The great advantage of digital art is the ability to undo any mistake and the most commonly used command in Procreate is the Undo gesture. This is how to undo in Procreate, in the quickest way.
You can Undo in Procreate by using the two-finger tap. Take two fingers and tap them simultaneously anywhere on the screen. This will undo each action one step at a time. You can repeat this process up to 250 times. There’s also an undo arrow icon on the left side of the screen beneath the sliders.
You can use a three-finger tap to reverse your undo command and bring it back. Likewise, there is another redo arrow icon, beneath the undo icon.
But wait there’s more. You can lose this undo and redo history entirely if you’re not careful.
(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)
How to Undo in Procreate (With Pictures)
The gesture controls are designed to save you time, think of them as convenient shortcuts that allow you to work seamlessly.
The most efficient way of working is to draw with one hand, typically with an Apple pencil, and use your essential gestures with the other. It will become second nature over time.
These commands are preset and will work unless you actively disable the feature. More of that in a moment.
Let’s draw a couple of squiggly lines on the screen.
I’m right-handed so I use my left hand to tap the screen with two fingers to undo the last action. the last squiggly line vanishes. A double tap will remove the next action and so on.
If instead of tapping your fingers you touch and hold your fingers down, you are commanding the Procreate application to undo your previous sequence of actions in rapid succession. Your command ceases when you lift your fingers.
This can be reversed with the three-finger command.
There is a short delay before the rapid undo starts. Should you wish to change the delay timings, you can adjust the settings.
Go to the wrench icon and at the bottom of the Actions box, you will see a rapid undo delay slider set to 0.65s by default. You can increase or decrease the delay to suit your own needs.
These commands will work even when you draw/paint on separate layers. They do not work if the layers panel remains open. Close it and proceed.
If you’re uncomfortable with gesture shortcuts you can undo and redo every action using the arrow icons. The upper arrow icon pointing to the left is the Undo button, and the lower arrow icon pointing to the right is the redo button.
Hold the button down and it speeds up the series of actions.
You may decide that you don’t want the Undo and Redo default settings at all. That’s not a problem, you can switch them off.
How to Turn Off Undo and Redo Gestures
Each gesture in the Procreate app has a default preset that you can customize or disable if you wish.
Tap on the wrench icon at the top of the screen. It’s on the left. you’ll see the Actions menu, tap on the Prefs toggle button and scan down the list to ‘Gesture Controls’ and tap it.
A new page will open.
In the left-hand menu, you’ll see a list of controls. Click on any and you’ll see your options to change the settings as a menu on the right. We are interested in the last on the list. You’ll see a gear icon, Tap ‘General’
You’ll see four commands on the right. The ‘Disable Undo and Redo’ toggle will be off. To activate the command toggle it on.
Toggle it off and your shortcut will cease to function. Click Done.
To reinstate it you can go back to and toggle it on again or if you wish to reset all 4 to default settings there is a Reset button at the bottom.
That’s all very straight forward so what could possibly go wrong? Let’s cover that next.
How Do You Undo in Procreate After Saving?
You have to be careful when saving your art or design because it can backfire.
Let me explain
When you tap the Gallery tab at the top left of your screen, your image is saved, It appears automatically in your Procreate gallery, alongside your previous projects.
Tapping the image again brings it back into your canvas interface but all is not as it was.
Saving your work disables the history of all the previous actions. It’s like having a new canvas. The redo and undo commands will start afresh. Your drawing or painting steps are lost but your layers remain intact.
You can work on your saved layers, you can use the eraser tool, use the opacity slider (via ‘N’ in the layer menu), or delete them, but the original layers are fixed at the moment they were saved.
You might be wondering what’s so important if you know this beforehand. The problem is you can save your work unintentionally.
- It’s easy to accidentally tap the wrench icon and tap the Gallery tab by mistake,
- Forget to recharge your Ipad,
- Or turn off your Ipad without thinking about your unfinished project.
You can’t get it back. This can be a major problem if you have spent hours on a piece of work.
Is there a solution? Yes, a partial one that involves a degree of forethought.
Using Layers to Save Your Artwork
To retain your work in stages, you must learn to work in multiple layers. As I explained earlier, they are saved in your gallery.
This is easier said than done. it requires self-discipline. It’s all too easy to get engrossed in your work and forget all about it. The trick is to open a new layer when you realize that your drawing session is taking too long or getting too complicated.
Only experience can tell you when that moment occurs.
To open a new layer go to the layers menu at the top, it’s on the right side of the screen and looks like two squares. Tap it.
You’ll see the layer panel open up as a drop-down menu. Your current layer is highlighted in blue and named ‘layer 1’. Above it, you will see a cross (+) Tap it.
A different layer drops down, now highlighted in blue. it will say ‘layer 2’. This is your active layer. You can work on one single layer at a time. Your selected layer is always blue.
If you wish to rename a layer, or apply several other functions, tap on any layer and a popup menu will appear on the left. You will see your options. Don’t worry if you want to play around with them, tap two fingers to go back at any time.
Saving layers is a solution of sorts, but there is another issue that must be taken into account. Your device can only accept so many layers.
If you have the latest iPad pro, you have nothing much to worry about, but most of us will reach a layer limit and that will vary according to the size of the canvas, and the capacity of your iPad model.
Greater RAM (memory) essentially enables more layers. Cheaper and older Ipads generally have less RAM to play with, and it would be helpful if Apple published this info, sadly they don’t, so you have to scour the net for information.
