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Procreate Tips – Gestures & Shortcuts

Procreate Tips – Gestures & Shortcuts main article image
Posted on June 22, 2021 by Laura-Jade Bennie

Procreate is a raster-based app available for iPad. Packed with features, it’s a fantastic resource for digital design and illustration. This article highlights some Gestures (Finger movements/actions) and Shortcuts to assist you through the creative process.


Undo and Redo

To Undo your last change simply tap your canvas with two fingers. Likewise, you can Redo changes by tapping the canvas with three fingers. One tap will undo/redo your previous change. You can do this multiple times if you would like to Undo/Redo more changes.

Undo Two Finger Tap to Undo

REdo Three Finger Tap to Redo

Full Canvas View

While drawing it is highly likely that you will zoom in and out of your canvas as you work. To quickly return to your Full Canvas/100% view, simply pinch the screen with two fingers. Your canvas will snap back to fill the screen.

Pinch for Full Screen Pinch for Full-Screen View

Quick Hide Menu & Sliders

If you would like to view your canvas without the Menus and Sliders you can do this by tapping your canvas with four fingers. You will notice that all the Sliders and Menus disappear leaving only the canvas visible. Tap the screen again with four fingers to return all Menus.

hide sliders and menu Four Finger Tap to Hide Menu & Sliders

Four finger tap to hide menu and sliders Menus & Sliders are Hidden

Quick Clear Layer

If you would like to clear all the elements on the current layer, you can do this by swiping or scrubbing three fingers over your canvas. Think of the action of rubbing marker off a whiteboard. You will notice the layer is now empty.

clear layerTo Clear the Layer Scrub Three Fingers Over the Canvas

Copy Paste Menu

To quickly open the Copy & Paste menu, simply swipe three fingers down your screen. The Copy & Paste menu will pop up. From here you can copy the current layer or selected elements and then paste them to a new layer. This can assist in speeding up your workflow.

Copy & PasteSwipe Three Fingers for Copy & Paste Menu

Merge Layers

A quick gesture used to Merge Layers can be accessed through the layers panel. Navigate to the Layers panel and “pinch” the layers you wish to merge together by “pinching” your thumb and finger closed over the layers. You will notice the layers move under your fingers until they merge to form one layer.

Pinch to Merge LayersPinch to Merge Layers

Quick Adjust Layer Opacity

Tap Two fingers on the layer to bring up the Opacity Slider at the top of the screen. You can then move the slider left or right to adjust the layer opacity.

Two Finger tap to open Opacity SliderTap Two fingers on the Layer to Bring Up the Opacity Slider

Opacity SliderUse the Opacity Slider to Adjust the Opacity 

Quick Alpha Lock On and Off

Swipe two fingers right on the selected layer, this will automatically turn on Alpha Lock. Repeating the action will turn off Alpha Lock.

Alpha Lock On & OffSwipe Two Fingers Right to Turn Alpha Lock On/Off


Customise Gesture Menu

The gesture shortcuts discussed above are all available as default settings in Procreate, however, you can customise the gestures to suit your needs. To do this you will need to access the “Gesture Controls” panel. Click on the Wrench Icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Select the “Prefs” menu in the top toolbar and then click on “Gesture Controls”. This will open the Gesture Control Panel. You can now customise the gestures to suit your workflow and personal preferences.

Gesture Control MenuAccessing the Gesture Control Menu

Customise Gesture ControlGesture Control Panel

Customise Quick Menu

The Quick Menu is useful for accessing tools that are frequently used. You can customise the gesture used to access the Quick Menu in the Gesture Controls Panel as discussed above. Open the Gesture Controls Panel and select Quick Menu. You can set the Quick Menu access to any of the gestures listed. For example, selecting “Touch” will allow you to open the Quick Menu with a finger touch on the screen.

Customise Quick MenuQuick Menu Gesture Control

Finger TouchQuick Menu Access – Touch

Finger TouchAccess Quick Menu with Finger Touch Gesture

Each of the six tabs in the Quick Menu can be customised to suit your needs. This can be done by clicking and holding down on the tab. A scroll menu will appear which will allow you to set the actions you would prefer in your Quick Menu.

Quick Menu OptionsQuick Menu Options

Customise Quick Menu TabsScroll Through Actions to Customise Quick Menu Tabs

Eye Dropper Colour Selector

To access the Eye Dropper tool for colour selection, simply hold one finger down on your screen. You will notice the colour picker will appear under your finger. You can move your finger around the screen to select any colour on the canvas.

Eyedropper toolEye Dropper Colour Selector Tool

Colour Wheel

You can access the Colour Wheel by clicking on the colour icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Select “Disc” in the bottom toolbar. This will open the full Colour Wheel. You can select a colour by tapping on the colour in the Colour Wheel. If you would like to quick select pure white, pure black, or a fully saturated colour this can be done by double-tapping near the colour. For example, double-tap near white, and the colour picker will snap to pure white.

Colour WheelOpen Colour Wheel

Double Tap for Pure Colour Double Tap to Quick Select Pure/Unsaturated Colour

Quick Shape & Edit Shape

After using your pen to draw a shape, if you hold your pen down on the screen you can adjust the size of your shape. If you hold down on the screen with your pen and one finger it will snap to create a “perfect” shape. You can also tap on the edit shape for further options.

Double Tap for Pure ColourDraw a Shape

Hold with Finger to Snap to Perfect ShapeHold with One Finger to Snap to Perfect Shape

Quick EditClick on Edit Shape for More Options

Colour Drop Threshold

The Colour Drop Threshold is a useful feature when filling a shape with colour. If the shape is not perfectly enclosed, the colour can “spill out” over the entire canvas. To overcome this, you can adjust the Colour Drop Threshold. This is done by holding your pen down on the canvas and sliding left or right to adjust the ColourDrop Threshold Bar, at the top of the screen, until you reach the desired colour fill.

Colour Threshold SliderColourDrop Threshold Slider

Slider Control

If you are having difficulty adjusting the Slider Toolbars by small increments you can overcome this by moving your pen out and away from the slider and then up and down to adjust the slide bar to your desired percentage.

Colour Threshold SliderSlider Control

Copying a Layer from One Project to Another

In the Layers Panel, click and hold the layer you wish to copy. Drag the layer out of the Layers Panel, at the same time click “Gallery” with your finger. The Gallery window will open and you can drop the layer into any existing project, or you can go to the “plus” and create a new canvas with the layer. The new canvas will be the same size as the project you are copying the layer from.

Hold and Drag LayerHold and Drag the Layer + Click Gallery

Drag Layer into New/existing ProjectDrag the Layer into a New/Existing Canvas

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Thank you for this great overview! This comes so in handy for my journey to begin with Procreate!

Laura-Jade Bennie's profile picture
Laura-Jade Bennie

June 24, 2021


Awesome! Enjoy your creative journey :)

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