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How to Save to Previous Version of After Effects


Looking to open a project in an older version of After Effects? It can be tricky, but here’s a solution.

When working in After Effects, it stands to reason that you should always be using the most updated software available. However, whether it’s by preference or necessity, you may find yourself needing to use an older version of the program for editing your project. For this article, let’s assume you’re trying to go from the latest Creative Cloud version (After Effects CC) to version 5.5 (AE CS6).

To retrograde your project to an older version of After Effects, you’ll have to go through a couple of steps. Unfortunately, there is no direct quick fix. However, if you follow these steps, it’s actually pretty simple.

Step One: Download Past Versions of After Effects

If you have Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you should be able to easily manage and download all the programs you need. Simply click on your Creative Cloud icon (for Macs, it should be at the top right of your screen) to pull down the apps manager. Below “Installed” you’ll find a tab that reads “Find Additional Apps.” Click on this tab to find the icon for After Effects. Click “Install” to bring up a list of which version you’ll want.

How to Save to Previous Version of After Effects: Download Versions

Via BlueFx on Youtube

Be sure to download all versions between your current project file and the version you’d like to retrograde to. There will be numbers next to the versions (CC 2015 is version 13.5, CC 2014 version 13.0) for you to follow in terms of which is the latest.

Step Two: Open Project and Save as Previous AE Version

Open your project in the version of After Effects that it was last saved in. Go to “File” then “Save As” then find the “Save as a Copy…” where it will list out the previous version of that After Effects. You won’t be able to save it directly back from CC 2015 to CS5.5, but you will be able to go back one step.

How to Save to Previous Version of After Effects: Open Project

Via BlueFx on Youtube

Be sure to label your new retrograded saved file as such. Especially if it still needs to be retrograded again.

Step Three: Repeat Step Two as Many Times as Needed

Now that your After Effects Project file is saved and formatted as an older version, it will work in that version (as well as it can — it won’t be perfect). You can now retrograde the project down another step by repeating the processes. This time, however, you will need to open the file in its new After Effects format to retrograde it down again (which may mean you need to download the older After Effects version to work in).

How to Save to Previous Version of After Effects: Repeat as Needed

Via IMKevin177 on Youtube

You’ll also note that you can skip the 13.5 to 13.0 version and go straight to 12.0, as long as its a full jump, which will help speed up the process.