How to copy and paste in Procreate

Procreate is a graphics editing app that lets iPad and iPhone users be creative on the go. But if you want to really master this great app, it’s best to start with some basics.

How to copy and paste in Procreate

Copy/paste functionality proves to be essential in visual design. Duplicating individual elements or entire layers can save time and may be necessary for some projects. This article will show you how to do that.

How to copy and paste in Procreate Pocket for iPhone

Starting with the iPhone-exclusive version, the copy and paste functionality in Procreate Pocket is the same as it is in the iPad version of Procreate. However, the process will look a little different.

You can copy and paste layers and elements using several methods.

copy/paste via menu

Every element on a layer can be duplicated using the Copy and Paste menu. Make sure you are on the correct layer before attempting this method. The currently active layer will be copied.

  1. Swipe up with three fingers to bring up the Copy and Paste menu.
    CopyPasting via Menu 1 1
  2. Selecting Duplicate will duplicate the current layer, while Duplicate All will duplicate the entire project.
  3. Paste the element to create a new layer containing the copied content.

Duplicate via layer duplication

If you need to duplicate an entire layer, there is a method that is faster than the previous method. Here’s how to duplicate layers in Procreate:

  1. Navigate to the Layers panel.
    Copying via Layer Duplication 1
  2. Select the layer you want to duplicate and swipe left on it.
    Copying via Layer Duplication 2
  3. Choose Duplicate and a new layer will be created identical to the selected layer.
    Copying via Layer Duplication 3

Copy/paste via the Actions menu

You can access the copy/paste functionality in different ways through the Actions menu, although you can achieve the same result using the “copy and paste” method. Nonetheless, if you want to use this workaround for any reason, here’s how:

  1. Go to “Layers” and select the layer you want to duplicate.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 1
  2. Click “Edit” in the upper left corner.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 2
  3. Access the Actions menu by clicking the wrench.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 3
  4. Click “Add” to display the copy options.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 4
  5. Similar to the first method, choose Duplicate or Duplicate Canvas.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 5
  6. Click “Paste” to paste the copied content.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 6
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copy a single element

So far we’ve covered methods for duplicating an entire layer or all elements within a layer. However, you can also copy each element individually. Here’s how:

  1. Open Layers and make sure the correct layer is highlighted.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 1
  2. Go to Edit and select the third icon from the left. It is represented by the stylized letter “S”. This will allow you to use the selection tool.
    CopyPasting via the Actions Menu 2
  3. Decide which selection method to use. Options are Auto, Freehand, Rectangle, and Ellipse.
    Copying Individual Elements 3
  4. Draw the selection area so that it contains the desired elements. Make sure the element you want to copy is the only element in the area.
    Copying Individual Elements 4
  5. After selecting elements, use Copy and Paste or the Actions menu to copy and paste the selection.
    Copying Individual Elements 5
  6. As with other methods, pasted elements will be created on a new layer.

How to copy and paste in Procreate on iPad

As mentioned earlier, copying and pasting in Procreate works the same in the iPad app as it does in Procreate Pocket. However, the exact method will vary. Here are all the tips for copying and pasting on iPad.

Copy/paste via shortcut

If you need to duplicate an entire layer, Procreate has a quick and easy option:

  1. Swipe down with three fingers to bring up the “Copy and Paste” shortcut menu.
    CopyPaste via Shortcut 1 1
  2. Choose Copy or Copy All.
    CopyPaste via Shortcut 2 1
  3. Click Paste.
    CopyPaste via Shortcut 3 1

copy/paste entire layer

If you don’t want to use the handy shortcut, there is another way to copy and paste entire layers:

  1. Make sure to select the layer you want to duplicate.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 1
  2. Click once on a layer in the Layers list to display the side menu.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 2
  3. Choose Copy.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 23
  4. Click the wrench icon in the upper left corner.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 44
  5. Select Add, then Paste, which should be the bottommost option.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 5
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After completing step 5, the new layer will appear in the Layers menu.

duplicate layer

Duplicating layers in Procreate is very simple and consists of only two steps:

  1. Go to “Layers” and select the desired layer.
    Duplicating Layers 1 1
  2. Swipe left on the layer and select Duplicate.
    Duplicating Layers 2 1

That’s it – the copied layer will appear in the list.

copy/paste a single element

Duplicating entire layers can be useful, but doing the same for individual elements may prove essential in a variety of projects. Fortunately, this technique is as simple as the others mentioned here:

  1. In Layer, select the layer containing the element to copy.
    CopyPasting the Entire Layer 1
  2. Click the stylized “S” in the top left menu to bring up the “Select” tool.
    CopyPasting Individual Elements 2
  3. Choose a selection method. The options will be Auto, Freehand, Rectangle, and Ellipse.
    CopyPasting Individual Elements 3
  4. Draw a selection area around the desired object.
    CopyPasting Individual Elements 4
  5. Use available shortcuts or the wrench menu to copy and paste elements.
    CopyPasting Individual Elements 5

As with layers, the copied elements will form a new layer, which you can find under “Layers”.

Paste layers or elements to the canvas

You’ve seen how easy it is to copy and paste within the same canvas. If you want to move layers or elements to a new canvas, Procreate makes the process easy too.

In these cases, you can duplicate layers or elements following one of the methods outlined here. Then, just go to the new canvas and hit paste.

Copy and paste without loss of quality

Copying and pasting in Procreate should not result in quality loss of pasted elements. However, you may see some blurry edges due to other factors.

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In particular, if you copy from one canvas to another, there may be a loss of quality if the resolution of the canvases is different. The reasons are as follows:

When you set the width and height of the canvas, you are actually determining its resolution. The smaller the size, the lower the resolution.

Since the resolution determines how many pixels are in the image, every element on the canvas will have the same resolution. So if you copy an element from a lower resolution canvas to another higher resolution canvas, the element will remain low resolution.

A noticeable loss of quality will cause low-resolution edges to show more on high-resolution canvases. Making both canvases the same size will help you avoid this problem.

Easy copy and paste

There are various methods of copying and pasting in Procreate and Procreate Pocket. Even better, these operations can be performed on individual elements or on entire layers.

Now that you know how to copy and paste in Procreate, there’s one less roadblock to your creativity. So grab your iPad or iPhone and start practicing.

Did you copy and paste something in Procreate? Which method are you using? Let us know in the comments below.

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