Adobe After Effects is one of those scary, complicated pieces of software that every video editor and motion graphic designer needs to learn at some point. Keyboard shortcuts, like in any video editing or motion graphics software, make the user 10x more powerful. They allow you to work faster, get done sooner, deliver your projects on time, and give you the ability to take on more work or give you more free time if that’s what you desire.

Below is a list of our top keyboard shortcuts for After Effects.

 

Basic After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Create a new composition — Mac: Command+N // PC: Control+N
  • Open composition settings — Mac: Command+K // PC: Control+K
  • Import — Mac: Command+I // PC: Control+I
    • Bonus tip: You can also doubleclick inside an empty space in the Project panel to do this
  • Undo — Mac: Command+Z // PC: Control+Z
  • Redo — Mac: Command+Shift+Z // PC: Control+Shift+Z
  • Open After Effects preferences — Mac: Command+Option+; (semicolon) // PC: Control+Alt+; (semicolon)

Adobe After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

Playback After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Start or stop preview/playing — 0 (zero) on number pad
  • Play audio only from current time — . (period/decimal point) on number pad
  • Play audio only in work area — Mac: Option+. (period/decimal point) on number pad // PC: Alt+. (period/decimal point) on number pad

Creation After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Create new Solid Layer — Mac: Command+Y // PC: Control+Y
  • Create new Adjustment Layer — Mac: Command+Option+Y // PC: Control+Alt+Y
  • Create new Text Layer — Mac: Command+Option+Shift+T // PC: Control+Alt+Shift+T
  • Create new Light — Mac: Command+Option+Shift+L // PC: Control+Alt+Shift+L
  • Create new Camera — Mac: Command+Option+Shift+C // PC: Control+Alt+Shift C

 

Adobe After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

Layer and Layer Properties After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Select layer above selected layer — Mac: Command+Up Arrow // PC: Control+Up Arrow
  • Select layer below selected layer — Mac: Command+Down Arrow // PC: Control+Down Arrow
  • Move selected layer up a layer — Mac: Command+Option+Up Arrow // PC: Control+Alt+Up Arrow
  • Move selected layer down a layer — Mac: Command+Option+Down Arrow // PC: Control+Alt+Down Arrow
  • Reveal or hide all properties with keyframes on a layer(s) — U
  • Reveal all modified properties on a layer(s) — UU (hit the “U” key twice rapidly)
  • Reveal or hide Position property of a layer(s) — P
  • Reveal or hide Anchor Point property of a layer(s) — A
  • Reveal or hide Rotation property of a layer(s) — R
  • Reveal or hide Opacity property of a layer(s) — T
  • Reveal or hide Scale property of a layer(s) — S
    • Bonus tip: Hold Shift and P, A, R, T, and/or S to reveal or hide multiple properties of a layer(s)

 

Adobe After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

 

Composition, Timeline and Work Area After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Move first frame of layer to current time — [ (left bracket)
  • Move last frame of layer to current time — ] (right bracket)
  • Trim in point of layer to current time — Mac: Option+[ (left bracket) // PC: Alt+[ (left bracket)
  • Trim out point of layer to current time — Mac: Option+] (right bracket) // PC: Alt+] (right bracket)
  • Duplicate layer — Mac: Command+D // PC: Control+D
  • Split layer at current time into two layers — Mac: Command+Shift+D // PC: Control+Shift+D

 

After Effects Split Layer

 

  • Set beginning of work area to current time — B
  • Set end of work area to current time — N
  • Go to beginning of composition — Home
  • Go to end of composition — End
  • Go to specific time — Mac: Opt+Shift+J // PC: Alt+Shift+J
  • Move forward 1 frame — Page Down
  • Move backward 1 frame — Page Up
  • Move forward 10 frames — Shift+Page Down
  • Move backward 10 frames — Shift+Page Up
  • Pre-compose selected layers — Mac: Command+Shift+C // PC: Control+Shift+C

Adobe After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

Tools After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Activate Selection Tool — V
  • Activate Hand Tool — H
  • Temporarily activate Hand Tool — Hold Spacebar
  • Activate Pan Behind Tool — Y
  • Activate Camera Tool — C
    • Bonus tip: Keep hitting the “C” key to cycle through the different Camera Tools
  • Activate Type Tool — Mac: Command+T // PC: Control+T
  • Activate Zoom In Tool — Z
  • Activate Rotation Tool — W
  • Activate Shape Tools — Q
    • Bonus tip: Keep hitting the “Q” key to cycle through the different Shape Tools
  • Activate Pen Tool — G

 

View and Panel After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Open or close the Project panel — Mac: Command+0 (zero) // PC: Control+0 (zero)
  • Open or close Render Queue panel — Mac: Command+Option+0 (zero) // PC: Control+Alt+0 (zero)
  • Open or close the Tools panel — Mac: Command+1 // PC: Control+1
  • Open or close Effects & Presets panel — Mac: Command+5 // PC: Control+5
  • Open or close Character panel — Mac: Command+6 // PC: Control+6
  • Open or close Paragraph panel — Mac: Command+7 // PC: Control+7
  • Open or close Effects Controls — F3
  • Show panel at full screen — ` (accent) (hit this key again to go back to showing all panels)

 

After Effects ShowPanel

 

Exporting After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Send composition to Render Queue — Mac: Command+Shift+/ (forward slash) // PC: Control+Shift+/ (forward slash)
  • Send composition to Adobe Media Encoder — Mac: Command+Option+M // PC: Control+Alt+M
  • Save current frame — Mac: Command+Option+S // PC: Control+Alt+S

 

Wrapping Up

After Effects is one of the most powerful post-production tools out there. Knowing the keyboard shortcuts will make you more efficient and confident user. Work these keyboard shortcuts in a little at a time and before you know it you’ll be flying through your motion graphics.