How To Import and Export Custom Keyboard Shortcut Sets in After Effects?

After Effects empowers you with a vast array of tools and functionalities. But navigating menus and clicking icons can hinder your creative flow. Here's where custom keyboard shortcuts come in – a powerful way to personalize your workflow and unleash your editing efficiency. This article equips you with the knowledge to import and export custom keyboard shortcut sets in After Effects, allowing you to share your optimized shortcuts or leverage pre-configured sets from the creative community.

Understanding Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts assign specific key combinations to frequently used commands or tools in After Effects. By memorizing and utilizing these shortcuts, you can significantly reduce the time spent navigating menus and clicking icons, allowing for a more streamlined and efficient creative process.

The Power of Sharing Shortcuts

  • Increased Efficiency: Importing pre-configured keyboard shortcuts created by experienced editors or motion graphics artists can give you a head start on optimizing your workflow. These sets often include shortcuts for commonly used tools and actions, saving you valuable setup time.
  • Collaboration Made Easy: Sharing your custom keyboard shortcut set with colleagues working on the same project can ensure consistency and streamline collaborative workflows. Everyone benefits from a familiar set of shortcuts, reducing communication overhead and confusion.
  • Backup and Portability: Exporting your custom keyboard shortcuts allows you to back them up in case you need to reinstall After Effects or move to a new computer. This ensures your personalized workflow remains intact across different systems.

Importing and Exporting Keyboard Shortcuts

The process of importing and exporting custom keyboard shortcut sets in After Effects is straightforward:

Importing Keyboard Shortcuts:

  1. Locate the Shortcut File: The keyboard shortcut set is typically saved as a .txt file. This file might be provided by a colleague or downloaded from a resource website.
  2. Access Preferences: Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences (Mac).
  3. Keyboard Shortcuts Panel: Within the Preferences window, navigate to the "Keyboard Shortcuts" panel.
  4. Import Option: Look for the "Import Keyboard Shortcuts" button or menu option. The exact location might vary slightly depending on your After Effects version.
  5. Select the File: Use the file browser window to locate the downloaded or shared .txt file containing the custom keyboard shortcuts.
  6. Import Confirmation: Click "Open" or confirm the import action to load the new keyboard shortcut set into After Effects.

Exporting Keyboard Shortcuts:

  1. Access Preferences: Navigate to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences (Mac).
  2. Keyboard Shortcuts Panel: Locate the "Keyboard Shortcuts" panel within the Preferences window.
  3. Export Option: Look for the "Export Keyboard Shortcuts" button or menu option. Similar to the import option, the exact location might vary depending on your After Effects version.
  4. Choose a Filename and Location: Use the file browser window to specify a descriptive filename (e.g., "My_Custom_Shortcuts.txt") and choose a convenient location to save the exported keyboard shortcut set file.
  5. Export Confirmation: Click "Save" or confirm the export action to create a new .txt file containing your custom keyboard shortcut set.

Additional Considerations and Tips:

  • Compatibility: Ensure the imported keyboard shortcut set is compatible with your version of After Effects. Some shortcut assignments might differ between versions.
  • Conflicting Shortcuts: If you import a shortcut set that conflicts with existing shortcuts, After Effects might prompt you to resolve the conflicts. You can choose to overwrite existing shortcuts or manually reassign them.
  • Third-Party Tools (Optional): Explore third-party tools specifically designed for managing keyboard shortcuts in After Effects. These tools might offer additional functionalities like conflict resolution assistance, visual keyboard layout customization, or easy sharing of shortcut sets within the creative community.


By mastering the import and export of custom keyboard shortcut sets in After Effects, you gain the power to personalize your workflow, share your optimized shortcuts, and leverage the expertise of the creative community. Remember, a well-designed and efficient set of keyboard shortcuts can significantly enhance your After Effects experience and propel you towards a more streamlined and productive creative journey. So, import, export, experiment, and unleash the full potential of keyboard shortcuts in After Effects!

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