add Anchor Point
        3. Delete Anchor Point
        4. Anchor Point
        5. Curvature
        6. Line Segment
        7. Rectangle
        8. Rounded Rectangle
        9. Ellipse
        10. Polygon
        11. Star
        12. Paintbrush
        13. Blob Brush
        14. Pencil
        15. Shaper
        16. Slice
      7. Modify tools
        1. Rotate
        2. Reflect
        3. Scale
        4. Shear
        5. Width
        6. Free Transform
        7. Eyedropper
        8. Blend
        9. Eraser
        10. Scissors
        11. Dimension
    4. Generative AI (not available in mainland China)
      1. Generate a vector graphic using a text prompt
      2. Recolor your artwork using a text prompt
    5. Quick actions
      1. Retro text
      2. Neon glow text
      3. Old school text
      4. Recolor
      5. Convert sketch to vector
  3. Illustrator on the web (beta)
    1. Illustrator on the web (beta) overview
    2. Illustrator on the web (beta) FAQ
    3. Troubleshooting issues FAQ
    4. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the web (beta)
    5. Create and combine shapes on the web
    6. Add and edit text on the web
    7. Apply colors and gradients on the web
    8. Draw and edit paths on the web
    9. Work with cloud documents on the web
    10. Invite collaborators to edit on the web
  4. Illustrator on the iPad
    1. Introduction to Illustrator on the iPad
      1. Illustrator on the iPad overview
      2. Illustrator on the iPad FAQs
      3. System requirements | Illustrator on the iPad
      4. What you can or cannot do on Illustrator on the iPad
    2. Workspace
      1. Illustrator on the iPad workspace
      2. Touch shortcuts and gestures
      3. Keyboard shortcuts for Illustrator on the iPad
      4. Manage your app settings
    3. Documents
      1. Work with documents in Illustrator on the iPad
      2. Import Photoshop and Fresco documents
    4. Select and arrange objects
      1. Create repeat objects
      2. Blend objects
    5. Drawing
      1. Draw and edit paths
      2. Draw and edit shapes
    6. Type
      1. Work with type and fonts
      2. Create text designs along a path
      3. Add your own fonts
    7. Work with images
      1. Vectorize raster images
    8. Color
      1. Apply colors and gradients
  5. Cloud documents
    1. Basics
      1. Work with Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Share and collaborate on Illustrator cloud documents
      3. Share documents for review
      4. Upgrade cloud storage for Adobe Illustrator
      5. Illustrator cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Troubleshoot create or save issues for Illustrator cloud documents
      2. Troubleshoot Illustrator cloud documents issues
  6. Add and edit content
    1. Drawing and dimensioning
      1. Drawing basics
      2. Edit paths
      3. Draw pixel-perfect art
      4. Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil tool
      5. Draw simple lines and shapes
      6. Draw rectangular and polar grids
      7. Draw and edit flares
      8. Image Trace
      9. Simplify a path
      10. Symbolism tools and symbol sets
      11. Adjust path segments
      12. Design a flower in 5 easy steps
      13. Create and edit a perspective grid
      14. Draw and modify objects on a perspective grid
      15. Use objects as symbols for repeat use
      16. Draw pixel-aligned paths for web workflows
      17. Measure and plot dimensions
    2. 3D objects and materials
      1. About 3D effects in Illustrator
      2. Create 3D graphics
      3. Map artwork over 3D objects
      4. Create 3D Text
      5. Create 3D objects
    3. Color
      1. About color
      2. Select colors
      3. Use and create swatches
      4. Adjust colors
      5. Use the Adobe Color Themes panel
      6. Color groups (harmonies)
      7. Color Themes panel
      8. Recolor your artwork
    4. Painting
      1. About painting
      2. Paint with fills and strokes
      3. Live Paint groups
      4. Gradients
      5. Brushes
      6. Transparency and blending modes
      7. Apply stroke on an object
      8. Create and edit patterns
      9. Meshes
      10. Patterns
    5. Select and arrange objects
      1. Select objects
      2. Layers
      3. Group and expand objects
      4. Move, align, and distribute objects
      5. Stack objects    
      6. Lock, hide, and delete objects
      7. Copy and duplicate objects
      8. Rotate and reflect objects
      9. Intertwine objects
      10. Create realistic art mockups
    6. Reshape objects
      1. Crop images
      2. Transform objects
      3. Combine objects
      4. Cut, divide, and trim objects
      5. Puppet Warp
      6. Scale, shear, and distort objects
      7. Blend objects
      8. Reshape using envelopes
      9. Reshape objects with effects
      10. Build new shapes with Shaper and Shape Builder tools
      11. Work with Live Corners
      12. Enhanced reshape workflows with touch support
      13. Edit clipping masks
      14. Live shapes
      15. Create shapes using the Shape Builder tool
      16. Global editing
    7. Type
      1. Add text and work with type objects
      2. Create bulleted and numbered lists
      3. Manage text area
      4. Fonts and typography
      5. Convert text within images into editable text
      6. Add basic formatting to text
      7. Add advanced formatting to text
      8. Import and export text
      9. Format paragraphs
      10. Special characters
      11. Create type on a path
      12. Character and paragraph styles
      13. Tabs
      14. Find missing fonts (Typekit workflow)
      15. Arabic and Hebrew type
      16. Fonts | FAQ and troubleshooting tips
      17. Create 3D text effect
      18. Creative typography designs
      19. Scale and rotate type
      20. Line and character spacing
      21. Hyphenation and line breaks
      22. Spelling and language dictionaries
      23. Format Asian characters
      24. Composers for Asian scripts
      25. Create text designs with blend objects
      26. Create a text poster using Image Trace
    8. Create special effects
      1. Work with effects
      2. Graphic styles
      3. Appearance attributes
      4. Create sketches and mosaics
      5. Drop shadows, glows, and feathering
      6. Summary of effects
    9. Web graphics
      1. Best practices for creating web graphics
      2. Graphs
      3. SVG
      4. Slices and image maps
  7. Import, export, and save
    1. Import
      1. Place multiple files
      2. Manage linked and embedded files
      3. Links information
      4. Unembed images
      5. Import artwork from Photoshop
      6. Import bitmap images
      7. Import Adobe PDF files
      8. Import EPS, DCS, and AutoCAD files
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator 
      1. Creative Cloud Libraries in Illustrator
    3. Save
      1. Save artwork
    4. Export
      1. Use Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
      2. Export artwork
      3. Collect assets and export in batches
      4. Package files
      5. Create Adobe PDF files
      6. Extract CSS | Illustrator CC
      7. Adobe PDF options
      8. Document info panel
  8. Printing
    1. Prepare for printing
      1. Set up documents for printing
      2. Change the page size and orientation
      3. Specify crop marks for trimming or aligning
      4. Get started with large canvas
    2. Printing
      1. Overprint
      2. Print with color management
      3. PostScript printing
      4. Print presets
      5. Printer's marks and bleeds
      6. Print and save transparent artwork
      7. Trapping
      8. Print color separations
      9. Print gradients, meshes, and color blends
      10. White Overprint
  9. Automate tasks
    1. Data merge using the Variables panel
    2. Automation with scripts
    3. Automation with actions
  10. Troubleshooting 
    1. Known issues
    2. Crash issues
    3. Recover files after crash
    4. File issues
    5. Supported file formats
    6. GPU device driver issues
    7. Wacom device issues
    8. DLL file issues
    9. Memory issues
    10. Preferences file issues
    11. Font issues
    12. Printer issues
    13. Share crash report with Adobe
    14. Improve Illustrator performance

