Illustrator tile pattern

Illustrator tile pattern DEFAULT

Repeating Patterns in Illustrator Made Easy: The Pattern Making Tool (CS6 & Newer)

Repeating Patterns : tutorial by Sew Heidi

Repeating patterns in Illustrator used to be a very manual process and more than a little bit frustrating. With the introduction of the Pattern Making Tool in CS6 (if you’re in CS5 or earlier, you won’t have access to this feature), patterns became simple to make and included amazing features such as live preview and half drops.

To make a pattern, start with an assortment of motifs that you want to use. Select those motifs with the Selection Tool and choose Object > Pattern > Make.


01_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Upon choosing Object > Pattern > Make, 3 things will happen:

A dialog box will appear (unless you have done this before and previously checked “Don’t Show Again”). This dialog essentially says that you have created a new pattern swatch, and that any changes you make to the artwork will be applied to the swatch until you exit Pattern Editing Mode (see #2). Click OK.
You will enter into Pattern Editing Mode (if you are familiar with Isolation Mode, this is similar to that). This means that you are working inside a pattern, making edits to it. You will know you are in this mode because of the info along the top of the document (and all other artwork besides the objects in your pattern will not be visible or editable).
The Pattern Options panel will open (#3). There are some basic features in here we’ll cover shortly.


02_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Your pattern will now be shown in repeat, giving you a preview of what it will look like. Depending on settings, you may have fewer or more tiles and they may look dimmed or not. We’ll go over those settings shortly, but for now you should see some sort of repeat.


03_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Now let’s review some of the tools and settings in the Pattern Options panel.

Pattern Tile Tool: Click this to manually change the pattern tile size (the single tile of artwork that repeats to create the pattern). You will notice the box around the pattern tile (blue) will change to look like a bounding box which you can manually drag to resize (occasionally the Pattern Tile Tool is buggy and gets stuck, not allowing for resizing – if this happens, you can input measurements in the Width/Height fields in the Pattern Options panel). Once you are done editing the tile size, click the Pattern Tile Tool again or switch to any other tool on the main Illustrator Tool Bar.

04_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Tile Type: By default this will be set to Grid (also known as a straight repeat) where the tiles repeat in a grid. Click through these to see how different tile types change your pattern. The most common besides Grid is Brick by Column (also known as a half drop). NOTE: If you choose a Brick by Column or Row, you can choose what the offset is. Default is 1/2, meaning each repeating tile is offset by half.


05_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Copies: This controls how many copies of the pattern you will preview. If your repeat is really large, you may want to set this to a smaller number, and if your repeat is really small, a larger number may work best.

Dim Copies to: This is a setting I frequently turn on and off. Dimming copies can be very helpful when manipulating artwork so you can see which motifs are copies and which are the actual editable motifs, but previewing the repeat may be best done with this turned off so you can see the artwork in full opacity.


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Now that we’ve gone through all the basic settings, play around with your pattern. I’ve added some more motifs (you can use tools and edit artwork inside Pattern Editing Mode just like you would work normally in AI) and adjusted the tile size to create a nice repeat.
NOTE: You cannot use a pattern within a pattern. If you try to create a pattern with an object that has a pattern, you will get a dialog box advising this cannot be done. To get around this, you can add an object with a pattern while inside Pattern Editing Mode, but understand that the pattern will be expanded within the artwork. Complex visual attributes such as pattern brushes and effects will also be expanded if used inside of a pattern. A dialog box warning you about this will appear upon exiting Pattern Editing Mode.


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Once your pattern looks good (don’t worry you can always go back and edit it), you can exit Pattern Editing Mode one of 4 ways.
Click “Done” in the top left corner of the document
Click the arrow in the top left corner of the document
Double click anywhere except directly on an object (careful not to do this accidentally while you’re editing, or else you’ll have to re-enter Pattern Editing Mode)
Hit Esc on your keyboard

07-1_illustratorstuff com_pattern_making_tool


Upon exiting, you’ll be taken back to your Artboard where your original motifs will look the same as they did before making your pattern, and you’ll notice your swatch has been added to the Swatches panel.

08_illustratorstuff  com_pattern_making_tool


You can now use the swatch like any other swatch within your artwork.


