I Googled "illustrator repeat shape" and none of the results gave a clear answer from what I could tell.

I want to make a simple multicolored grid something like this, without duplicating and dragging the squares manually:

enter image description here

The colors dont matter, I can manage that, and 8x8 as shown above would be perfect. How can I do this in illustrator?

Note: I know I could manage this manually by creating a square shape, duplicating, dragging, repeat, but I'm interested to know if there's an automated method of doing this - I see such patterns all over the place and I assume illustrator would be the tool to make them without manual iteration.

Is there some kind of feature for repeating shapes a number of times over the x and y axis, for example?

  • This question have many different correct answers, as there are many different ways of achieving the result you want.
    – Luciano
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


One quick way of doing it is to use the Rectangular Grid Tool + Live Paint Bucket:

lifted from another answer here http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/20035/

Then you just use the Live Paint Bucket and add the different colors to the different squares:

Live Painte Bucket

And finally don't forget to remove the border color. Like I did. It took me just a few seconds to draw the grid and start painting, it should take just a few minutes in total if you have a color palette ready.


You could make use of the repeat-last-action facility (Mac: Cmd-D, Windows: Ctrl-D).

For example, create one box, then alt-drag the box so it duplicates it and snaps next to it (use Smart Guides to help - View > Smart Guides). Then press Cmd-D multiple times to create a trail of boxes.

Then select all of the boxes, alt-drag them to create a second row of boxes snapping to the first. Then press Cmd-D multiple times to create your grid!

Hope this makes sense

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