>Use After Effects’ Shortcuts with non-English Keyboards

>Frustrated about not being able to maximize AE panels with the ~ shortcut, since your keyboard doesn’t have the tilde character? The same goes for many of the most useful shortcuts that don’t work on many non-English keyboards. However, there is a relatively easy way to fix this before a future version hopefully ships with the nice shortcut editor found in Photoshop CS2.

Update: Thanks to Nils Fridén for providing the OS X procedure!
Update 2: Added the paths for After Effects CS3 and a link to a script for AE CS3 that will let you edit the keyboard shortcuts easier, but you’ll still have to find the Unicode for all those non-English keys.

How to map the “Maximize Current Panel” shortcut to the same key on a foreign keyboard

    • Step 1: Locate the text file Adobe After Effects 7.0 Shortcuts.txt (Adobe After Effects 8.0 Shortcuts.txt for AE CS3.)
      On Windows XP and AE 7.0 you can find it in the folder
      C:\Documents and Settings\XXXXXXX\Application Data\Adobe\After Effects\7.0
      …and with AE CS3 it’s:
      C:\Documents and Settings\XXXXXXX\Application Data\Adobe\After Effects\8.0
      Replace XXXXXXX with your current username, for example “jessica“.
      On Mac OS X  you will find the text file in:
      Users:YOURUSERNAME:Library:Preferences:Adobe:After Effects:VERSIONNUMBER:


  • Step 2: Create a backup copy of the file, just to be on the safe side…



  • Step 3: Open the original file and search for the word “maximize” and you will find the row where it says
    “ToggleTabPanelMaximize” = “(`)”



  • Step 4: Now comes the tricky part; you have to find out which character is actually sent when you press the key you want to map the Maximize command to. I chose the same key as is used on English keyboards, above the Tab key, which on Swedish keyboards sends the § character. However, AE doesn’t recognize this character, so we have to find out the Unicode code and enter that instead.



  • Step 5: On Windows XP, choose Run… from the Start menu (or simply hit your Windows key and the R key) and type charmap and hit Enter. This brings up a small utility called Character Map.
    On Mac OS X you start the utility Character Palette.
    Write, drag-and-drop, or copy characters to the search field..



  • Step 6: Find the character that is sent when you press the correct key by pointing and clicking on it. When you’ve found the character, hover the mouse pointer over it to get the Unicode which in this case is U+00A7, and switch back to the text file.


  • Step 7: Change the text between the parenthesis to the code you just wrote down, but relace the “-” (dash) with a lower-case “x“.



  • Step 8: Save and close the file and then make sure you restart After Effects so it can load the changed shortcut.



  • Step 9: There is no step 9! ;-)
    Just pray that Adobe makes it easier in upcoming versions. My preference would be that pre-configured shortcut files where automatically installed for the most common non-English keyboard layouts.



40 Responses to >Use After Effects’ Shortcuts with non-English Keyboards

  1. Anonymous

    >The Mac procedure is very similar:

    1. “Adobe After Effects 7.0 Shortcuts” is located in User/Library/Preferences/Adobe/AfterEffects/7.0/

    Edit it using TextEdit.

    2. Activate and/or open Character Palette.
    Write, drag-and-drop, or copy characters to the search field.Then hoover over them to get the unicode ID.

    3. Add Ux before the unicode ID from character Palette an use this code to replace characters in
    the shortcut file.

    /Nils Fridén

  2. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Thanks Nils, I’ve added your procedure to the post!

  3. Jesper Henriksen

    >Hey – Cant seem to find the file … I have version 7 and Ive even tried other computers..


  4. Jesper Henriksen

    >AHH! I figured it out.. I hadnt turn off hide system files and folders .

    Thanks for the great tutorial .

  5. kezdo


    you rule!! :)
    thanks a lot!!!!!

  6. wallkahn

    >thanx a lot. I was searching for ages..

  7. Peter

    >Hi Jonas,

    i know this does not really belong to Shortcus in AE but somehow i does.
    Do you know how i change the language in AE on a Windows machine completely from German to English?

    I´ve figured out how to change the target AE app. Path from start menue access to the AE´s languages folder shortcut path for English.
    but if i doubleklick my project files in explorer window as i regularly do, the app. then still opens in german opens.

    How can i connect my project files to the English AE app. shortcut in the languages folder for ever?

    Help very appreciated. Thank you very much.


  8. Anonymous

    >Thanks Jonas, you save me a LOT of time, twice, because I had to change twice the shrtcts,due to cs3 instllation…thanks again!

  9. defcon2

    >Brilliant. I have a danish keyboard and I configured it to be the ½-key instead (Ux00BD)since the “§” didn’t work for me

  10. Thomas

    >have you find the solution for the version cs3?

  11. Jonas Hummelstrand


    I’ve updated the post to cover AE CS3 as well; all you have to do is to replace “7.0″ with “8.0″ in the path and the file name.

    Also, check out Jell Almasol’s script “KeyEd Up.”

  12. Wout

    >Thank you very much, it works perfectly.

    The Belgian keyboard types ² instead of the ` used by After Effects, so Belgian users should change the value to Ux00B2.

    • Legi

      Thank you ! It Works ! ;)

  13. Anders Sundstedt

    >Hi, what is the approach to enable the tilde key on a UK keyboard? (has got tilde but doesn’t do anything, running CS3).


