Procreate is a powerful digital art creation tool that offers a wide range of features to artists, making it a popular choice among the creative community. One of the most useful features in Procreate is its Copy and Paste functionality. 

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just getting familiar with Procreate, knowing how to use Copy and Paste efficiently can significantly streamline your workflow. In this article, we will explore the various methods to Copy and Paste in Procreate, discuss each method’s ease of use, and provide some best practices to help you make the most out of this handy feature.

Is Learning How to Copy and Paste in Procreate Difficult?

A person’s hand holding an Apple Pencil over an iPad with Procreate open on the screen. Procreate’s canvas shows an illustration of koi fish swimming in a pond, and the person is using their Apple Pencil to interact with a menu titled ‘Copy & Paste.’
In the Skillshare class “Procreate Masterclass: Digital Drawing on the iPad,” teacher Marius Worch shows students how to use the Copy and Paste menu in Procreate. 

The good news is that learning how to Copy and Paste in Procreate isn’t difficult in the least. The app offers several methods to copy and paste objects or elements in your Procreate projects, giving you artistic flexibility and making it much easier to control your creative process. 

While it may take a little time to get used to the different methods, each is designed to be quick, efficient and user-friendly, so it won’t be long before you’ve mastered all the basic Procreate techniques.

5 Methods to Copy and Paste

A person’s using their finger to touch an iPad on a white tabletop. The program Procreate is open on the iPad, and the person is interacting with a menu titled ‘Copy & Paste’ which is open over an illustration of cartoon dinosaurs.
In the Skillshare class “Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad,” teacher Brooke Glaser uses the Selection tool to copy and paste. 

Procreate’s Copy and Paste functionality may be simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s limited. In fact, there are five different ways you can Copy and Paste various elements of your artwork.

1. The Three-Finger Swipe

The three-finger swipe is arguably the easiest method of copying and pasting in Procreate. To enable it:

  • Go to the Actions menu in the top-left corner.
  • Navigate to Prefs, and then to Gesture Controls.
  • Click on Copy and Paste.
  • Turn on the three-finger swipe option and click Done to confirm your choice.
  • With this gesture enabled, you can now copy in Procreate simply by swiping down with three fingers on your selected object.
  • Access the Copy and Paste menu in Procreate, click on Copy, and you’ve successfully copied your object.
  • To Paste in Procreate using the same gesture, choose Paste instead of Copy. The same goes for the Copy and Paste menu’s other tools, such as Cut. 

2. Use the Selection Tool

Want to copy an object from one artwork and paste it into another? Or, perhaps you’d like to copy one section of your piece and copy it to a different location? In either case, the Selection tool can help: 

  • Click the Selection tool in the upper left corner.
  • Select your preferred method for selecting the object in question.
  • After choosing the object, access the options menu.
  • Click Copy & Paste to proceed.

3. Copy and Paste the Whole Layer

If you’re creating complex illustrations in Procreate, chances are you’re working in layers. And since there are plenty of scenarios in which you’d need to duplicate a layer, you should know how to Copy and Paste an entire layer of your work:

  • Access the Layers section in the upper right corner. 
  • Find the layer you want to copy, and swipe it to the left with your finger or stylus.
  • Select Duplicate from the layer menu that appears—this will copy the layer. 
  • To paste your layer, use the three-finger swipe to open up the Copy and Paste menu and tap Paste.

4. Use the QuickMenu

If you copy and paste frequently, you may want to set up the QuickMenu to help you do so even faster. To do so:

  • Set up QuickMenu to include both Copy and Paste. To do so, open QuickMenu, press and hold the action you want to change, and tap Set Action. Do this for both Copy and Paste. 
  • Once you’ve added Copy and Paste to the QuickMenu, choose the element or object you want to copy. 
  • Activate QuickMenu again. 
  • Select the Copy tool from the options that appear. 
  • Activate the QuickMenu again, but this time choose the Paste tool.

5. Open the Add Menu

While it may not be the most streamlined method, you can also copy and paste using Procreate’s Add menu:

  • Open the Actions dropdown menu from the upper left corner.
  • Select the Add option.
  • Click on either Copy or Copy Canvas, depending on what you want to copy. 
  • To paste your art, repeat the above steps but choose Paste instead of Copy. 

Copying and Pasting: Procreate Best Practices

A person’s hand holding an Apple Pencil over an iPad with Procreate open on the screen. The Procreate canvas shows an illustration of bright neon pink and orange mushrooms, while the person uses their Apple Pencil to open the options for a specific layer. 
In the Skillshare class “Procreate Fundamentals: Everything You Didn’t Realize You Wanted to Know,” teacher Peggy Dean demonstrates how to open the options menu for a layer, which allows users to easily Copy and Paste. 

Since Procreate is an artistic tool, there is no technically “right” or “wrong” way to use its Copy and Paste functionality. Nevertheless, there are some guidelines you can follow to save time while still maintaining the quality of your work. 

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when copying and pasting: 

  • Stay organized: It’s essential to label your layers and groups clearly so that you know exactly what you’re copying and pasting.
  • Resist the urge to be lazy: When you’re creating a new character, for example, it may be tempting to simply Copy and Paste an existing character and tweak a few things about its appearance. But if you want to reach your full creative potential and expand your artistic abilities, try to resist the temptation.
  • Copy and Paste strategically: Instead of using Procreate’s Copy and Paste functionality as a way to cut corners, think of it as a tool you can use to accomplish specific tasks. If you need to keep a background consistent across multiple images while animating in Procreate, for example, you can use Copy and Paste to do so easily and flawlessly. 
  • Use the right method for your needs: Sometimes it may make more sense to use one Copy and Paste method over another. For instance, if you want to Copy and Paste a specific object, the Selection tool method might be best. But if you need to Copy and Paste an entire layer, it’d be more efficient to do so through the Layers section. 

Ready to Start Copying and Pasting?

Mastering Procreate’s Copy and Paste functionality is an essential skill for artists looking to boost their productivity. The methods we’ve discussed provide you with a range of options to Copy and Paste elements in your artwork efficiently. 

For replicating objects, employing elements across different areas of your artwork, keeping backgrounds consistent and more, the Copy and Paste feature in Procreate offers significant time-saving benefits. And now that you know how to Copy and Paste, you can enjoy those benefits to their fullest. 

Want to develop your Procreate skills even further? Skillshare is a great place to start. With hundreds of Procreate classes for students of all levels, you’re sure to find a class that sparks your creativity.

Written by:

Carrie Buchholz-Powers