This tutorial explains how to change the name of a layer in Adobe After Effects and what the difference is between Source Name and Layer Name and how to toggle between the two.

Recapping Tutorial on How to Change the Name of a Layer in After Effects

In the timeline of your composition find the column called Source Name. To change the name of a layer, select the layer then hit the Return key. The text will highlight. Next change the name of the layer to whatever you want it to be. In the video I change the CmdEdit-Logo layer to just Logo.

Once you do this the first time the Source Name column will change to Layer Name. The rest of the layers that you haven’t renamed will get brackets [ ] around their name with the exception of light layers 💡.

There’s a number of reasons to do this but the big two for me are 1) if another editor or motion graphics artist will be using this project or 2) the source names just aren’t clean and you want your project a bit tidier. For a simple composition like in the video it won’t make much of a difference however when you get 75-100+ layers deep naming your layers matters so much!

If you want to go back and see the Source Name of the layers, click on the column heading that now says Layer Name and it’ll switch back. Repeat this step as needed.

That is how to change the name of a layer in After Effects. Hope you found this walk-through helpful!


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

Music used in this video, “Camino” by Matt Wigton, was purchased and licensed through my friends at Soundstripe (affiliate link). For 10% off a subscription use the code EVF at checkout.

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– Josh