I have a tiled pattern in Illustrator which appears in the Swatches. It's a simple pattern of wiggly line segments with black strokes and no fills. I want to edit this pattern so that the lines are green. I've followed Adobe's instructions on https://helpx.adobe.com/in/illustrator/using/create-edit-patterns.html but whenever I exit the Edit mode, the pattern becomes blank. This also happens when I do the "save a copy" command. Suggestions? Thanksenter image description here

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  • If you edit the pattern by double clicking the swatch and entering Pattern Editing mode- then change the stroke color- then click Done or Save a Copy- it will change the Swatch. Did you try and make a shape and fill it with the newly colored swatch ? Hard to say more without seeing more of your project.
    – Kyle
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 16:10
  • The video won't display for me. Says "502 Bad Gateway". Also I think it might help if you share a screenshot showing the problem. It's hard to make guesses without seeing anything. Thanks.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 16:32
  • The method I tried was exactly as you stated it. Have you tried this in the latest Illustrator? I have a feeling it may be a bug that crept in. Is there some way to send you the pattern so that you can test it? I don't see any instructions here about adding images.
    – CSyrett
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 17:02
  • Just figured it out - you have to edit the original post. Hope this helps.
    – CSyrett
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 18:02
  • Drag pattern out of the swatch panel and drop it in the canvas. Edit then drag back
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


This may be somewhat of an X/Y problem. I think there may be something, which you are unaware of, that is causing your issues or there is an unfamiliarity with how pattern tiling works.

Note I'm not using the "bleeding edge" version of AI here, so it is feasible that there may be issues with that version. I wouldn't know. If any of the below fails then I may suspect a possible issue with the software itself.

Create the art and drag it to the Swatches Panel to create the pattern swatch. It's not going to line up perfectly.

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Deselected all and then Double-Click the pattern swatch in the Swatches Panel to enter Pattern Editing Mode

From here you can reduce the tile size, then delete or reposition individual objects so they all align well, Pattern duplicates are dimmed for greater editing clarity.

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Then merely click the Done link at the top of the Document Window and you should see the pattern applied with your edits...

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If you see nothing in Pattern Editing mode, and the artwork is not white, there could possible be a software issue. But not necessarily...

Try Select > Select all to see if anything gets selected. Also, make certain you are zoomed out at least to see the entire artboard.

Entering Pattern Editing mode, centers the art on the artboard while you edit. If you are zoomed in, entering Pattern Editing mode won't zoom out, meaning the artwork may simply be out of view.

  • I've edited the elements so that they'll line up at the edges, but how do I change the tile size so they fit together? I've added a screenshot to the original question.
    – CSyrett
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 23:38
  • @CSyrett -- clicking the little button at the top of the Pattern Editing Panel will allow you to change the tile size.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 1:26
  • You get the cigar! Odd that none of this is described in the online instructions. Even odder is the fact that doing this (simply changing the colors of the strokes in the pattern) was far, far simpler and easier in FreeHand, 20 years ago!
    – CSyrett
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 2:22
  • It's pretty simple in AI.. once you understand it... I believe it's all in the Help Files. I'm not going to get into the whole AI v Freehand thing. That war was over 20 years ago when Freehand died. To the best of my recollection Freehand didn't have anything such as live pattern editing -- but I could be misremembering.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 2:31
  • Ah - I won't get into it either, except to point out that FH didn't just die, it was killed. To me there isn't really a "versus". I use AI every day, and I love it! For example, the Live Paint tools are a lifesaver for us mapmakers. But when I have rush work, I'm back on my old Mac with the lean mean basic tools that get the job done in half the time. A hearty thank you, Scott, for all your help!
    – CSyrett
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 12:35

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