There are 4 types of Ipad and these models are all Procreate and Apple pencil compatible:
- Mini – 2019 (5th Gen), 2021 (6th Gen)
- Regular – 2018 (6th Gen), 2019(7th Gen), 2020 (8th Gen), 2021 (9th Gen)
- Air – 2019 (3rd Gen), 2020 (4th Gen)
- Pro – 2015 (1st Gen), 2016 (1st Gen), 2017 (2nd Gen), 2018 (3rd Gen), 2020 (4th Gen), 2021 (5th Gen)
I scoured the internet for you and came across this info from Brooke Glaser (a trusted source) and this is what she discovered.
Her results are based on calculating the maximum layers possible for a 16-inch x 16-inch canvas size at 300dpi
- 4 Layers – Reg 2018, Pro 2016 (9.7″)
- 7 Layers – Mini 2019 and 2021, Reg 2019, 2020 and 2021, Air 2019
- 19 Layers – Air 2021, Pro 2015 and 2017, Pro 2018 (64GB, 256GB, 512GB models)
- 25 Layers – Pro 2018 (1TB), Pro 2020
- 41 Layers – Pro 2021 (128GB, 256GB, 512GB models)
- 77 Layers – Pro 2021 (1TB, 2TB models)
Hobbyists and beginners will be happy with 7 layers. Don’t bother with models below 64GB of storage, that will not be enough for most users.
That leads me to another aspect of working practice that’s worth mentioning before I wrap this section up.
When you get into a workflow, and all is going well, you should lift your pen regularly to break the sessions down. There’s a good reason.
Each continuous session is one step. A session can be as long or short as you like. It makes sense to keep your sessions/actions short.
Procreate will ‘undo’ things one step at a time, so it’s better to undo several tiny steps, one at a time, than lose one long session, most of which was good work. That can be very frustrating.
To recap, get into the habit of working in short bursts and deliberately lift your stylus as you go and draw in layers to save as much of your history as possible.
Backing Up Your Procreate Files
It is possible to save things as you go along and make your own backups at different stages of your work.
You can save your files in stages and store them in the cloud or on your device if you have plenty of storage space to spare.
To save your design to the cloud, tap the wrench icon and tap the share icon. Tap Procreate and you’ll see a row of suitable apps at the top. Choose a destination, I use Google Drive, but you might prefer Dropbox.
You can also tap ‘send to’ and save your image to iCloud Drive or save them to your iPad. You’ll find them in your files app.
Saving your files this way will allow you to continue with your artwork unaffected, you can carry on where you left off. Remember, the moment you hit that gallery tab you’ll lose your undo history.
How to Redo in Procreate
Without laboring a point, everything you can do with a two-finger tap can be reversed with a three-finger tap. All the same rules apply.
Each Redo command happens one step at a time in the order they were made. The sequence always runs true.
If you don’t like the redo gesture shortcut, tap the redo arrow icon with your pen instead.
Clear Everything on a Specific Layer
What if you want to get rid of all the content on a specific layer? The best way to do that is to place three fingers on your screen and make a scrubbing motion on the screen. It deletes everything.
You can undo this action with two finger tap or with the undo icon on the left. And likewise, use your three fingers or icon to redo each step.
Sometimes it goes wrong. When you scrub nothing happens and that’s because your action is too fast, or not tapping all three fingers together at once. Try again slowly and it should erase the layer.
Undo and Redo the Toolbars
If you want to get rid of your tool menus from the screen and work on a clean space, use a four-finger tap. The toolbars will vanish.
The two and three-finger gestures still work as before but the tools remain hidden until you want them back.
To reinstate the toolbars tap on the tiny grey icon in the top left of your screen.
Undo the toolbar with your four fingers, Redo the toolbar with four fingers or from the icon.
You’ll find these related posts useful:
- Is The Procreate App Worth it For Beginners? Get the Facts
- How to Change Layer Opacity in Procreate: Step-by-Step
- How to Make Straight Lines in Procreate: Step-by-Step
- Procreate Classes (Course Page)
How to Undo in Procreate: Final Thoughts
You can undo anything in Procreate if you do things in the right way, and by the way, most of the gesture commands are the same in Procreate Pocket (for iPhones)
You will only go wrong if you save your canvas to the gallery or run out of layers. For those of us with cheaper iPads, we have to think about how we save our work and adjust our working methods accordingly.
Using simple gestures will become second nature as you get used to working with Procreate, it doesn’t take long before you do things on auto-pilot.
One last word. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the latest iPad, you’ll be able to do great work even with an iPad mini. Unless you are a professional artist or designer you won’t need the biggest and the best iPad.
I learned Procreate basics by following this Domestika course. If you want to do the same it’s very cheap.
Check out my Domestika Review here: Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
If you want to sell your digital art as physical art prints, I can show you how!
Plus find an ONLINE COURSE that suits you.
I have more posts about drawing and business, take a look at these:
- What Kind of Art Sells Best? All The Secrets Revealed
- Is Print on Demand Worth it? The Pros and Cons for Creatives
- Are Online Drawing Courses Worth it? I Chose 5 of The Best For You!
- Can You Copy Art and Sell a Painting of a Painting? I Found Out
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- 25 Platforms for Artists to Sell Their Art Online and Make Money
- 19 Ways to Make Money as an Artist Online and Off: No Fluff!
- Drawing Ideas for Adults: 120 Cool and Easy Things to Draw
- Is Redbubble Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers