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Editing, moving, and copying keyframes

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      3. Editing, moving, and copying keyframes
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View or edit a keyframe value

Before you change a keyframe, make sure that the Current Time Indicator is positioned at an existing keyframe. If you change a property value when the Current Time Indicator isn't at an existing keyframe, After Effects adds a new keyframe. However, if you double-click a keyframe to modify it, the current-time indicator location isn't relevant, nor is it relevant when you change the interpolation method of a keyframe.

  • Move the Current Time Indicator to the time of the keyframe. The value of the property appears next to the property name, where you can edit it.
  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (macOS) the keyframe. The keyframe value appears at the beginning of the context menu that appears. Choose Edit Value to edit the value, if desired.
  • Place the pointer over a keyframe in the layer bar view to see the time and value of the keyframe.
  • Place the pointer over a keyframe in Graph Editor mode to view the keyframe's layer name, property name, time, and value. Place the pointer over a segment between keyframes to view the corresponding information at any time.
  • Select a keyframe in layer bar mode to show the keyframe's time and interpolation method in the Info panel.
  • Select a keyframe or segment between keyframes in Graph Editor mode to show a property's minimum and maximum values and the speed at the current time in the Info panel.
  • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (macOS) two keyframes in layer bar mode to display the duration between them in the Info panel.

Copy and paste keyframes

Copy and paste keyframe selections that span multiple layers without creating additional layers.

You can copy keyframes either from a single layer or across multiple layers. When you paste keyframes into another layer, they appear in the corresponding property in the destination layer. The earliest keyframe appears at the current time, and the other keyframes follow in relative order. The keyframes remain selected after pasting, so you can immediately move them to the destination layer.

You can copy keyframes between layers for the same property, such as Position, or between different properties that use the same type of data, such as between Position and Anchor Point.


When copying and pasting between the same properties, you can copy from more than one property to more than one property at a time. However, when copying and pasting to different properties, you can copy only from one property to one property at a time.

  1. In the Timeline panel, display the layer property containing the keyframes you want to copy.

  2. Select one or more keyframes.
  3. Select Edit > Copy.

  4. In the Timeline panel containing the destination layer, move the Current Time Indicator to the point in time where you want the keyframes to appear.

  5. Do one of the following:
    • To paste to the same property of the copied keyframes, select the destination layer.

    • To paste to a different property, select the destination property.

  6. Select Edit > Paste.

Reverse paste selected keyframes

You can also copy existing keyframes spanning multiple layers and reverse paste them to reverse the time of placement. This reuse of the same animation keyframes but in the opposite direction allows you to create animations with repetitive patterns, such as loops, bounces, and rewinds, without starting from scratch.

The Timeline panel is open, and it has a set of keyframes that have been copied and pasted in reverse order.
Use the reverse paste function to create reversed animation variations of an existing set of keyframes.

  1. In the Timeline panel, select the keyframes you want to copy and paste in reverse.

  2. Move the current time indicator (CTI) to the point in the timeline where you want to paste the copied keyframes.

  3. Use the following keyboard shortcut to reverse paste the copied keyframes:

    • macOS: Command + Shift + v
    • Windows: Ctrl + Shift + v

Edit keyframe values using a spreadsheet or text editor

You can copy and paste keyframe data as tab-delimited text for use in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel or other text-editing programs. You can use a spreadsheet program to perform numerical analysis on keyframe data or create or edit keyframe values.

You can copy and paste most properties, including the Transform properties, such as Position and Opacity, Material Options properties, and motion trackers.


You can use the motion tracking tools to track the motion of an object in a layer and then paste the tracker data into a spreadsheet to perform numerical analysis on the data.

Some utility applications, such as Imagineer Systems mocha for After Effects (mocha-AE), copy keyframe data to the clipboard so that you can paste it into the appropriate layer in After Effects.

You can copy keyframes from only one layer at a time as tab-delimited text.

  1. In the Timeline panel, select keyframes for one or more properties on the same layer. To select all keyframes for a property, select the property name.

  2. Move the Current Time Indicator to the first selected keyframe.


    Place a composition marker at the time of the first selected keyframe so that you'll know where to paste the modified keyframes in the last step. Explore more about layer markers and composition markers.

  3. With the keyframes selected, select Edit > Copy.

  4. Paste keyframe data into the spreadsheet. Assuming that the first column in the spreadsheet is labeled A and the first row is labeled 1, you should paste it into cell A1. Frame numbers appear in column B. Property values appear in columns C, D, and E, depending on the dimensions of the property. Position in a 3D layer has values in all three columns – Opacity has only a value in column C.

  5. Edit the numerical information for the keyframes. Do not change any text other than frame numbers and property values.
  6. Select the cells that contain your data. The upper-left cell in your selection should be A1. The bottom row of your selection should be the row that contains the text End of Keyframe Data.

  7. Copy the data from the spreadsheet.
  8. In After Effects, move the Current Time Indicator to the time you want to paste the new keyframe data. This time is usually the time of the first keyframe that you selected and copied at the beginning of this procedure.

  9. Choose Edit > Paste.

Move keyframes in time

You can move keyframes in time, either individually or as a group.

Move keyframes to another time

With multiple keyframes selected, you can copy or delete them simultaneously or move the keyframes together without changing their positions relative to each other.

  1. Select one or more keyframes.
  2. Drag any of the selected keyframe   icons to the desired time. If you selected multiple keyframes, then all of the selected keyframes maintain their relative distance from the keyframe that you drag.