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If you want to edit the pattern, double click on the swatch thumbnail from the Swatches panel. This will put you back into Pattern Editing Mode where you can make any changes. NOTE: Changes made to this pattern swatch will affect all instances of the swatch in your artwork. If you want to make a new swatch, duplicate it and edit the copy.

Much easier than doing it manually, the Pattern Making Tool released in Adobe Illustrator CS6 will allow you to focus more on making awesome designs and less on fussing over repeats. Enjoy!

Repeating pattern artwork & romper illustration compliments of Illustrator Stuff.



Sew Heidi is a fashion tech evangelista focused on using Illustrator for fashion.  She also is co-founder of Illustrator Stuff, an online marketplace for vector fashion flats, repeating patterns and more.


How to tile a pattern in Illustrator?

I have joined two same sized rounded rectangles creating 90 degrees. Then I made 45 degrees guide and copied figure so they both can be on the same guide.

enter image description here

Then using a blend tool I evenly distributed figures every 9mm.The result I copied and pasted every 24 mm. The result is on the Figure 2: enter image description here

Now I want to crop it and save as a pattern. But before that I did Object > Expand ang grouped it to prepare it for cropping. As on the previous stage it wouldn't crop at all. I'm not sure how to do it right so I created a square and placed it in the centre of the group.

enter image description here

After cropping I've got some weird lines on the shapes. Also my pattern does not tile smoothly. Here is the result: enter image description here

Why do I have these thin lines on rounded rectangles? And more importantly, how can I make this pattern tile smoothly?

EDIT: Well, at least one problem is solved. Turned off the Anti-aliased Artwork option and those lines dissapeared.

EDIT: I saved pattern from the Figure 2 as a Pattern and tried to tile it by playing with Pattern Options. Now it's much better, but still it doesn't look smooth. Do I need to change something? enter image description here

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Illustrator How to Make a Pattern that Repeats Seamlessly

One of the many powerful aids to illustration in Adobe Illustrator is the facility to create and use repeating patterns. Patterns can save a huge amount of both time and processing power - without them we’d be stepping and repeating objects until the cows came home.

Illustrator: How to Make a Pattern - Tutorial by Nick Beresford Davies

Illustrator How to Make a Pattern

Lots of designers steer clear of patterns for a couple of reasons. Until Adobe Illustrator CS6, existing pattern swatches were un-editable and inflexible. If you didn’t like the pattern swatches provided, you’d have to either create your own or flatten the transparency of an object filled with a pattern swatch, expand its attributes and manually edit the resulting artwork.

The second reason for avoiding them has been that if you did create your own repeating pattern, once it was in the swatches palette, it also became inflexible and un-editable. This has been changed in Illustrator CS6 - there's now a new Pattern Options control panel that allows infinitely more control over both existing and custom patterns.

The purpose of this tutorial is to explain in Illustrator how to make a pattern, whether you’re using Illustrator CS5 (or earlier) or Illustrator CS6. The process of designing and creating a pattern is the same for both earlier versions as well as CS6. Only after the pattern has been ‘defined’ do you see noticeable differences in the way that Illustrator CS6 handles the pattern swatch.

Lets create the pattern design first though.

CS5 and CS6 Illustrator How to Make a Pattern

In the Swatches Palette of Illustrator you’ll find three distinct swatch types. These are:

  • Color Swatches
  • Gradient Swatches
  • Pattern Swatches

We’ll be focusing on the Pattern Swatches. To access them select Window/Swatches. With the Swatches palette open, click the small “Show Swatch Kinds menu” at the bottom. From the popup menu, select “Show Pattern Swatches”.

Pattern Swatches Options

To test any swatch presets, create a new document and use the Rectangle Tool to create a box to fill. Click on the “Swatch Libraries menu” to reveal a long list of color, gradient and pattern swatches. Roll over the Patterns option and you’ll find Basic Graphic patterns, Decorative patterns and Nature patterns. Choose any of these to fill the rectangle and you’ll see the pattern in action.

