How to Align a Text Paragraph in After Effects

In Adobe products, the way of editing and styling text is almost identical. For example, the Character panel is helpful to style the individual letters of words, while the Paragraph panel will help you place whole text fragments in a harmonious way.

Let's focus on that second panel, mainly if you've never used Adobe software and want to know how to align a paragraph of text in After Effects.

Activating the Align and Paragraph panels to align text in Adobe After Effects

As in other text software, in After Effects, it is possible to align the paragraphs you write in your projects. To do this, you need to activate two panels:

  1. Go to the Main menu, select Window, and hit the Align option. This panel should automatically appear on the right side of your screen.
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  1. In the same menu, select Window again and click this time on the Paragraph option. This panel can also be activated by simultaneously hitting Ctrl + 7 or Cmd + 7 if you are working on macOS.
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How to align a Text Layer in After Effects

Type a moderately long text in your composition screen by clicking Ctrl + T or Cmd + T and then tapping anywhere in your project to open the text box. 

Make sure you type at least a couple of lines on the same layer so you can check your changes.

When you finish your text, its layer may be set wrong. To locate everything you typed in the center of the screen, hit V on your keyboard to activate the Selection tool and tap your text. After that, open the Align panel and click on the second and fifth options. They are called Align Horizontally and Align Vertically and will help you center your layer.

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In addition to the above button, four others can help you position your layer according to your taste:

  1. The first option will make your text align to the left.
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  1. The third option is similar to the first one, but here you will see two bars and a vertical line. This button aligns your text to the right of your screen.
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  1. The fourth option consists of a horizontal line over two vertical bars. This feature aligns your text to the top margins of your layout.
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  1. The last option aligns your text based on the bottom margin of your screen.
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Getting to know the Paragraph panel

Unlike the Align panel, the Paragraph panel allows you to customize an entire layer of text and each line of text. For example, if you have a long paragraph:

  1. Select just a single line or the entire paragraph and center it or locate it to your taste according to the panel's classic alignment options.
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  1. Modify the margin from your aligned text by scrolling to the values below the previous buttons.
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  1. Change the indentation of the first line of the paragraph with the third option below the alignment buttons.
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Always select the text you want to modify before activating the various options. Then, you have to explore the Align and Paragraph panels to see the changes. Otherwise, they will not be made.