You can also move selected keyframes in time (one frame earlier or later) by pressing the Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) key with the left arrow or right arrow key.

Move a keyframe to a specific time

  1. Move Current Time Indicator to the desired time.

  2. Do one of the following:
    • In layer bar mode, hold Shift after you begin to drag a keyframe   icon to the Current Time Indicator.

    • In the Graph Editor mode, drag a keyframe to the Current Time Indicator.

    When you drag over the Current Time Indicator, the keyframe snaps to it.

Expand or contract a group of keyframes in layer bar mode

  1. Select at least three keyframes.
  2. Hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and drag the first or last selected keyframe to the desired time.

Move a layer duration bar but not its keyframes

  1. Place a composition marker at the time at which the first keyframe appears.

  2. In the layer outline, select the name of one or more layer properties containing the keyframes you want to keep at the same times.

  3. Select Edit > Cut.

  4. Move or stretch the layer duration bar to its new In and Out points.

  5. Move Current Time Indicator to the composition marker at the time at which the first keyframe appeared before you cut the keyframes.

  6. Select Edit > Paste.

Change multiple keyframe values at once

You can change the values of multiple keyframes on multiple layers at one time. However, all keyframes you select must belong to the same layer property. The way the selected values change depends on the method you use to make the change.

  • If you change a value numerically, all selected keyframes use the new value exactly. In other words, you make an absolute change. For example, if you select several Position keyframes on a motion path and numerically specify a Position value for one of them, all selected keyframes change to the same position value.

  • If you change a value by dragging the underlined value, all selected keyframes change by the same amount. In other words, you make a relative change. For example, if you select several Position keyframes on a motion path and drag the underlined value for one of them, all selected keyframe values change by the same amount.

  • If you change a value graphically in the Composition or Layer panel, all selected keyframes change using the difference between the old and new values, not the values themselves. In other words, you make a relative change. For example, if you select several Position keyframes on a motion path and then drag one of them 10 pixels to the left, they all move 10 pixels to the left of their original positions.

You can also change the value of several layers at once in layer bar mode by parenting them.

Move or change keyframes in the Graph Editor

A value graph in the Graph Editor displays the values for each keyframe and the interpolated values between keyframes. When the value graph of a layer property is level, the value of the property is unchanged between keyframes. When the value graph goes up or down, the value of a layer property increases or decreases between keyframes.

Value graph in the Graph Editor shows a visual representation of the changes in a property over time.
Use the value graph in the Graph Editor to view the values for keyframes and interpolated values between keyframes.

A. Keyframe. B. A level value graph indicates unchanging values. C. A rising graph indicates increasing values. D. A falling graph indicates decreasing values. 

You can change layer property values by moving the points (keyframes) on the value graph up or down. For example, you can increase the value of a Rotation keyframe by dragging the keyframe marker on the Rotation property’s value graph higher up on the graph.


Values for the Anchor Point, Mask Path, effect control points, 3D orientation, and Position properties are spatial, so they use speed graphs by default instead of value graphs.

Modify a single keyframe in the Graph Editor

  1. In the Timeline panel, show a temporal property for a layer.

  2. If necessary, select the Graph Editor  icon or press Shift+F3 to enter Graph Editor mode.

  3. If necessary, add a keyframe at the point in time you want the change to occur.
  4. Drag the keyframe up or down to set a new value for the layer property.

Modify multiple keyframes in the Graph Editor

You can edit and move multiple keyframes simultaneously using the Graph Editor. When you select multiple keyframes with the Show Transform Box button selected, a free-transform bounding box surrounds the selected keyframes, and an anchor point appears in the center of the bounding box to mark the center point for the transformation. You can move the selected keyframes in time or value by dragging the bounding box or its handles. You can also change the position of the anchor point.

Adjusting a free-transform bounding box in a value graph moves the selected keyframes in time and value. Adjusting a free-transform bounding box in a speed graph moves the selected keyframes in time only.

Multiple keyframes selected in the Graph Editor and a free-transform bounding box appears to highlight the selections in the timeline..
When you select multiple keyframes in the Graph Editor, a free-transform bounding box appears.

  1. Switch to the Graph Editor view and display the keyframes you want to adjust.

  2. Using the Selection tool, do one of the following:

    • To select keyframes, Shift-click the keyframes or drag to draw a marquee around the keyframes.

    • To select all keyframes for a property, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (macOS) a segment between two keyframes.

  3. Do any of the following:
    • To move keyframes in time or value, place the pointer inside the bounding box and drag. Shift-drag to constrain the move horizontally or vertically.

    • To move keyframes in time or value by scaling the bounding box, place the pointer on a bounding box handle. When the pointer changes to a straight, double-sided arrow , drag the bounding box to a new size. Shift-drag to constrain the ratio of width to height. Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (macOS) to scale around the anchor point of the bounding box. When dragging a corner handle, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (macOS) to move only that handle.


    Scale by negative amounts to reverse the keyframes in time.

    • To taper keyframe values vertically, Ctrl+Alt-drag (Windows) or Command+Option-drag (macOS). Tapering keyframe values allows you to reduce or expand the amplitude of a repeated animation.
    • To move one side of the bounding box up or down, Ctrl+Alt+Shift-drag (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift-drag (macOS).
    • To move the anchor point of the bounding box, place the Selection tool over the anchor point until the tool changes to the Move Anchor Point tool , and then drag.


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