Useful Keyboard Shortcuts - After Effects
Mastering Adobe After Effects is no easy task, and many motion designers are still learning all the tips and tricks to make their use of the powerful software even more efficient. There is an easy way to increase your speed in After Effects by more than double, and it doesn’t involve spending thousands of pounds on new hardware. Learning all the useful keyboard shortcuts of After Effects will save you a few seconds here and there on your video editing, but those few seconds soon add up to hours, if not days, of saved time. Mastering the After Effects keyboard shortcuts can help you to streamline your workflow and speed up various repetitive tasks, leaving you more time to focus on what really matters.
The more After Effects keyboard shortcuts you memorise, the more time you can save on your motion graphics projects. We have come up with our list of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for After Effects projects. All our keyboard shortcuts are explained below for Mac use, if you are using a Windows system use the CTRL key instead of Command.
Duplicating After Effects layers is a useful task and using the traditional methods of going to the main menu and selecting Edit then Duplicate can be time consuming. For a quicker and smoother duplication, use Command + D on your keyboard when the layers are selected.
One of the best After Effects keyboard hacks to get to grips with is toggling between the various control modes using the keys V, H, Z and W for Move, Hand, Zoom and Rotate.
Working with layer properties and keyframes you will often spend a lot of time searching through the layer properties to find the setting or effect you need. Access these properties effortlessly by using the following keyboard shortcut keys:
A = Anchor Point
P = Position
S = Scale
R = Rotation
T = Opacity
These shortcuts will display only the selected property and will collapse everything else. If you want to add a new property to the already visible ones, simply hold down the Shift / Option key when using the shortcut.
If you have been working on a small detail and zoomed in really far you often want to to zoom back out to 100% to see the entire composition. Using the dropdown box at the bottom of the preview window might not seem time consuming but you can save a few seconds by pressing Alt + / to reset the preview window back to 100%.
Dragging the timeline indicator by a single frame can be both tricky and time consuming, use the arrow keys as a quick keyboard short cut to move forwards or backwards between frames quickly and easily. To jump 10 frames instead of just one, hold down the Option / Shift key as well as the arrow keys.
Selected layers can be pre-composed by going to the main menu and choosing Layer then Pre-Compose, which can be time consuming and repetitive. Use the After Effects keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + C to do this in seconds.
When you have to scale up object by hand by clicking and dragging the corners, it can take up a lot of time to get right. Easily fit your layer to the canvas width by using Shift + Command + Option + H. If you want to auto-scale your layer to both the width and height of the current composition, use Command + Option + F.
When working with a template or external project, you may find that some of the layers are locked. To save time of unlocking every layer individually by hitting the lock icon, use keyboard shortcut Command + Shift +L.
If you want to see every keyframe at the same time, you can select you layer and hit the U key on your keyboard. This also works across multiple layers if you want to see the keyframes in your entire composition.
Navigating the composition panel is easy with the hand tool selected, and to save time on going to the toolbar and selecting the hand tool every time, you can hit the H key to access it quickly. Or to save even more time, just hold down the space bar and drag.
Jump to the first frame of your layer by hitting the I key and jump to the last frame with the O key.