Introducing The Commander for After Effects

What does it do?

The Commander is an all-in-one command launcher for After Effects. It can apply effects, expressions, and animation presents. It can also run menu commands, scripts, and is also capable of locating and opening items in the project panel.  All of this happens in a single, unified interface.  It allows you to spend less time navigating menus and more time on your creative work.

Launch a Command with these simple steps:

  1. Launch The Commander using the keyboard shortcut you’ve setup. (skip to 7:00 in the video above for more on this)
  2. Once The Commander appears, begin typing the desired command.
  3. When you see the command you want among the results, use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to adjust the selection.
  4. To execute a command, hit the enter key or click the “Make it happen!” button.

Installation Path:

Mac Users:
/Applications/Adobe After Effects <version>/Scripts/

Windows Users:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects <version>\Support Files\Scripts \

Setting up a Keyboard Shortcut:

This is briefly covered in the video above.  Mac users can go into the System Preferences and setup a custom App Shortcut in the Keyboard preference pane.  PC users will need to go into the General Preferences in After Effects, click on the button below that shows the preference folder in the file system.  Open the text file that ends with “…Shortcuts.txt” and scroll down (or search) “ExecuteScriptMenuItem01” and setup a keyboard shortcut.  Use the other shortcuts in the text file as reference if you’re unsure about syntax.  It’s best to do this while After Effects is closed just in case the file is overwritten when you quit After Effects.


This script should work for After Effects CC, CC2014, and CC2015.  You may find it behaves slightly different between versions.

Known Issues:

  • Some menu commands may not work
  • Windows users:  Often times the Commander window is not made active when launched.  The best way around this is to simply hit the assigned keyboard command two times when launching the Commander.  This will help ensure the window is active and ready to receive input from the keyboard.

Support, Feedback and Updates

Please feel free to email me if you have a question, find a bug, have ideas for making this a better tool, or anything else!  Follow me on Twitter if you’d like to stay up to date on The Commander.


Latest Version:
The Commander v1.02
  (what’s new?)

Sample Settings File:
Sample Settings v01

Previous Versions:
The Commander v1.01
The Commander v1.00