Swatch libraries list

For the purposes of this tutorial I’d like to create a new pattern that was influenced by a traditional Islamic star and cross ceramic mosaic I saw recently at the British Museum:

Star and cross pattern

Before getting started though, let’s create a random, simple pattern just to give you a quick and dirty idea how patterns work in Illustrator.

Create a random pattern in Illustrator

Quickly create a number of random shapes filled with random colors. Select the whole group and select Edit/Define Pattern. A dialogue window will appear requesting a name for the new pattern - give it a name of your choice. Click OK. You can now delete the original group of objects.

Now when you look in the Pattern Swatches window you’ll see a new swatch - the one you just created. Make a new rectangle using the Rectangle Tool and fill it with the new pattern by ensuring that “Fill” (as opposed to “Stroke”) is selected at the bottom of the Tool Bar and clicking on the new pattern swatch.

That’s pretty much all there is to it in Illustrator CS5 and earlier. If you wanted to edit the pattern within the filled shape, you’d need to select the rectangle and choose Object/Expand. You’d then be able to select individual items within the pattern and tweak them. What I really want to do though is create a seamless, repeating pattern - like the one at the top of the page.

All Illustrator repeating patterns are made up of tiles. The simplest way to create a pattern is to have the tiles square or rectangular in shape, so that they can butt up against each other without leaving any space or gaps inbetween each other. When we created the random pattern above, there was space around each instance of the tile - because the pattern generator was creating its own squares to render the pattern.

In order to create a new pattern, the first step is to create a design. The second step is to identify a square or rectangular area that will be repeated - and crop everything else out. The third step will be to define the pattern swatch itself.

Illustrator How to Make a Pattern
Step 1: Create a Pattern Design

The pattern I created for this article was fairly simple to put together. If you study it you’ll see that it’s just made up of lots of squares laid over each other, half of which are rotated by 45°. I used a grid to create the squares and just kept creating more on new layers with different fill colors until I was happy with the result.

Simple Pattern Shapes

As a guide, I found a sketch that broke down the basic shapes of the star and cross design (see source below):

Source: © D0zyD0g

Then using a combination of the Rectangle Tool, Rotate Tool and ‘Unite’ option in the Pathfinder palette, I built the pattern up. Once you get to the final stage, when you can manually built the pattern up by copying and placing the repeating elements, you need to get it to a point where you can create a repeating tile.

Creation of a pattern in Illustrator

Illustrator How to Make a Pattern
Step 2: Create a Repeating Tile Using the Crop Tool

How to remove areas outside outside a clipping mask

Normally when masking a specific area of a design I would use the Object/Clipping Mask tool. The best reason for using this is that you can always remove the mask later, or work within it to adjust its content. In other words, it’s a non-destructive way of working.

However, if you use a clipping mask to create a pattern tile, when you define the pattern, everything hidden by the clipping mask will be included in the swatch, thus leaving you with lots of unwanted white space. What you really want to do is completely erase everything outside the clipping mask.

The way to do this is not to use the clipping mask at all. Instead use the Crop button in the Pathfinder palette.

Use the Crop Tool to delete everything outside the mask

Before you use the Crop Tool, make a duplicate of the whole pattern (so that you can retain the original) and convert all strokes to outlines: Object/Path/Outline Stroke. This is an important stage because the Pathfinder ‘Crop’ tool won’t do its job properly if there are any strokes in the design.

After you’ve done this, group the elements of the pattern and create a square (or a rectangle) over the top. Scale and position it precisely where the corners of the repeating tile will be.

Using the Pathfinder Crop Tool

Now instead of using the Clipping Mask Tool, with the pattern group and square selected, click the ‘Crop’ button in the Pathfinder. This will completely remove (not just hide) the areas of the pattern outside the repeating tile.

Cropped Pattern Tile

Up to this point the process of creating the pattern design has been pretty much identical for both Illustrator CS5 and CS6. This is where they part ways, however.

Illustrator How to Make a Pattern
Step 3a: How to Define a Pattern in Illustrator CS5 (or earlier)

Now comes the moment when we add the new tile to our Pattern Swatch palette. Simply select the tile and choose Edit/Define Pattern... A window will open giving you the opportunity to name your new pattern swatch. Name it, click OK and you’ll see the new swatch appear in the Pattern Swatches palette. Now you can create a shape and fill it with a (hopefully) perfect repeating pattern.

