Are you new to After Effects? You have a lot of ground to cover! After all, After Effects is a remarkably versatile piece of software that can accomplish a great deal. 

Nonetheless, I can guarantee you'll get there sooner than expected, whether you want to generate high-quality motion graphics or develop incredible visual effects.

Basic keyboard shortcuts will also come in handy. So here, in this blog, I will share basic keyboard shortcuts in After Effects that can be useful for video editing.

These basic key combinations allow you to do tasks and save a few seconds each time you use them; those seconds add up to hours saved for a project.

After Effects keyboard shortcuts

1. Transform properties

  • A – Anchor Point
  • P – Position
  • S – Scale
  • R – Rotation
  • T – Opacity

You can access all the transform properties by hitting the APSRT key. The little dropdown menu is a lot slower than the one here.

2. View more properties

  • Shift + A, P, S, R, T

You can view more than one transform property using the switch key and the corresponding hotkey at once.

3. Quickly set keyframes

  • Opt + A, P, S, R, T
  • Alt + Shift + A, P, S, R, T on Windows

If you are familiar with the method of setting keyframes, all you have to do is click on the stopwatch icon next to the property you wish to keyframe on. Alternatively, if you are working with transform properties, you can hold down the option and click the corresponding transform property.

4. Reveal all keyframed properties

  • U

It is sometimes useful to see all of your keyframes at once. Simply choose your layer and press the U key to do so. This also works across several levels if you wish to see the keyframes for the entire composition.

5. Space bar

With the hand tool, you can navigate your comp panel easily. You can drag with the spacebar instead of selecting the toolbar's hand tool, or pressing the H key.

6. Timeline zoom

  • + or –

By hitting + or -, you can zoom into important areas of your timeline.

7. Comp viewer zoom

  • , or .

Using the zoom wheel on your mouse to zoom into your comp panel is easy but not precise. Instead, You can zoom in and out using the comma or period keys.

8. Compatible with the viewer

  • Shift + /

To fill your entire screen, hit Shift +/ while making your composition to fill the entire screen.

9. Make your eases easy

  • F9

When it comes to After Effects, linear keyframes are almost never useful. As an artist, you probably use EasyEase keyframes in combination with custom eased keyframes created with graph editor After Effects allows you to ease keyframes with the F9 button quickly.

10. Move between keyframes

  • J & K

Jump smoothly from one keyframe to the next (across properties) by pressing the J and K keys.

11. Jump from In Point to Out Point

  • I & O

By hitting the I key, you will jump to the first frame in the layer, and by hitting the O key, you will jump to the end of the layer.

12. Move from frame to fame 

  • Page Down and Page Up


  • Cmd + Right Arrow and Cmd + Left Arrow

Instead of hitting the small next frame button in the workspace, you should use the page up or down buttons to move between frames.

13. Preview twice as fast

  • Shift + 0 on the Number Pad

The 0 key on the number pad is the most common way of previewing your compositions, but you can preview twice as fast using Shift + 0 from the number pad. Taking advantage of this trick alone can save you hours of work on each motion graphic project.

14. See all manipulated properties

  • UU

When you double-tap the U key, you will be taken to a separate layer with every property changed.

15. Quickly add markers to the timeline

  • * On the number pad

Animations that are timed to music can be accomplished using markers. Use the * key on your numeric keypad to add a marker. You can set a marker with text by holding shift plus *.

16. Precompose your layers 

  • Cmd + Shift + C

The composition process is similar to arranging layers into folders. Command + Shift + C are quick shortcuts to precomposition for a layer or set of layers. Boom! Here is your new precomp.

17. Easily move layers 

  • [ & ]

A layer can be positioned to start at the current playhead location by pressing [. Alternatively, you can exit your layer by hitting ].

18. Move to work area beginning or end  

  • Home
  • End

You can move your playhead to the beginning or end of your composition by pressing either the home or end key.

19. Scale layers to fit

  • Cmd + Opt + F

The Command + Option + F key combination lets you scale layers automatically to fit your composition frame.

20. Toggle ruler

  • Cmd + R

In After Effects, rulers are an excellent tool for layout design. Turning your rulers on and off is very easy by pressing the Control + R key combination.

21. Different viewer resolutions

  • Full: Cmd + J
  • Half: Cmd + Shift + J
  • Quarter: Cmd + Opt + Shift + J

You might be unable to process the full-resolution view if your computer is too slow. The shortcuts listed above will allow you to adjust your composition rather than manually adjusting by hand quickly.

22. Replacing layers

  • Hold Option + Replace

Can you replace the layers in your timeline in After Effects? If you want to replace an existing layer in your timeline, select the layer, hold down the Option key, select the layer in your project panel and replace it by dropping the new layer on the old layer.

23. Split your layers

  • Cmd + Shift + D

Any layer or set of layers can be quickly split by pressing Command + Shift + D.

24. Toggle layers

  • Cmd + Down or Up Arrow

You do not need to use your mouse when you select a layer above or below your current layer. You can instead select the next layer using the command + up/down key combination.

25. Show the graph editor

  • Shift + F3

The graph editor makes it easy to smooth out moving objects in after effects. The graph editor can be accessed by pressing Shift + F3 while selecting a layer.

26. Search for it

  • Cmd + F

The timeline can be searched by pressing command + F. Activating this will open the search field where you can type the name of a layer to find.

27. Maximize any panel

  • ~ (Tilde)

Any window can be maximized to fill the entire screen in After Effects by simply hovering your mouse over the window and pressing the spicy ~ key.

28. Hide or show layer controls

  • Cmd + Shift + H

While layer controls can be an excellent way to adjust layers quickly, they are also extremely distracting. To hide them, hold Command + Shift + H.

29. Kern your type

  • Option + Right or Left Arrow Keys

A good kerneled typeface will make your motion design projects look custom. You can quickly kern any type by holding down option and activating the right arrow or left arrow key.

30. Save the current frame

  • Cmd + Opt + S

Have a client who needs a board sent to them immediately? You can export single frames rather than the entire composition by pressing Command + option + S.

31. Center shape layer anchor points

  • Opt + Cmd + Home

When working with shape layers, it is usually best to centre your anchor points so that you don't mess up the look when scaling or rotating the shape. Using the command and home keys will centre the anchor point quickly. It is now easier for you to scale.

32. Show and hide the grid

  • Cmd + ‘ (Apostrophe)

The grid is an excellent tool for After Effects to ensure that objects are proportionately placed. You can turn the grid on and off by hitting the command + ‘ (apostrophe).

All set to save time with After Effects shortcuts?

You can do many more things in the software like camera tracking and masking in after effects. Now that you have read this blog, you can save a lot of time when you are using After Effects by using these basic keyboard shortcuts.

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                                                                                                                              Editor: Amrutha

Frequently Asked Questions

You can access keyboard shortcuts in After Effects by going to the “Edit” menu, selecting “Keyboard Shortcuts,” or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K (or Command + Option + Shift + K on Mac). This opens the Keyboard Shortcuts panel, where you can customize and view all available shortcuts.

An easy shortcut in After Effects is pressing the Spacebar. It toggles between playing and pausing your composition in the timeline, making it a convenient way to preview your work.

In After Effects, pressing F9 applies Easy Ease to keyframes. Easy Ease is a interpolation setting that creates smooth and gradual acceleration or deceleration between keyframes, giving animations a more natural and fluid appearance.

Pressing Ctrl + Shift + D (or Command + Shift + D on Mac) in After Effects splits selected layers at the current time indicator. This action separates the selected layer into two separate layers at the point where you want to make the split.

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