Formatting paragraphs and the Paragraph panel

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A paragraph is any range of text with a carriage return at the end. Use the Paragraph panel to set options that apply to entire paragraphs, such as the alignment, indentation, and leading (line spacing). For point text, each line is a separate paragraph. For paragraph text, each paragraph can have multiple lines, depending on the dimensions of the bounding box.

If the insertion point is in a paragraph or text is selected, changes you make in the Paragraph panel affect only paragraphs that are at least partially selected. If no text is selected, changes you make in the Paragraph panel affect the selected text layers and the text layer’s selected Source Text keyframes, if any exist. If no text is selected and no text layers are selected, the changes you make in the Paragraph panel become the new defaults for the next text entry.

  • To display the Paragraph panel, choose Window > Paragraph; or, with a type tool selected, click the panel button in the Tools panel.


To open the Character and Paragraph panels automatically when a type tool is active, select Auto-Open Panels in the Tools panel.

  • To reset values in the Paragraph panel to the default values, choose Reset Paragraph from the Paragraph panel menu.
Paragraph alignment options


You open the panel menu by clicking the panel menu button in the upper-right tab of the panel.

Align and justify text

You can align text to one edge of a paragraph (left, center, or right for horizontal text; top, center, or bottom for vertical text) and justify text to both edges of a paragraph. Alignment options are available for both point text and paragraph text; justification options are available only for paragraph text.

Indent and space paragraphs

Indentation specifies the amount of space between text and the bounding box or line that contains the text. Indentation affects only the selected paragraph or paragraphs, so you can easily set different indentations for paragraphs.

  • To indent paragraphs, enter a value in the Paragraph panel for an indentation option:

    Indent Left Margin:

    Indents text from the left edge of the paragraph. For vertical text, this option controls the indentation from the top of the paragraph.

    Indent Right Margin:

    Indents text from the right edge of the paragraph. For vertical text, this option controls the indentation from the bottom of the paragraph.

    Indent First Line:

    Indents the first line of text in the paragraph. For horizontal text, the first line indent is relative to the left indent; for vertical text, the first line indent is relative to the top indent. To create a first line hanging indentation, enter a negative value.

  • To change space above or below paragraphs, enter a value in the Paragraph panel for Space Before and Space After .

Hanging punctuation for Roman fonts

Hanging punctuation controls whether punctuation marks fall inside or outside the margins. If hanging punctuation is turned on for Roman fonts, then periods, commas, single quotation marks, double quotation marks, apostrophes, hyphens, em dashes, en dashes, colons, and semicolons appear outside the margins.

  1. To enable or disable hanging punctuation for Roman fonts, choose Roman Hanging Punctuation from the Paragraph panel menu.

    You open the panel menu by clicking the panel menu button in the upper-right tab of the panel.


    When you use Roman Hanging Punctuation, any double-byte punctuation marks available in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts in the selected range do not appear outside the margins.

Text composition methods

The appearance of text on the page depends on a complex interaction of processes called text composition. Using the word spacing, letter spacing, and glyph spacing options you’ve selected, After Effects evaluates possible line breaks and chooses the one that best supports the specified parameters.

After Effects offers two composition methods, which you choose from the Paragraph panel menu.


You open the panel menu by clicking the panel menu button in the upper-right tab of the panel.

Adobe Single-line Composer

Offers a traditional approach to composing text one line at a time. This option is useful if you prefer to have manual control over how lines break. If spacing must be adjusted, the Single-line Composer first tries to compress, rather than expand text.

Adobe Every-line Composer

Considers a network of breakpoints for a range of lines and thus can optimize earlier lines in the paragraph to eliminate especially unattractive breaks later on. Working with multiple lines of text results in more even spacing and fewer hyphens. The Every-line Composer approaches composition by identifying possible breakpoints, evaluating them, and assigning a weighted penalty based on these principles:

  • Highest importance is given to evenness of letter and word spacing. Possible breakpoints are evaluated and penalized according to how much they deviate from optimal spacing.

  • After breakpoint penalty values are identified for a range of lines, they are squared, magnifying the bad breakpoints. The composer then uses the good breakpoints.

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