Learn how to create and modify patterns in Illustrator.

Before you dive deep, explore Text to Vector Graphic. Powered by Adobe Firefly, Adobe's family of creative generative AI models, this feature helps you to generate scalable and editable vector patterns quickly using a simple text prompt.

About patterns

Illustrator comes with many patterns that you can access in the Swatches panel and in the Illustrator Extras folder on the Illustrator CD. You can customize existing patterns and design patterns from scratch with any of the Illustrator tools. Patterns intended for filling objects (fill patterns) differ in design and tiling from patterns intended to be applied to a path with the Brushes panel (brush patterns). For best results, use fill patterns to fill objects and brush patterns to outline objects.

When designing patterns, it helps to understand how Adobe Illustrator tiles patterns:

  • All patterns tile from left to right from the ruler origin (by default, the bottom left of the artboard) to the opposite side of the artwork. To adjust where all patterns in your artwork begin tiling, you can change the file’s ruler origin.
  • Fill patterns typically have only one tile.

  • Brush patterns can consist of up to five tiles—for the sides, outer corners, inner corners, and the beginning and end of the path. The additional corner tiles enable brush patterns to flow smoothly at corners.

  • Fill patterns tile perpendicular to the x-axis.

  • Brush patterns tile perpendicular to the path (with the top of the pattern tile always facing outward). Also, corner tiles rotate 90° clockwise each time the path changes direction.

  • Fill patterns tile only the artwork within the pattern bounding box—an unfilled and unstroked (non-printing) rectangle backmost in the artwork. For fill patterns, the bounding box acts as a mask.

