You can't dual wield your mouse, so use your other hand for something useful. Like pressing keys that correspond to actions only achievable through multiple mouse clicks.

Recommended After Effects shortcuts

Firstly, learn the defaults like S, R, P, T, U, UU etc.

Other useful defaults

  • PgUp and PgDn go forwards and backwards one frame at a time.
    • Using shift will make them go 10 frames at a time.
    • Using alt will make the selected layer shift a frame or ten frames.
  • [ and ] will move the layer so that it's in or out point is at the playhead.
    • Using alt will move the layers in or out point to the playhead
  • NumPad * adds a layer marker
  • shift + 1 through shift + 9 adds numbered composition markers that you can jump to by just pressing the number
  • ctrl + S saves your project

Setting custom keyboard shortcuts

You can set custom shortcuts from Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts

Purge all memory and disk cache

The more you use AE, the more you notice it getting slow, not rendering previews correctly etc. Most problems are solved by purging memory and disk cache. I use alt + R (for Refresh) as the shortcut.

Composition Panel > Fit

Just resets any zoom in the preview. Use the one called Fit, not "Fit (up to 100%)", the 100% one will not zoom all the way in if your footage is smaller than your preview panel. I use alt + F (for Fit) as the shortcut.


  • If you have a mouse with buttons, you can set them to P and U for easy access to those controls since your hand is most likely on the left side of the keyboard most of the time.
  • Almost all alt + anything combinations are free to use for custom shortcuts.
7th Jul 2022

I need to write more guides...

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