That’s it for Illustrator CS5 (and earlier versions). If you want to edit the pattern or get it to tile in a different way, you’ll have to go back a few stages and redefine the pattern. Alternatively you can select Object/Expand with the filled item selected. This will break the pattern up into an editable design, although you’ll only be able to make edits to specific areas of the design - your edits won’t be carried over to the remainder of the pattern design.

Illustrator How to Make a Pattern
Step 3b: How to Define a Pattern in Illustrator CS6

To define the pattern in CS6, select the tile you just created and choose Object/Pattern/Make. A window will appear that says:

The new pattern has been added to the Swatches panel. Any changes made while in Pattern Editing Mode will be applied to the swatch upon exit.

Make Pattern in Illustrator CS6

Pattern Editing Mode? Cool! Finally a way to edit a pattern after it’s been created. Next to the window (you can click OK now) you’ll see a brand new control panel called Pattern Options. You’ll also notice that around your tile the pattern has repeated itself with reduced opacity so that you can preview what the pattern will look like when applied.

Pattern Options palette in Illustrator CS6

Play around with the settings in Pattern Options. You can now adjust the way the tiles butt up against each other (see the options under Tile Type), alter the space between the tiles, dictate how many tiles you want in the pattern and so on.

This means that you’re not necessarily tied down to rectangles and squares if you want to create a seamless tile. If you examine on the the preset patterns that ship with Illustrator CS6, you’ll see what I mean. Give one of them a try. Select Window/Swatch Libraries/Patterns/Nature/Nature_Foliage and click once on the “Leaves Tropical Color” swatch. An instance of this swatch will now appear in your Pattern Swatches palette. Double click this new swatch and the Pattern Options editing mode will open.

Editing pattern presets in Illustrator CS6

On this swatch you’ll see that the pattern tile isn’t bounded by a square - this time it’s a hexagon. In Pattern Options the Tile Type is “Hex by Row”. If you change the Tile Type to “Brick by Row” and the width & height to 17.5mm each, the result is much the same. Play with these settings a little more and you’ll see how much control you now have over the pattern.

Have fun!

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How to make a seamless tile pattern in Adobe Illustrator

How to Make a Tileable Pattern in Illustrator

By Amy Stanbrough

Illustrator's pattern-making tool is new to CS6.

Illustrator CS6 is designed for illustrations and artwork, but interface and Web designers love its pattern-making tool. You can make complex and colorful patterns quickly, but exporting a pattern tile for a Web background requires a few steps and some concentration. After mastering the method, you can spend some time enjoying the infinite possibilities of pattern-making in Illustrator. If you get really good, upload your tiles to Spoonbucket and make fabric featuring your own designs.

Make a Pattern and Preview

Open Illustrator and make a new document using a profile of your choice. Draw or place the object or objects you want to use in your pattern onto the artboard. Select the pattern object and pull down the "Object" menu from the top toolbar. Choose "Pattern" followed by "Make." Illustrator will enter pattern-making mode and add your pattern to the swatches palette.

In the Pattern Options Palette, deselect "Move Tile With Art." Give your pattern a name and choose a tile type. Enter values for width, height, V and H space, overlap and number of copies. When the pattern is complete, click "Done" from the link at the top of the art board to exit pattern-making mode. Your artboard will show you one instance of your pattern. Select the instance and delete it so you have a blank artboard.

Draw any shape -- such as a square -- onto the artboard. With the Fill icon forward on the Tools palette, fill the shape with your pattern by dragging its icon from the Swatches panel into the shape. This preview of your pattern might have faint white lines running through it. Don't worry, though, they won't show up in the final version. Clear your artboard again by selecting and deleting the shape.

Export Pattern Tile

Drag your pattern swatch into the center of the artboard. It might look incomplete, but that's because it's the template pattern and hasn't been applied to a shape. Select the pattern and choose "Ungroup" from the "Object" menu in the top toolbar. Click off the artboard to deselect. Choose "Outline" from the "View" menu to enter Illustrator's outline mode. Select only the rectangle in the center of your pattern.

