I'm trying to follow a grid pattern tutorial online that uses a stroked shape for the pattern, but every time I Ctrl+click the shape to select it the stroke does not get selected with the shape and the pattern becomes a solid color with no grid when I create it. What am I doing wrong? I can't even figure out what exactly to select because the shape has a vector mask and the layer thumbnail causes the Define Pattern option to be grayed out when I select it.

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    it would be helpful if you linked the tutorial and the step you're on. Is the stroke on a separate layer or is it a layer effect?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


I'm not too sure what you're asking about, but as far as selecting the layer and its stroke, this should help:

When you CTRL+CLICK a layer in the layers panel, you will only select the outline of the layer itself - not its styles.

One way to get around this would be to convert the layer into a smart object by either method below.

Easiest way: CTRL+CLICK (right click on PC) the layer in the layers panel and choose Convert to Smart Object

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A more time-consuming way, and one I don't know why you would use, is to convert it via the Layer option on the application menu bar.

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Doing either of these will mean that when you CTRL+CLICK a layer in the layers panel, you will now select the layer and its styles. To edit the styles, simply double click on the layer's preview in the layers panel and your smart object will open. Another bonus to working with Smart Objects is that you can transform them without losing the original image data.

  • There's also the Layer Panel menu... if you really need a third alternative :)
    – Scott
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 17:42

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