There are two effective ways to speed up your NLE workflow; the first is a faster computer and the second is the use of shortcuts.
Memorizing some commonly used keys and key combinations will save you time, money and frustration. Here are five shortcuts that can give you a huge boost to productivity in After Effects:
In this post we'll cover:
Best After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts
Set Start Point or End Point
Win/Mac: [ or ]
You can quickly set the start or end point of the timeline with the [ or ] keys. Then the start or end is set to the current position of the playhead.
This allows you to edit and test the timing of your clip quickly and effectively.
Win: Ctrl + Alt + / Mac: Command + Option + /
If you have an asset in your timeline that you want to replace, you can replace it with Option and Drag in one action. This way you don’t have to delete the old clip first and then drag the new clip back into the timeline.
Drag to Retime
Win: Selected Keyframes + Alt Mac: Selected Keyframes + Option
If you press the Option key and drag a Keyframe at the same time, you will see that the other Keyframes scale proportionally. This way you don’t have to drag all keyframes individually, and the relative distance remains the same.
Scale to canvas
Win: Ctrl + Alt + F Mac: Command + Option + F
Scales the asset to completely fill the canvas. With this combination, both the horizontal and vertical dimensions are adjusted, the proportions can therefore change.
Unlock all layers
Win: Ctrl + Shift + L Mac: Command + Shift + L
If you are working with a template, or an external project, it is possible that certain layers in the project are locked.
You can click on the lock per layer or use this combination to unlock all layers at once.
Forward & Backward 1 frame
Win: Ctrl + Right Arrow or Left Arrow Mac: Command + Right Arrow or Left Arrow
With most video editing programs (best reviewed here), you use the left and right arrows to move the playhead back or forward a frame, then in After Effects you move the position of the object in your composition.
Press Command/Ctrl together with the arrow keys and you will move the playhead.
Full screen panel
Win/Mac: ` (grave accent)
There are a lot of panels floating around on the screen, sometimes you want to focus on one panel. Move the mouse over the desired panel and press the – to display this panel full screen.
You can also use this shortcut in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Go to Layer In-Point or Out-Point
Win/Mac: I or O
If you want to quickly find the start or end point of a layer, you can select it and then press I or O. The playhead then goes directly to the start or end point and saves you time scrolling and searching.
Win: Ctrl + Alt + T Mac: Command + Option + T
Time Remapping is a function that you will use often, it is not very useful if you have to open the correct panel every time.
With Command, along with Option and T, Time Remapping immediately appears on the screen, with the keyframes already set, after which you can adjust them further as desired.
Add to Composition from Project Panel
Win: Ctrl + / Mac: Command + /
If you want to add an object to the current composition, all you have to do is select it in the Project Panel and then press the Command/Ctrl key combination with / .
The object will be placed at the top of the active composition.
Do you know of any handy shortcuts that you often use in After Effects? Then share it in the comments! Or maybe there are features you’re looking for but can’t find?
Then ask your question! Just like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or Avid, After Effects is a program that is much faster to operate with the keyboard, try it out for yourself.