Go to the "Object" menu in the top toolbar and select "Artboards" followed by "Fit to Selected Art." Without deselecting anything, return to Preview mode by selecting "View" then "Preview." The pattern tile is now cropped. You can add a background color if you wish.

Save the tile by choosing "Export" from the "File" menu in the top toolbar. From Export options, check "Use Artboards." Choose a filetype and give the tile a name. Making sure that "Use Artboards" is selected, click "Export." Set the quality options for your tile and click "OK" to complete the export. Your pattern is ready for use in other programs and the Web.




  • If your final pattern has tiny white lines on the edge, you can color them in using Photoshop. Alternately, you can tweak your pattern's spacing by double-clicking it in the swatches palette.


  • Illustrator will add a numeric value like "01" to your filename when you export. This is due to the "Use Artboard" command. Make sure you have only one artboard in your document.
  • Your pattern swatch will not appear in new documents you make in Illustrator.

Writer Bio

Amy Stanbrough is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "Bust," "Woman's World," "Southern Exposure" and many other publications. Stanbrough holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University.


Tile pattern illustrator


  • 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.

  • Sours:
    Illustrator Pattern Tiling Lines

    How to create a seamless pattern in Adobe Illustrator

    Creating seamless patterns has been really easy since Adobe Illustrator's CS6 advance pattern editing. The built in system gives you the flexibility of repeating your tile automatically (no manual edits to make a pattern tile seamlessly) and you have many options on how your tile will be repeated!

    This tutorial will show you all the necessary steps and options to create a seamless vector pattern in Adobe Illustrator (CS6 or newer).

    First of all open a new file and create your artwork. This will be the design that you want to repeat in order to make your pattern, it doesn't have to be limited within a square and it can be any vector shape you like.

    Leaves vector artwork - seamless pattern
    Leaves artwork

    You then select your artwork with your Selection Tool (V) or click Ctrl + A to select all and then choose Object > Pattern > Make.

    You are then transferred into a pattern edit mode where you can create your pattern by editing the options of the Pattern Options panel that will appear.

    Pattern Edit mode

    The main options you will need to edit

    IMAGE 1 - On the top of you Pattern Options Panel, you can name your pattern.

    IMAGE 2 - Tile Type, select how you want your artwork to tile, the options you have are the following:

    Grid: The center of each tile is horizontally and vertically aligned to the center of the adjacent tiles.

    Brick by row: Tiles are arranged in rows. Centers of tiles in rows are horizontally aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are vertically aligned.

    Here you can also apply Brick Offset (drop down under Tile Type) which determines by how much tile width the centers of tiles in adjacent rows are out of vertical or horizontal alignment.

    Brick by column: Tiles are arranged in columns. Centers of tiles in columns are vertically aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are horizontally aligned.

    Here you can also apply Brick Offset (drop down under Tile Type) which determines by how much tile width the centers of tiles in adjacent rows are out of vertical or horizontal alignment.

    Hex by column: Tiles are hexagonal in shape, and arranged in columns. Centers of tiles in the columns are vertically aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are horizontally aligned.

    Hex by row: Tiles are hexagonal in shape, and arranged in rows. Centers of tiles in the rows are horizontally aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate rows are vertically aligned.

    The Tile Type option is what essentially determines the look of your pattern, so make sure you play around with the options and offset to reach a desirable outcome.

    IMAGE 3 - Overlap, click the option here to select how your tiles will overlap when they are adjacent.

    IMAGE 4 - Copies determine how many rows and columns of tiles are visible while modifying the pattern. I usually prefer a higher number (9x9) so I can have a better understanding of the pattern I am working on.

    You can also click the top left icon on your Options Panel to manually adjust the size of your tiles.

    Manually adjust the size of your tiles

    When you are happy with the pattern you have created click Done in the bar below the Control Panel.

    Your new pattern will then be saved in your swatches panel.

    Find the pattern in your swatches panel

    Tip: I avoid adding a background color within the Pattern Editor, the overlapping tiles would cover your artwork if it has a solid color. It is best to keep the artwork transparent so your pattern can then be applied on any color you choose.

    Leaves Pattern with no background



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