  • Brush patterns tile artwork within the pattern bounding box and protruding from or grouped with it.

Guidelines for constructing pattern tiles

Follow these general guidelines for constructing pattern tiles:

  • To make the pattern less complex so that it prints more rapidly, remove any unnecessary detail from the pattern artwork, and group objects that are painted with the same color so that they are adjacent in the stacking order.

  • As you create your pattern tile, zoom in on the artwork to align elements more accurately, and then zoom out from the artwork for the final selection.

  • The more complex the pattern, the smaller should be the selection used to create it; however, the smaller the selection (and the pattern tile it creates), the more copies are needed to create the pattern. Thus, a 1‑inch-square tile is more efficient than a 1/4‑inch-square tile. If you are creating a simple pattern, you can include multiple copies of the object within the selection intended for the pattern tile.

  • To create simple line patterns, layer stroked lines of varying widths and colors, and place an unfilled, unstroked bounding box behind the lines to create a pattern tile.

  • To make an organic or textural pattern appear irregular, vary the tile artwork subtly for a more realistic effect. You can use the Roughen effect to control variations.

  • To ensure smooth tiling, close paths before defining the pattern.

  • Enlarge your artwork view and check for flaws before defining a pattern.

  • If you draw a bounding box around the artwork, make sure that the box is a rectangle, that it is the backmost object of the tile, and that it is unfilled and unstroked. To have Illustrator use this bounding box for a brush pattern, make sure that nothing protrudes from it.

Follow these additional guidelines when creating brush patterns:

  • When possible, confine artwork to an unpainted bounding box so that you can control how the pattern tiles.

  • Corner tiles must be square and have the same height as side tiles to align properly on the path. If you plan to use corner tiles with your brush pattern, align objects in the corner tiles horizontally with objects in the side tiles so that the patterns tile correctly.

  • Create special corner effects for brush patterns using corner tiles.

Create pattern swatches

  1. Create artwork for the pattern.
  2. (Optional) To control the spacing between pattern elements or to clip out portions of the pattern, draw a pattern bounding box (an unfilled rectangle) around the artwork you want to use as a pattern. Choose Object > Arrange > Send To Back to make the rectangle the backmost object. To use the rectangle as a bounding box for a brush or fill pattern, fill and stroke it with None.
  3. Use the Selection tool to select the artwork and bounding box (if any) that will make up the pattern tile.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Define Pattern, enter a name in the New Swatch dialog box, and click OK. The pattern displays in the Swatches panel.

    • Drag the artwork to the Swatches panel.

Create seamless geometric patterns

  1. Make sure that Smart Guides are turned on and that Snap To Point is selected in the View menu.
  2. Select the geometric object. For precise positioning, position the Direct Selection tool on one of the object’s anchor points.
  3. Begin dragging the object vertically from one of its anchor points; then press Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) to copy the object and constrain its movement.
  4. When the copy of the object has snapped into place, release the mouse button and then release the keys.
  5. Using the Group Selection tool, Shift-click to select both objects, and begin dragging the objects horizontally by one of their anchor points; then press Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) to create a copy and constrain the move.
    Selecting both objects (left) and dragging to create a copy (right)
    Select both objects (left) and drag to create a copy (right).

  6. When the copy of the object has snapped into place, release the mouse button, and then release the keys.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 until you’ve built the pattern you want.
  8. Use the Rectangle tool  to do one of the following:
    • For a fill pattern, draw a bounding box from the center point of the upper left object to the center point of the lower right object.

    • For a brush pattern, draw a bounding box that surrounds the objects and coincides with their outer boundaries. If the pattern is to be a corner tile, hold down Shift as you drag to constrain the bounding box to a square.

    Bounding box for a fill pattern (left) compared to the bounding box for a brush pattern (right)
    Bounding box for a fill pattern (left) compared to the bounding box for a brush pattern (right)

  9. Paint the geometric objects the desired color.
  10. Save the geometric objects as a pattern swatch.

Construct irregularly textured patterns

  1. Choose View > Snap To Point.
  2. Draw a bounding box. If you are creating a brush pattern, skip to step 13.
  3. Draw the texture with the objects or lines that intersect only the left side of the bounding rectangle.
  4. Using the Direct Selection tool, select the texture and the rectangle, and place the pointer on the lower left corner of the rectangle.
  5. Drag the rectangle to the right; then press Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) to create a copy and to constrain the move.
    Drawing texture on the left side of the bounding box (left), and then copying texture and rectangle (right)
    Draw texture on the left side of bounding box (left), and then copy texture and rectangle (right).

    When the upper left corner point of the copy snaps to the upper right corner point of the bounding box, release the mouse button, and then release the keys.


