How to Add Text in After Effects

Updated on: September 17, 2022

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. However, when it comes to videos, you can make your composition more eye-catching if you find the right balance between text and objects. 

We know you want to create motion graphics that grab your audience, but let's take it one step at a time. Before we get to animate each element of your project, we'll give you a quick overview of how to add text in After Effects.

First, go to the Toolbar and hit the Type tool (click ctrl + T if you are working on Windows or cmd + T if you use macOS to make it faster). Then, hit anywhere on your composition and start to write from left to right (to type vertically, hit once more ctrl + T/ cmd +T).

To modify the style of your text, pay attention to the panels of your workspace.

10 1 min

Text tools in Adobe After Effects

If you've worked with Photoshop or Illustrator before, then you'll easily recognize the main Text tools in After Effects. If not, start by activating these boxes because you'll need them if you want to write in your compositions.

  • Paragraph panel: it has the tools to align and center your texts. If you can't see this box, press Ctrl + 7 or Cmd + 7 to activate it.
10 2 min
  • Character panel: use it to define the font, size, and style of your text. Activate it by clicking Ctrl + 6 or Cmd + 6.
10 3 min

Remember you can activate these boxes from the Main menu by clicking their names from the Window option, too.

10 4 min

What is a Text Layer in After Effects

As with every shape and mask you make in After Effects, every time you type on your composition, a new layer is added to your Timeline. It's called Text Layer, but you can rename it as you like to find it faster when working with multiple texts. You will recognize it because it is red and has a T to identify it.

10 5 min

Having this new red layer will let you mask your text, modify its Anchor Point and apply some effects to animate it later.

More tutorials on how you can use the Text tool:

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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