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How to Make a Repeating Shape Pattern in Illustrator

Here's a great Adobe Illustrator tip I wanted to share with you all.  It just so happens that if you hold down the “tilde” key on your keyboard, you can get a neat effect using any of Illustrator's drawing tools. Holding down the tilde key, (the little squiggly line above the tab key, left of the number 1 on your keyboard.) while using a drawing tool will cause Illustrator to repeat the shape rapidly as you move your mouse. Examples are below:

For starters, here is a pic of the tilde key:

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

Here are some quick examples with some different drawing tools:

Also, remember that you can hold shift and/or option/alt at the same time you're holding the tilde key to constrain your shapes if you like. This feature is useful when we are looking to create whorls or loops. Adobe has all the shortcuts and quick tools for things which are difficult to do manually. You must look for keyboard shortcuts if you find that the certain thing is almost impossible to be done manually. You can create a spider net or fishnet using this procedure. Adobe is an interesting application software for all the designers around the world as it enables you to do all sort of stuff in a few seconds. There are no shortcuts except hard work but the Adobe software lets you work in a smart way and make things to happen in very less time. You may be practicing creating repeating shape patterns with different complex shapes and patterns so as to learn more in your own way. Some shapes are created when we make the repeating patterns around them. There are certain things which require a lot of time when done manually so it is important to be aware of all the features and keyboard shortcuts. Adobe software has added enormous value to the lives of designers and it has made the best use of technology to simplify the designing processes. Repeating shape patterns are often used by graphic designers in their projects. Nearly all of the tasks in Photoshop can be done automatically in a few clicks and there is no need to do any kind of labor. Being aware of all the techniques and tools and making correct use of them in different instances make you a good designer. Repeating shape patterns in Illustrator can be used to duplicate a particular pattern over a wide area.

If you are wondering what is meant by a tilde, keep in mind that the tilde is the mathematical symbol that appears on the key of your keyboard. You will use that key to draw repeating shapes.

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

Star tool:

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

Rounded Rectangle tool:

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

Eclipse tool:

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

Line tool:

Illustrator: The Tilde Trick

I'm the editor-in-chief of I'm a designer and developer by day, and a writer and musician when the feeling strikes. I enjoy vintage advertisements and puzzles with an absurd amount of pieces. Follow me on Twitter.

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