    If you know the exact dimensions of the bounding box, you can select only the textures and use the Move command to specify a horizontal move the width of the rectangle. Be sure to click Copy instead of OK in the Move dialog box.

  6. Click outside the rectangle to deselect it.
  7. Select the right rectangle, and delete it.
  8. Continue drawing your texture with only the objects or lines that intersect the top side of the rectangle.
  9. When you finish with the top side only, select all of the lines or objects crossing the top side and the bounding box; then press Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) and drag downward to create a copy and to constrain the move.
    Drawing texture on the top side of the bounding box (left), and then copying texture and rectangle (right)
    Draw texture on top side of bounding box (left), and then copy texture and rectangle (right).

  10. When the upper left corner point of the copy snaps to the lower left corner point of the rectangle, release the mouse button and then the keys.
  11. Deselect everything.
  12. Select the lower rectangle and any objects that don’t cross the top rectangle, and delete them.
  13. Using the Pencil tool, fill the middle of the rectangle with your texture. Be careful not to intersect any of the rectangle edges. Paint the texture.
  14. Save the artwork and rectangle as a pattern swatch.
    Defining artwork and rectangle as a pattern (left) compared to filling an area with the pattern (right)
    Defining artwork and rectangle as a pattern (left) compared to filling an area with the pattern (right)

Create corner tiles for brush patterns

Corner tiles lend special border effects when applying brush patterns. You can create corner tiles from scratch, or you can use a brush pattern’s side tile as the basis for designing complementary outer and inner (reflected –135°) corner tiles.

  1. Choose File > Open, locate a brush pattern file (supplied with Adobe Illustrator) that you want to use, and click Open.
  2. Choose Window > Brushes. Select the tile you want to use, and drag it to the center of your artwork.
  3. If the tile does not have a square bounding box, create a box that completely encompasses the artwork, the same height as the side tile. (Side tiles can be rectangular.) Fill and stroke the box with None, and choose Object > Arrange > Send To Back to make the box backmost in your artwork. (The bounding box helps you align the new tile.)
  4. Select the tile and the bounding box.
  5. To create an outer corner tile, use the Rotate tool  to rotate the tile and its bounding box 180°. Skip this step to create an inner corner tile.
    Pasted tile (left) compared to the same tile rotated 180° (right)
    Pasted tile (left) compared to the same tile rotated 180° (right)

  6. Using the Rotate tool, Alt+Shift-click (Windows) or Option+Shift-click (Mac OS) the lower left corner of the bounding box. Enter a value of 90°, and click Copy to create a copy flush left of the first tile. This tile becomes the corner tile.
  7. Using the Selection tool, drag the left tile down by the top right anchor point, pressing Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) to make a copy and constrain the move so that you create a third tile beneath the second. When the copy’s upper right anchor point snaps to the corner tile’s lower right anchor point, release the mouse button and Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS).

    You use the third copy for alignment.

    Rotating 90° and copying left tile (left), and then Alt‑dragging (Windows) or Option-dragging (Mac OS) a corner tile to make a copy beneath it (right)
    Rotate 90° and copy left tile (left), and then Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) a corner tile to make a copy beneath it (right).

  8. Select the artwork in the right tile. Drag it to the left, pressing Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS) so that the right-tile artwork overlaps that in the corner tile.
    Copying (left) and moving upper right tile over corner tile (right)
    Copy (left) and move upper right tile over corner tile (right).

  9. Edit the corner tile so that its artwork lines up vertically and horizontally with the tiles next to it. Select and delete any portions of the tile that you do not want in the corner, and edit the remaining art to create the final outer corner tile.
    Deleting unnecessary elements (left) to produce a final outer corner tile (right)
    Deleting unnecessary elements (left) produces a final outer corner tile (right).

  10. Select all of the tile parts including the bounding box.
  11. Save the new pattern as a swatch.
  12. Double-click the new pattern swatch to bring up the Swatch Options dialog box, name the tile as a variation of the original (for example, use the suffix “outer”), and click OK.

Modify patterns

  1. Make sure that nothing is selected in your artwork.
  2. In the Swatches panel, select the pattern swatch you want to modify.
  3. Drag the pattern swatch onto your artboard, and edit the pattern tile on the artboard.
  4. Select the pattern tile, and Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the modified pattern on top of the old pattern swatch in the Swatches panel.

    The pattern is replaced in the Swatches panel and is updated in the current file.

What's next?

We've got you started on how to work with Patterns. Take a step forward and learn how to Apply a fill color to an object and Transform an object’s patterns in Illustrator.

Got a question or an idea?

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