This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we may earn commission for qualifying purchases. See our disclaimer for more information.

The pattern preview tool is one of my favorite Photoshop features and makes creating seamless patterns so much easier.

In this guide we will look at what the pattern preview tool is and how to use it to make seamless patterns in Photoshop.

How to Use Pattern Preview Tool

The pattern preview tool was first introduced with Photoshop CC 2021. This tool allows you to see your pattern repeat in real time, which makes it so much easier to create a balanced pattern.

To access the pattern preview tool go to View > Pattern Preview.

This will cause your canvas to extend past the canvas bounds and will give you a continuous repeat. Any new object or brush stroke you add to your canvas will automatically be repeated.

If you add an object or make a new brush stroke on one side of your canvas it will automatically be repeated on the other side.

In the video above I demonstrate creating a simple polka dot pattern using this feature. First create a circle and duplicate it. Turn the pattern preview tool on and then drag it to the corner and it will automatically repeat it in all four corners.

With the pattern preview mode turned on go to Edit > Define Pattern to save your pattern to Photoshop.

Tips for using pattern preview tool

1) Convert your object to a smart object before having it repeat on the edge.

If you are dealing with rasterized pixels and you use the pattern preview tool the parts of your object become disconnected.

For example if I turn on the pattern preview tool and create a simple circle using a hard round brush it will create pixels. If I move this circle and position it on the edge and then turn off the pattern preview tool what you will notice is that when you move that circle again you will notice that it now exists in two parts (where one part sits on one side and then the other part sits on the other side) instead of it being a complete circle.

To prevent this from happening just convert it to a smart object before using the pattern preview tool.

2) Create a simple action to turn the pattern preview tool on and off.

Actions are a great way to speed up your workflow in Photoshop. I have created a simple action to turn on and off the pattern preview mode.

Open the Actions panel from Window > Actions.

Click the plus icon to create a new action. Give your action a name – Pattern Preview On/Off. I also recommend assigning it a color so it stands out among your actions and then click to record.

The pattern preview tool is located in the top menu which means you can’t just select it from the menu. In order to record a top level menu item you need to click on the three line icon in the upper right hand corner of the actions panel and select insert menu item.

Now you can select View > Pattern Preview. In the dialogue box it will show that this action has been registered. Click on Ok. That is all you have to do to make this action so just hit the stop button to end the action recording.

Change to button mode from the actions menu and then click on your new action. It will easily turn the pattern preview mode on and off with the click of a button.

I love working with actions and this action is included in my 22 Actions for Pattern Design.

Looking for more Pattern Design Tutorials?