[ae] Sync Font Attributes


A colleague of mine, who is a graphics artist, had a request about syncing After Effects text layers’ attributes (font, font size etc.) via expressions. Unfortunately at the time of writing this You can only link the contents of the text, but not its attributes. So I made the next best thing: A small script that does it at the push of a button:

Download it here


Sooo, this turned into a larger R&D session about text layers than I had expected. It seems that the JavaScript API’s access to text layer’s properties has some limitations as well. I spent some time reading the docs once more and testing every property and made a simple overview of what won’t sync so You won’t get unpleasantly surprised:

Attributes that can’t be modified via JavaScript and therefore can’t be synced between text layers

It makes sense that some settings – like kerning, which is a per-character setting – can’t be modified as simply as say the font. Others like the Stroke/Fill rules seem more like a bug in the API than a sensible restriction (I hope that some guy from Adobe will see my post on the After Effects Scripting forum and give some feedback/insight). For now I can’t do much more about the limitations mentioned. Of course the script might still be helpful in some cases despite the limitations.

All test results were acquired through After Effects CC2015 (, information from the After-Effects-CS6-Scripting-Guide.pdf and a bunch of google searches.

In case anyone want’s to try and fiddle with it themselves, here’s how to modify a text layer’s properties via JavaScript:
// Get text layer's Source Text property
var prp = app.project.activeItem.layer(1).property("Source Text")
// Assign to text layer to be able to edit properties
prp.setValue(new TextDocument(prp.value.text))
var doc = prp.value
// Make some changes to the TextDocument
doc.text = "Something"
doc.font = "Verdana"
doc.fillColor = [0.1,0.5,1]
// Assign the modified TextDocument to the text layer
Here’s an overview of the properties available to the JavaScript API on a text layer’s “Source Text” property and which values to get/set:
Property Access Value type Value example/Description
allCaps read boolean true/false
applyFill read/write boolean true/false
applyStroke read/write boolean true/false
baselineShift read/write number in range -1296-1296
boxText read boolean true/false
boxTextPos read/write array of floats [float,float] (if boxText is true)
boxTextSize read/write array of floats [float,float] (if boxText is true)
fauxBold read boolean true/false
fauxItalic read boolean true/false
fillColor read/write array of floats [r,g,b] (in range 0-1)
font read/write string “Verdana” (Case Sensitive)
fontFamily read string “Verdana”
fontLocation read string “/Library/Fonts/Verdana.ttf”
fontSize read/write number 0.1-1296
fontStyle read string “Regular”
horizontalScale read/write number in range 0-100 (1 = 100% scale in ui)
justification read/write integer left=7213, right=7214, center=7215 + if boxText == true :: last left=7216, last centered=7218, last right=7217, all=7219
pointText read boolean true/false
smallCaps read boolean true/false
strokeColor read/write array of floats [0.1, 0.5, 1] [r,g,b] (in range 0-1)
strokeOverFill read/write boolean true/false (only works for “Fill Over Stroke” and “Stroke Over Fill”)
strokeWidth read/write number in range 0-1000
subscript read boolean true/false
superscript read boolean true/false
text read/write string “Anything”
tracking read/write integer in range -1000-1000
tsume read/write number in range 0-100
verticalScale read/write number in range 0-100 (1 = 100% scale in ui)