Awesome Tips for Working Faster in After Effects


Do you have the need for speed? Learn these awesome tips for working faster in After Effects!

How much time is wasted twirling down triangles in After Effects? Why waste time clicking around when you can get what you want with the push of a button?

Lucky for you we have some excellent tips below for working faster in After Effects!

Hold the spacebar to temporarily activate the move tool

working faster in After Effects-hold-down-spacebar

Context Menus

adobe after effects context menu
Right-clicking on pretty much anything will reveal a context menu. Context menus are menus related to what you are clicking on- so right-click inside the Comp Viewer or Timeline and up pops a menu with items related to the Timeline (new timeline items, comp settings, flowchart, views, etc)

Cycle through panels in a frame

Use Alt+Shift+, (comma) to cycle through compositions in the timeline panel
cycle through open timelines

Toggle between Comp Viewer and Timeline panel

Keep typing \ (backslash) key to toggle between the Comp Viewer panel and Timeline panel
toggle between comp and timeline

Zoom In

Zoom in timeline = (equal sign)
Zoom out time – (hyphen)
after effects keyboard shortcut for zooming into timeline

, and . to zoom in and out of Comp viewer
after effects zoom in to comp viewer

` accent/tilde key maximize panel
maximize panel

Create New Comp

Command + N new comp
command N to create new comp

Comp Settings Menu

Command + K Comp Settings menu
shortcut for comp settings in After Effects

Create New Solid Layer

Command + Y Comp Settings menu
create new layer shortcut in After Effects

Shortcuts to Layer Transform Properties

Layer Transform Properties
After Effects layer properties shortcuts

A-Anchor Point

Option/Alt + A – Creates a keyframe and reveals Anchor Point property
Option/Alt + P – Creates a keyframe and reveals Position property
Option/Alt + S – Creates a keyframe and reveals Scale property
Option/Alt + R – Creates a keyframe and reveals Rotation property
Option/Alt + T – Creates a keyframe and reveals Opacity property

Audio Layer Properties

L- audio levels
LL- waveform
audio layer shortucts in After Effects

Quickly Reveal Keyframes

U reveals keyframes for a selected layer or all layers (if one isn’t selected)
keyframe shortcut

U + U reveals keyframes and modified properties (if a default setting was changed, but not keyframed)

Selecting Layers

Hold Shift key to select a group of layers between the first and 2nd one you select
group select layers by holding shift key and clicking

Hold Command or CTRL key to group select layers one by one
command-click layers to group in After Effects

Right-click a layer’s color label, choose “Select Label Group”
select layer label group in after effects

Shortcuts for the Current Time Indicator Playhead

I- Move playhead (CTI) to beginning of the selected layer
O- Move playhead (CTI) to end of the selected layer
In and out layer shortcut

J & K to move CTI back and forth between keyframes on a layer
After Effects toggle between keyframes

Home and End to go to timeline beginning and timeline end
shortcut to beginning and end of timeline

Press Cmd+Right arrow to move the playhead 1 frame ahead
Press Cmd+Left arrow to move the playhead 1 frame back
Page Up button to move ahead 1 frame
Page Down button to move back 1 frame

Work Area

B- set beginning of work area
N- set end of work area
set work area shortcuts After Effects

Right-click Work Area bar, select Trim Comp to Work Area to shorten comp duration
trim comp to work area

Of course, this is just the beginning! After Effects has tons of shortcuts and scripts that can help you save time. Do you have a favorite shortcut you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Marissa Joyner

Owner, creator of, providing easy to use Adobe After Effects templates around the web since 2007.

Yes, that’s right. Almost 10 years!

When not living inside After Effects you can find me playing with my crazy kids and exploring Austin, TX.

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