  14. Jonas Hummelstrand


    You have to find the character that is produced when you press the key you want to use. If entering that key in the text file doesn’t work (remember to restart AE) you have to find the Unicode code for that key and enter that acording to the instructions in the original blog post. Let me know if it doesn’t work!

  15. Paul Kühlhorn


    Thanx for excellent tips and information here!
    I´m converting the ae shortcuts to swedish keyboard, but somehow i can’t get the swedish “å” (Ux00E5) to work as the original “[“

    “TimeSetIn” = “(Ux00E5)”

    The other bracket “]” works perfect. Anybody else who had similar problems – should i find a different key to put it under?

    Paul / Fellow Designers

  16. ZoiX

    >Hi, how are you?
    I have Windows Vista (yes I know, sorry) and i don’t found the path for locate Shortcuts.txt. Maybe you know. Thanks.

  17. ZoiX

    >Me again.
    C:\Users\ZoiX\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\9.0

    I am very blind xD

    I put just “|”, the symbol appear when I press the key next of the “1″ key (“2″ not xD); I don’t put the hexadecimal code. And work it!! Very thanks.


  18. Lucho


    I want to share with you a link to a webpage that lets you search for unicode. simply press the key and click on search and it will give you the unicode. seams easier than using character map. Thanks for the tip!


    Luis Artigas
    Carcas, Venezuela

  19. sam

    >I finally found the correct location for CS4 (9.0) in Vista! here it is:

    C:\User\XXXXXX\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\After Effects\9.0 -> Adobe After Effects 9.0 Shortcuts.txt

    (XXXXX = whatever your username is)

    The modification worked ^^

    tackar så mycket!

  20. Magnus


    Thank you!
    For us iMac-users without numreric keypad, adding markers to the timeline can be extremely time consuming. I remapped the nureric * to an å. LIfe is a lot easier now.

  21. Hannu

    >Thank you for this! At first I couldn't get the Å and Ä letters to work with unicode numbers, but then I realized that the code for capital letters Å and Ä must be used, not the code for å and ä.

  22. MARTiN

    >Thanks a bunch!

    The mac solution solved the problem for me. Great help!

  23. Anonymous
  24. Nicl

    >Så jag har letat! Tack för väldigt bra hjälp

  25. Pipes

    Great Tut, helped a lot. Thank you =)

  26. Gulbrand

    Thank you so much for this, Jonas! Hannu, your little comment saved me a lot of headscratching as well. Seems that for a Norwegian keyboard the tilde-equivalent is an apostrophe, and it can’t be overwritten right off the bat, so you’re better of using ÆØÅ (remember unix for capital letters, like Hannu said).

  27. Adrian

    Thanks a lot, this still applies to After Effects 10.5 (CS 5.5). It should be noted that within the Charmap application, the Unicode character set has to be selected to obtain the appropriate code.

    RUN > %APPDATA% will take you directly to the directory where you find the Adobe folders.

  28. tony

    Works on Windows 7 (64-bit) and After Effects CS5.5

  29. Sam

    I’m running CS5.5 on Lion (mac)

    I can’t find this text file does anyone know where it is located?

    Thanks, Sam

    • Jonas Hummelstrand

      Users:YOURUSERNAME:Library:Preferences:Adobe:After Effects:VERSIONNUMBER:

    • On Lion you have to hold down the Option key, click on Go to (Folder), then you see the user Library. Then you can mouse down to the file.

  30. The most annoying conflict for me is the absence of square brackets on the German keyboard (Mac OS X). Here’s the fix, which took a while for me to figure out (why, see below): go into the file and replace all instances (except in the hashed out character list at the top) of square bracket left with Option+8, Square bracket right with Option+9. THEN go into system preferences, keyboard shortcuts, and turn off the zooming shortcuts under “Bedienungshilfen” (the category for interface assistance, don’t remember what it’s called in English). Otherwise (Cmd+)Option+8 won’t work. Hope this is correct and helps.

  31. CT

    for CS5.5 OS X 10.6

    Find the “Adobe After Effects 10.5 Shortcuts”-file, open with text edit.

    Find “”MakeMovie” = “(Cmd+M)”” change to “”MakeMovie” = “(Cmd+macControl+M)””

    Find “”MacSysMenuMinimize” = “(Cmd+macControl+M)”” and delete this line.

    Remember to make a copy of the file first as backup

    Worked for me :o)

  32. CT

    The above solution is for making the “Make Movie”-shortcut to work.
    I guess the same technique can be used for other shortcuts.

    • Jonas Hummelstrand

      If you’re on Mac with CS5.5, you can also go to Preferences -> General and then uncheck “Use System Shortcuts” and Cmd-M will work like it used to work.

  33. CT


    Couldn’t you have told me that yesterday! ;-)


  34. Christoffer

    So I tried to find this folder on the Retina, and it dosent have the *USERNAME* folder in the sidebar, can anyone tell me how to locate the text file? (version 10.7.4 (Lion))

  35. Diogo

    I have this problem on my Adobe After Effects CS6.
    I use the Brazilian language on my computer (WIN7).
    I could not use this technique. Could anyone help me?
    Excuse my English.