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How To Add Custom Patterns and Save Them as a Set in Photoshop

How to Define a Pattern and Save a Preset File


Photoshop Preset Manager

One you have several custom patterns defined in Photoshop, you can use the preset manager to save them as a set for safekeeping. | View Larger

© S. Chastain

Photoshop 6 and later ships with a few sets of patterns that work with the fill tool and layer styles. But did you know you can add your own patterns and save them as a custom set? Follow these steps to create patterns from your own images and save them as a set. Steps 10-15 can also be used to save custom sets of brushes, gradients, styles, shapes, etc.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 2 minutes

Here's How:

  1. It's a good idea to start out with only the default patterns loaded. To do this, switch to the paint bucket tool (G).


  2. Set the options bar to fill with a pattern, click the arrow next to the pattern preview, click the arrow on the pattern palette, and choose Reset Patterns from the menu.


  3. Your pattern palette will have the 10 default patterns in it.


  4. To add your own, open the pattern you want to add and select all (Ctrl-A), or make a selection from an image with the rectangular marquee tool.


  5. Choose Edit > Define Pattern


  6. Type a name for your new pattern in the dialog box that appears and click OK.


  7. Now check the pattern palette and you will see your custom pattern at the end of the list.


  8. Repeat steps 4-6 for all the patterns you wish to add.


  9. In order to keep the custom patterns for future use, you need to save them as a set. If you don't, you will lose them the next time you load a different pattern set or reset your preferences.


  10. Go to Edit > Preset Manager


  11. Pull the menu down to Patterns and resize the preset manager window if you need to.


  12. Select the patterns you want to include in the set by Shift-clicking on them (a thick line will surround the selected patterns).


  13. When you have everything you want selected, click the "Save Set" button and give it a name you will remember. It should be saved to the Photoshop\Presets\Patterns folder.


  14. If saved in the proper folder, your new pattern set will be available from the pattern palette menu.


  15. If it's not listed on the menu, you can load it using the load, append, or replace command on the pattern palette menu. (Some OSes limit the number of entries you can have in the menu.)



  1. Save all your favorite patterns into a single set, and you will have your most commonly used fills all in one place.


  2. Alt-click on a pattern in the preset manager to remove it from the palette. It won't be removed from the saved pattern set unless you save the set again.


  3. Large pattern sets can take a long time to load. Group patterns in smaller sets of similar patterns to reduce load time and make it easier to find what you need.


  4. The procedure is the same for saving custom sets of brushes, swatches, gradients, styles, contours, and shapes. These custom sets can be shared among other Photoshop users.


  5. Make a backup copy of your custom presets on removable media so you'll never lose them.


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