I want to create patterns/images within an image in Illustrator E.g. smaller triangles within a large triangle.

I’ve tried to create a swatch with the smaller images and then chosen the larger image and selected draw inside tool but once this has taken effect you can’t move the swatch inside without it moving the larger image, could someone please advise the best way to achieve what I need to do?

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    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


I assume you built a pattern and applied it to an object.

To move a pattern inside an object, select the object using the Selection Tool (V).

Hold Down the grave accent (backtick) key `, and click and drag on your pattern to move it inside the object.

enter image description here

  • Never knew you could do that!
    – Cai
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:13
  • 1
    Me neither... and I'm desperately trying to figure what could be key-equivalent on my French keyboard...
    – Vinny
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:26
  • 3
    @BillyKerr Nope, not working... As a matter of fact, I did make some research and it appears that Adobe defines it a the "Tilde" key. Apparently tilde and backstick are on the same key on a Qwerty keyboard. Unfortunately on a french keyboard you need to press the Alt key to access those characters. And obviously, result is... duplication :-/ What's more... this question has been asked several times on the Adobe forum without any solution. I'm starting to think French keyboard users are unlikely to be able to use that "Tilde trick". I'll place a bounty on that one ^^
    – Vinny
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:22
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    @Vinny - that must be really annoying. Adobe should fix that. I have no idea why they chose such an obscure key! The funny thing is, on a qwerty UK Windows keyboard, the backtick (grave) is on a key with `¬¦ but not the tilde, however the Illustrator trick still works with that key even if you hold Fn on laptops, or CTRL. Perhaps you could try it with another key instead of Alt or perhaps even without the Alt?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 15:00
  • 1
    One question @BillyKerr, how did you even find this out? Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 5:31

You can use object transforms (in the Object → Tranform menu) to transform only the pattern, just uncheck "Transform Objects" and check "Transform Patterns"...

You can also use the Transform panel by selecting "Transform Pattern Only" from the panel menu and adjusting values (i.e. to move, just adjust the X and Y values)...

  • Good Gosh! How in the world are we supposed to ever find this out? Why not just add a Center or move capability in the darn swatch palette?
    – Jeff
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 17:49

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