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How to Use Text in After Effects

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this lesson you'll learn about how to use text in After Effects. To follow, along open up the text.aep file.

Just like so many other things in your timeline, you can right click choose New > Text and an empty text layer will be added.

select new textselect new textselect new text

You can do the same thing from the layer menu up here and go to Layer > New > Text (Control - Alt - Shift - T).

layer new textlayer new textlayer new text

How to Use the Horizontal Type Tool

From there, select the Horizontal Type Tool, or what is commonly referred to as the text tool, and click inside the composition to add some text.

text tooltext tooltext tool

When you're done entering the text, press Enter on the number pad and it will exit out of that text entry mode.

A common mistake is to press Enter on the main part of the keyboard, however this will simply add a new line for your text. So to finish using the text tool, either press Enter on the number pad or you can just click away from that layer, or you can switch back to the Selection Tool.

enter textenter textenter text

How to Use the Character Panel

Once you've entered your text, you can modify it in a number of ways, very similar to other design programs. In the Character Panel, you can change the font, you can change the font style, or you can change the fill color for your text.

character panelcharacter panelcharacter panel

Now when you change the font size of the text you'll notice that it is being scaled from the anchor point. And the anchor point is set by default on text layers based on the settings in the Paragraph Panel.

paragraph panelparagraph panelparagraph panel

In this example it was first left-aligned. It shows that the text will move if you change that after it's created, but that the anchor point won't move.

align the textalign the textalign the text

Sometimes that can be annoying if you are modifying your text, when you change where the anchor point is or the alignment here, after you've created it, your text will move around.

To help with this, you can just move the anchor point manually and that works fine, most of the time.

move anchor pointmove anchor pointmove anchor point

Click and Drag the Type Tool

Now let's look at another example of how to use text in After Effects. Activate the type tool again and draw a textbox.

click and drag a text boxclick and drag a text boxclick and drag a text box

This time if you were to add some text, your text will now live inside of this textbox and you'll have to adjust the font size to get it to fill properly. You can't do that by adjusting the scale.

change font sizechange font sizechange font size

Scaling Your Text

You can also scale your text visually. Let's look at this example where instead of adjusting the size via the font size, you can take the Selection Tool and adjust the size by simply clicking and dragging one of the points.

click and dragclick and dragclick and drag

Turn on snapping at the top.


And then you can reposition the anchor point whilst snapping it to the center by holding Control on the keyboard.

holding control to snapholding control to snapholding control to snap

No matter how big you scale your text it will not lose quality as the text is a vector layer. So even if you scale it up the edge will always be super sharp.

big textbig textbig text

Now if you lose the position of your text because it is outside of the composition, you can bring it back in by simply pressing Control - Home which will reposition your layer to the center. It also repositions the anchor point to the center of the comp.

So if you want to position your anchor point in the center of your text layer, you can use the keyboard shortcut Control - Alt - Home and then Control - Home, to reposition that right in the center.

center to compcenter to compcenter to comp

You can also right-click on your layer this works with any layer, go to Transform > Center Anchorpoint in Layer Content (Control - Alt - Home). And then  Transform > Center in View (Control - Home).

Scaling Text Within a Text Box

Using this example, we have some text that doesn't quite fit the shape of our text box. Therefore a lot of text is hidden.

hidden texthidden texthidden text

To make it fit, if we try and scale of the entire layer, it won't fit the text box, as you are simply resizing the text box itself.

resize textresize textresize text

However if you adjust the size of the font from the Character Panel you'll see that it starts to fit. You can also adjust the tracking, alignment and justification to make it fit better.

adjust the textadjust the textadjust the text


Congratulations! And that's how you can use text in Adobe After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have on Adobe After Effects below.

I hope you've found this tutorial useful and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

More Adobe After Effects Tutorials

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