How to Animate Text in After Effects Quickly

Updated on: October 12, 2022

There are several ways to bring texts to life in After Effects, all related to their layers and properties. One is activating the Source Text button to create fun animations with more complexity. 

However, when taking your first steps in motion graphics, you may want to learn how to animate text quickly in After Effects. Well, if that’s your goal, keep reading to do it:

  1. Create a New composition and activate the Text tool by clicking Ctrl + T or Cmd + T.
  2. Type whatever you want on your canvas so After Effects create a Text layer on your Timeline. Go right there and open the properties tab.
  3. Open the Transform option to find the features that will allow you to create basic animations.
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Activating the stopwatches of the Transform option for text animation

Regardless of which layer appears on your Timeline, when it comes to animating, the Transform option will always be in any layer properties so you can add different types of motion to your elements. The same applies to the Text layer, where you will generate more or fewer animations depending on the active options.

To move your text from point A to point B: 

  1. Place the Time Indicator at the beginning of the Timeline.
  2. Activate the Selection tool (V) and move your text to any point on your canvas. For this exercise, we recommend moving it to the left of the composition screen until it leaves the frame.
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  1. If you want your text to stay centered regardless of being outside your view, activate the Align Vertically option in the Alignment panel.
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  1. Create your first motion keyframe by turning on the Stopwatch next to the Position option in the Transform tab.
  2. Move the Time Indicator several seconds forward.
  3. Next to the Position option, scroll right of the first highlighted value until the text comes out of the screen.
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  1. Select the two keyframes that appear on the Timeline as if you were going to group them, and click F9 to perfect the motion.
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  1. Play the animation by hitting the space bar on your keyboard.

Combining transformation options to make more complex animations

Let's say that in addition to moving your text from left to right as you did, you also want it to move on itself and rotate a bit. To do this: 

  1. Place the Time Indicator somewhere between the two Position keyframes or locate it at the beginning of the Timeline if you want the text to appear tilted since it starts moving.
  1. Move the Rotation feature's values to the left or right, and when you have rotated the text to your liking, turn on the stopwatch of this option.
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  1. Locate the Time Indicator a few seconds ahead of the Timeline. That may be before you reach the second Position keyframe.
  1. Return the Rotation option value to 0, so the text is straight before the end of its path.
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  1. Select these two new keyframes as if you were going to group them and press F9.

You can follow these same steps while activating other stopwatches, such as Scale or Opacity, and continue adding as many keyframes as you wish.

Tip: to slow down the movement of your text, separate the keyframes so that there are several seconds between each other. The closer they are, the faster the motion will be.

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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