How to Add Text in After Effects

In this handy guide, we've shared how to add text in After Effects, so you can drop elaborate titles, subtitles, and other text-based effects right into your movie.

Using Text Layers
Text layers are the primary way to manipulate text in After Effects, and they make it easy to place animated credits and titles into your composition. These layers are synthetic (which means they exist without a footage source), and they're also vector-based, so you can enlarge the text to virtually any size without losing quality. After Effects doesn't have a Layers panel like Photoshop, but you can adjust text layers in the Composition panel. 

Tips for Inserting Text in Video
When choosing a text style for a particular sequence, keep this in mind:

  • Text superimposed over live action video should have a contrasting border around its edges, so the text stays legible throughout the sequence.
  • Avoid thin text (especially horizontal elements), because it's easy for it to blend into the background. When in doubt, use a stroke or bold font. 
  • Always preview your movie on a few devices (TV, laptop, projector), so that you can see how the text looks and decide whether or not to make any last-minute adjustments. 

How to Add Text in After Effects
Within After Effects, there are two main styles of text: point text and paragraph text. Point text is designed for situations where you only need to enter a word or phrase, while paragraph text is tailored for longer passages. Here's how to create text layers using both styles:

Point Text:
1. First, open your current After Effects project and choose "Layer" > "New" > "Text" to create a new text layer. You should see a Horizontal Type marker in the middle of the Composition panel. 

2. Start typing your text, and press Enter if you want to move to a new line. You can also press Ctrl+V (or Command+V on Mac) to paste in text from other sources. 

3. When you're happy with the text, press Ctrl+Enter (Command+Enter on Mac) to exit text-editing mode, or simply choose another tool from the toolbar.  

Paragraph Text:
1. Open your current After Effects project and select the Horizontal Type or Vertical Type tool, depending on how you want the text to look. Then, click and drag on the Composition to create a bounding box for your text. 

2. Start typing in the bounding box to enter new text, and press Enter to start a new paragraph. If you press Shift+Enter, you'll start a new line without the paragraph indentation. When you have too much text for the bounding box dimensions, you'll see an overflow icon on the box that looks like a tiny four-square grid. 

3. Finally, press Ctrl+Enter (Command+Enter on Mac) or click on another After Effects tool to leave text-editing mode.

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