How to Use Procreate’s Split Screen and Why You Need To!

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Split screen is something that usually makes us think of TVs or computers. But, as it turns out, split screen is one of Procreate’s most underused and awesome features. 

Procreate’s split screen, otherwise known as split screen, feature can be used for importing files or accessing reference photos. Drag up from the bottom of your screen and click on the arrow that appears. Drag your needed app onto your Procreate canvas.

You can use Procreate’s split view feature to import brushes and color palettes into your app. Simply use the steps below with your Files app and you’ll be all set.

That said, my favorite use of the split screen feature is with the Photos app. This gives you a very versatile way to access any reference photos you may need for your art.

I know, I can already hear you start to argue that the WHOLE point of Procreate’s reference image feature is to…well…display reference images. 

Yes, you’re right, but there are some neat benefits to using the Procreate’s split screen feature instead of the reference feature when accessing images that you are using as inspiration for your art. 

We’ll be talking about those benefits in later sections, so make sure to keep reading.

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Side note: if you don’t know what Procreate’s reference image feature is, check out my quick video about it below.

First, let’s talk about how to access Procreate’s split screen feature in the first place.

Important note: I’m using the terms “split screen” and “split view” interchangeably, as many people refer to this feature with both.

How to Use Procreate’s Split Screen Feature

Using the split screen/split view feature in Procreate is similar to how you would use it with other apps in your iPad. So, once you know this method, try it out in other ways!

1. Slide up from the bottom of your iPad screen onto your canvas

Use your finger to up on your canvas, starting at the very bottom. To make it easier, I usually start sliding at the very bottom rim of my iPad. By starting with the inactive part of my screen, it makes sure that I don’t accidentally start too high up.

If you accidentally swipe too high on your screen, you’ll just end up drawing a line on your canvas. You need to make sure that your swipe is hitting the very bottom of your active canvas, which is why getting a running start from the rim of your iPad helps.

The goal is to have a little arrow appear.

using procreate split view

2. Drag the arrow upwards until your apps appear

If you did your swipe correctly, you’ll see a little arrow appear at the bottom of your screen. 

If you don’t see an arrow appear, try your swipe again until you’re able to get that arrow to appear.

Once you see the arrow, drag it upwards. Don’t drag too much though. If you overdo it, you’ll end up closing out your Procreate app.

Only drag the arrow upwards until a toolbar of your apps is visible. Then, stop. It may take some practice, so don’t worry if you accidentally close Procreate a few times.

procreate's split screen activating apps

3. Hold down on your needed app until it floats

Whichever app that you need to split screen with Procreate, grab it from your toolbar and hold down on it. For the rest of this example, we’ll be talking about the Photos app, but it can be whichever app you plan to use.

It’s important to note here that you’ll need to have your desired app in your iPad app toolbar that lives at the bottom of your screen. This is what you’ll be able to see and choose from.

using photos app with procreate

4. Drag your app and let go of it either on top of your Procreate canvas, or to the side of it

When you drag your app out of the toolbar and onto your Procreate canvas, you have two options.

The first option is to drop it onto your Procreate canvas directly. This will keep your Procreate image the same size, but it will put your app on top of it for you to use.

procreate split screen with photos

The second option is to drag it to the far side of your Procreate canvas. You’ll notice that this will trigger Procreate to become smaller in size while your app takes up a portion of your screen.

procreate split screen with photos

If you use this second option, you can use the line dividing Procreate and your app to adjust the sizes of both of them.

5. Use your app as needed alongside Procreate

Now that you have your second app opened on top of, or alongside of, Procreate, you’re ready to use it. 

For example, if you’ve opened the Photos app, you can use it in the same exact way you normally would. Tapping between different albums, scrolling through photos, etc. 

Now that we’ve talked about enabling Procreate’s split screen, let’s talk about some pros and cons of using it, especially in relating to Procreate’s reference photo feature.

procreate split screen with photos

The Benefits of Procreate’s Split Screen

There are two main benefits that I find for using Procreate’s split screen feature. This is going to apply specifically for photos, since we’re talking about using it instead of Procreate’s reference image feature. 

Here they are:

1. You can quickly scroll through your photos

When you use Procreate’s reference image feature, you have to re-import a new image every time you need to change it. This can get time consuming if you have a string of images that you’re using for reference.

When using the Photos app in split screen view, you can have your whole gallery open displaying all of the photos you need at once. Or, you can quickly scroll between the photos you need. It’s just a quick tap to access the next photo in your gallery.

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2. You have the option to put your photos next to Procreate instead of inside of it

When you use Procreate’s reference image feature, you have no choice but to have it sit on top of your Procreate canvas. If you’d like to have it tucked away next to your Procreate canvas, you’ll need to use the split screen feature.

Ok, so now for the downsides.

The Downsides of Procreate’s Split Screen

The only real downside of Procreate’s split screen feature has to do with the Photos app and pulling colors from your images. 

When you use Procreate’s reference image feature, you can use the eyedropper tool within your reference image. This makes it easy to pull colors from your image as needed.

You can’t do this with Procreate’s split view feature. When you put an app next to Procreate, it’s not actually functioning within Procreate. It’s still a separate app. In fact, it’s not communicating with Procreate at all.

Procreate’s reference image feature works within Procreate. That’s why you can use things like the eyedropper tool with it. 

The split screen function is a general iPad capability; it’s not specific to Procreate. Procreate and whichever app is splitting the screen with it aren’t talking to each other. 

So, if it matters to you to be able to use the eyedropper tool with your images, you’ll want to use Procreate’s reference image feature instead of the split screen feature.

Being able to use split screen with Procreate can have a lot of amazing uses and benefits. Play around with it for yourself to see everything it can do and what you can use it for!

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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