How to Organize a Workspace in After Effects

Updated on: August 30, 2022

There are some panels you should know before organizing a custom workspace in After Effects for the first time.

If you've already been a user of other Adobe products such as Photoshop or Premiere, you may be familiar with certain blocks included in the After Effects workspace. If not, you could start locating four essential areas of After Effects:

  • Project panel: this block is on the top left side of your screen and will be useful for locating imported files.
  • Timeline: the bottom place from which you will control the movement of each animated element in your project.
  • The Effects and Presets block: is located on the upper right side of the interface, and it will help you to find a large number of preset effects and transitions, so you can drag them onto your composition.
  • The Preview Project screen: is the main window. It will allow you to see how the adjustments you make on your timeline look in your footage.
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Adding, moving, or removing panels from the workspace in After Effects

“Less is more” is a rule that applies even when customizing a workspace. That's why we recommend activating only those panels you will use while creating your project. 

To do this, go to the main Menu bar, select Window and just as you would in Photoshop, activate or deactivate the options you want to see as boxes in your workspace by clicking on them.

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Like any product from the Adobe suite, some of the blocks can be enabled with shortcuts in After Effects. For example, if you were editing a text, and you were working from a Windows PC, you would have to click Ctrl + 7 to activate the Paragraphs panel (hit ⌘ + 7 if you want this window to appear when using macOS).

Remember that you can also move the panels by using the Selection tool to drag each one to the location you prefer.

Tip: try to organize your panels so you can feel comfortable in your own workspace. Once you are sure you have customized it to your liking, save it and rename it so you can save it for future sessions by clicking on Windows, then Workspace, and lastly on Save as New Workspace.


To access your customized workspace in the future, go back to Windows and Workspace and select your new configuration. This will appear as the last option of the different view modes available.

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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