Many physical and biochemical systems are well modelled as a network of identical non-linear dynamical elements with linear coupling between them. An important question is how network structure affects chaotic dynamics, for example, by patterns of synchronisation and coherence. It is shown that small networks can be characterised precisely into patterns of exact synchronisation and large networks characterised by partial synchronisation at the local and global scale. Exact synchronisation modes are explained using tools of symmetry groups and invariance, and partial synchronisation is explained by finite-time shadowing of exact synchronisation modes. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.