Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Adobe After Effects Expressions Automating Text Data from External File

  • Automating Text Data from External File

  • Gordon Grant

    May 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    I want to automate the display of external text in a movie at specific times.

    The text file will contain 1 field with multiple values ie Black, Red, Blue, Green. There will be 50 values in the actual text file.

    I am happy to format the text file into whichever format is best for a script to access.

    The movie will show each value at 5 second intervals in the same text box (ie in the same location and style in the movie).

    The intended result is to have a text box that shows the values Black, Red, Blue, Green in sequence like this:

    0s-5s : Black
    5s-10s : <>
    10s-15s : Red
    15s-20s : <>
    20s-25s : Blue
    25s-30s : <>
    30s-35s : Green

    I have lots of movies to render in this style, so I am hoping that it will be possible to use a script so that I don’t have to manually type in 50 new values for each movie.

    I am guessing that I should read the external text file values into an array and then reference the array elements in the script?

    Would someone be able to point me in the right direction please? I am using AE 2020. Thanks!

    My current script (where I have to manually update each data value) is this:

    if (time>0 && time&lt;5) "Black"
    else if (time>5 && time &lt; 10) ""
    else if (time>10 && time &lt; 15) "Red"
    else if (time>15 && time &lt; 20) ""
    else if (time>20 && time &lt; 25) "Blue"
    else if (time>25 && time &lt; 30) ""
    else if (time>30 && time &lt; 35) "Yellow"
    else if (time>35 && time &lt; 40) ""
    else if (time>40 && time &lt; 45) "Green"
    else ""

  • Andrei Popa

    May 7, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Make a file with each value on a single row. If the layer must be empty, leave a blank row.




    Make a text layer. Select it and then run this script:

    var myTextProp = app.project.activeItem.selectedLayers[0]("ADBE Text Properties")("ADBE Text Document");
    var myFile = File.openDialog("Select your source file");
    if(myFile != null&&"r")){
    var myString =;

    var arrayOfWords = myString.split('\n');

    for(var i = 0; i < arrayOfWords.length;i++){

    My Envato portfolio.

  • Gordon Grant

    May 7, 2020 at 7:56 pm


    I really appreciate you taking the time and your fast response! Could you explain how I run the script please? I know how to add it to the Source Text of the text layer but that generates an error – so I am obviously not executing the script correctly.


  • Gordon Grant

    May 7, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    I found it!

    I have saved the script as a .JS file and then used FILE>SCRIPTS>RUN SCRIPT FILE

    Thank you very much!

Viewing 1 - 4 of 4 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy