The more time that you spend in an app, the more beneficial it is to learn a few keyboard shortcuts. They're extremely useful to automate those repetitive tasks.
In a complex app like Adobe After Effects, keyboard shortcuts are doubly important. With so many tools and tasks, you have to know the keyboard commands that help you open that buried tool or panel.
In this quick lesson, you'll see the most popular After Effects keyboard shortcuts along with tips to commit them to memory. The end result will be working faster in the app so that you can quickly finish your project.
How to Edit Keyboard Shortcuts in After Effects
Before we review the most important default shortcuts, it's important to acknowledge that every editor has different needs. For example, motion graphic animators will work with projects differently than someone who mostly does color grading.
Because of that, Adobe has included a keyboard shortcut editor that can help you change the keystrokes mapped to your most popular task. To open this menu, go to the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts menu to open it up.
In the lower left corner of this window, you'll see pretty much every imaginable task in the menu. You'll also see the default keyboard shortcut for each of them. If you want to add a new keyboard shortcut, drag and drop it from the Command window onto the keyboard letters of your choices.
In this round-up, the keyboard shortcuts that I'll share are based on the defaults. But don't forget that you can make your favorite commands mapped to practically any keyboard combination.
Top After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts
Without further adieu, let's check out some of the most popular keyboard shortcuts that you can use to speed up your After Effects workflow.
Keyboard shortcuts below are for Windows. Be sure to substitute Command any time that you see Control if you're on macOS.
|Control + Alt + N||Create a New Project|
|Control + Alt + Shift + P||Open last project|
|Control + Alt + Shift + N||Crew New Project Panel Folder|
|Control + O||Open Project (browse)|
|Control + Alt + Shift + K||Open Project settings|
|Control + 0||Open / Close the Project panel|
Launching and Switching Tools
|Y||Pan behind tool|
|Control + B||Cycle through Brush / Clone Stamp / Eraser tools|
Timing and Positioning
|Alt + Shift + J||Jump to a specific timestamp|
|J / K||Jump to previous / next item on timeline|
|Page Up / Page Down||Back / Forward 1 frame|
|Shift + Page Up / Page Down||Back / Forward 10 frames|
|I / O||Jump to Layer in / Out endpoint|
|D||Jump to the current time|
Opening and Closing Panels
|Control + 1||Open / Close Tools Panel|
|Control + 2||Open / Close Info Panel|
|Control + 3
||Open / Close Preview Panel|
|Control + 4
||Open / Close Audio Panel|
|Control + 5
||Open / Close Effects and Presets Panel|
|Control + 6
||Open / Close Character (type) Panel|
How to Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts Easily
We all know that our favorite apps have keyboard shortcuts that make it easy to do tasks. The hard part is remembering them!
If you're like me, you wasted countless hours studying and remembering facts in college. And you probably had techniques you used, like flashcards or audio recordings to make sure you committed the info to memory. Why not use this same approach for
My favorite way to do this is with Anki, a flashcard app that makes it easy to review and memorize information. It's free to use, and it's basically a digital flashcard system.
On Anki's web browser version, I'll typically setup decks that include two-sided cards. On one side, I'll include the keystrokes that are used, and the flip side includes the action it takes.
When you cue up your favorite After Effects shortcuts in an Anki deck, you can use your time commuting or in a spare moment to review them. You might be surprised how the shortcuts become memorable!
The Best Resources for Adobe After Effects
In this tutorial, you learned how to save time in After Effects by memorizing the most important keyboard shortcuts. But this is just one of many ways that you can save time and finish with better results.
The best way to master After Effects is to borrow some help in the form of templates. When you use a template, you'll start with much of the heavy lifting already finished. You just have to update the template with your personalization to create a finished video easily.
The best place to source After Effects templates is from Envato Elements. For a single flat rate, you'll gain access to almost 10,000 templates for every type of project imaginable. All that you have to do is download them and add your images, text, and branding.
In my mind, there are really two ways to use After Effects: draw everything from scratch, or start with a template. The first approach will have you spending hours navigating the app and revising your project, which is fine if you're learning. The latter gives you the blueprint and you need only bring your details to the table and get the job done.
To see a tutorial that uses an After Effects template, hit the link below:
Learn More After Effects Tips and Tricks
Start practicing your keyboard shortcuts today! Combining a memorization tool like Anki with the shortcuts you saw in this tutorial are bound to cut hours of your editing work out.
After Effects is powerful, but it features a tough learning curve. Make sure to check out the tutorials below to learn more about how to use it so that you can spend less time in the app and more time building projects.
- Adobe After EffectsNew Course: Adobe After Effects for BeginnersAndrew Blackman
- VideoHow (and Why) to Add Parallax Movement to Still ImagesMarie Gardiner
- VideoHow to Animate a Smooth Text Reveal in After Effects (With a Script)Andrew Childress
- VideoTop 3: Best Animated Logo Sting Templates for After EffectsAndrew Childress