This tutorial is on how to replace a layer in After Effects. I’ll show you the simple replace layer shortcut that’ll keep all the properties of a layer when you replace it in After Effects.

Recapping Tutorial on the Replace Layer Shortcut in After Effects

Let’s say you have a layer in your After Effects Comp and you love everything about it. It’s positioning is correct and all the different effects and whatnot applied to it are perfect. But you need to swap it out for a different source. This could be footage, a graphic, a PSD, a JPEG, an audio file like WAV or MP3, or really just about any type of media used in a composition.

To do this, select the layer in the composition you want to replace. Next select the layer in the Project Panel you want to replace it with. Now hold down Opt if you’re on a Mac or Alt if you’re on a PC then select the layer in the Project Panel and drag and drop it onto the layer stack in the Comp.

Replace Layer Shortcut in After Effects
Select the layer in the Comp. Then select the replacement layer in the Project Panel. Hold Opt/Alt then drag and drop the replacement layer onto the layer stack.

Boom! Using the shortcut you replaced the layer in your composition in After Effects.

I use this all the time when I need to do the same move or effect on multiple clips. Do it once, duplicate the layer but hitting Command+D if you’re on a Mac or Control+D if you’re on a PC then do the replace layer shortcut. Repeat as needed.


Suggested Additional Viewing: Show and Hide Properties in After Effects Tutorial

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If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post, podcast, video, newsletter, etc.? You can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff.

– Josh