After Effects Tip: Timeline Search Bar

As a long time After Effects user, I still find myself discovering new features that help me speed up my workflow in After Effects nearly every day. In this post, I want to tell you about one of those features called the Timeline Search Bar. It is a simple feature, but it will save you time. Let me show you!

After Effects Keyboard Shortcuts Overview

Alright, So we are in After Effects. Let’s review our keyboard shortcuts for a second. If you remember in After Effects we can select multiple layers and hit S on the keyboard to reveal the Scale Property,


Scale Property in After Effects

press R to see the Rotation Property,

Rotation Property After Effects

or pressing T to see the Opacity Property, and so on.

Opacity Property in After Effects

You don’t have to select any of the layers and just hit A on the keyboard to see Anchor Points for each layer.

Anchor Points After Effects

You get the idea. However, there are certain things you cannot bring up with keyboard shortcuts because we don’t have keyboard shortcuts for them.

For example, the source text property doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut.

Source Text After Effects

The shape layer has a bunch of properties we can’t bring up with keyboard shortcuts such as the Path Property and the Fill. You get the idea.

Path Property After Effects

Timeline Search Bar

It would be nice if I could only see let’s say the source property of my text. How do I do that? I don’t want to go to each layer, collapse them down, and look for the source text. It would take too long especially if you have many layers. I got good news! There is a much easier way to do it. Let me show you!

All you have to do is go to the Timeline Search Bar and type source text. As you can see, When you do that, it is going to show me only the source text property of each layer. That’s kind of nice.

Source Text Property After Effects

By the way, I can do the same thing for only select few layers. For example, to see the source text property for my UKRAMEDIA and UKRAMEDIA 5 layers. All I have to do is select those two layers, go to the Timeline Search Bar, type source text, and it will show me the source text of the two selected layers.

Selected layer source text After Effects

I can also search for multiple properties at the same time in the Timeline Search Bar. For example, I can type source text, rotation in the timeline search bar, and it will bring up source text and rotation of the selected layer or layers.

Source text and rotation properties of After Effects Timeline Search Bar

We don’t have to stop here. We can keep going with this by adding the scale property in the timeline search bar. As you can see, it is very handy!

Searching multiple properties in the timeline search bar in After Effects

Also, if you click on the magnifying glass inside the timeline search bar, you will notice different options.

Magnifying Glass Timeline Search Bar After Effects

The magnifying glass feature is handy. For example, one of the options inside the magnifying glass is something called Missing Fonts.

Missing Fonts Option Timeline Search Bar After Effects

It comes handy If I have a bunch of layers, and I need to figure out which text has a missing font. Simply clicking on the Missing Font option will bring up the text layer that has a missing font.

Missing Font Option After Effects

There is also an option called Missing Effects.

Missing Effects Option Adobe After Effects

If you click on it, it will bring up the layer or layers that have a missing effect.

Missing Effect Option After Effects

The last thing I want to mention about the Timeline Search Bar is that you can search for expressions in your timeline. For example, typing wiggle inside the search bar will bring up and isolate the layer or layers that have a wiggle effect applied.

Wiggle Expression in After Effects

I hope you enjoyed this Timeline Search Bar tip. I have more Tips available on our website. Also, make sure to subscribe to our email list!

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About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.


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