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How to move pattern fills in Illustrator

As I have received several emails asking me how to move a pattern fill in Illustrator I prepared a quick tutorial and hope this will help one or the other. At the end you find a way how to move a pattern fill manually. All steps work from CS3 to CS6. Here we go!


1. By default the “Transform Pattern Tiles” is checked in the Illustrator Preferences Panel. I just would like to mention it in case the below descriptions might not work for you. Please check your preferences then.

Tutorial How to move a pattern fill in Illustrator


2. This is a pattern fill I would like to move 100px to the right without moving the object itself.

Tutorial How to move a pattern fill in Illustrator


3. Select the object with the pattern fill and go to Object > Transform > Move.

Tutorial How to move a pattern fill in Illustrator


4. Uncheck “Transform Objects” and check “Transform Patterns” in the Move panel. You can also check “Preview” to see the movement instantly. Here I move the pattern fill 100px to the right.

Tutorial How to move a pattern fill in Illustrator


5. Click OK and voilà, the pattern fill moved, but the object didn’t.

Tutorial How to move a pattern fill in Illustrator


6. You can also move the pattern fill manually or interactively as the numerical input is not always the optimal solution to get the best result quickly.
Again, select the object with the pattern fill. Now hold down the tilde key and drag the pattern inside. You’ll see a bounding box as you drag. As soon as you release you see that the pattern fill moved.

The tilde key does not work all over the world. Here in Germany I use the “<” Key on a Mac to get the same result. This key also works in Spain, Italy, Sweden, Belgium (as far as my research said).
In the UK try to use the “‘” Key. In some cases even the “ö” key did the work. If you know more please write a comment, thank you so much!

2 comments

  1. Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  2. Thank you so much for the tip about the tilde key & moving the pattern interactively – was just what I needed! Thank you!!! So helpful!

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