How to Install After Effects Plugins

This minHour teaches you how to install plugins for Adobe After Effects.  Unless an After Effects plugin has it's own installation instructions, you can typically install a plugin by copying the file to the Adobe After Effects plug-ins folder.  The following steps will show you how to download a plug-in and copy it to the After Effects plug-ins folder.


Download a plugin.

Some plugins are free, while others are paid plug-ins and cost money. There are a number of websites where you can download After Effects plugins, including,, and Adobe Third-Party Plugins. Select a plugin and then click the download link for the plugin to begin the download.

  • After Effects plugins are usually downloaded as ZIP files.

Open the ZIP file.

Double-click the ZIP file to extract and open the contents of the ZIP folder. By default, downloaded files can be found in your Downloads folder.

Open the folder that matches your computer and operating system.

An After Effect plug-in ZIP file usually has several folders containing files for each different operating system. For example, you might see; “Windows plug-in 32-bit”, “Windows plug-in 64-bit”, “Mac plug-in 32-bit”, or “Mac plug-in 64-bit” folders in the zip folder.

Copy the plug-in file to your desktop.

You can drag and drop the file onto the desktop, or you can right-click the plugin file and select “Copy” and then right-click the desktop and select “Paste”.

Open a new Explorer window

on Windows, or a new Finder window on Mac.

On Windows, click the icon of a folder on your taskbar, or on Mac, click the blue and white icon smiley face icon on the left-side of your Mac’s dock at the bottom of the screen. This will open a new window for you to browse the files on your computer.

Go to the After Effects plug-in folder.

On Windows, the Adobe After Effects folder is usually located in C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe After EffectsSupport FilesPlug-ins. On Mac, the plugin location is usually located in Applications/Adobe After Effects/Plug-ins.

Create a new folder for the plug-in.

Inside the After Effects plug-in folder, right-click, select “New” and click “New Folder”. Name the folder after the plug-in. For example, if the plug-in you are installing is called VC Reflect, you should name the folder “VC Reflect”.

  • If you’re using a Mac with no right mouse button or a trackpad, you can click inside the folder with two fingers to perform a right-click.

Copy the plug-in to the new folder.

Drag the After Effects plugin file from the desktop to the new folder, or if you copied the file from earlier, you can right-click and select “Paste” to copy the plug-in file to the new folder. Next time you launch After Effects, you can access the plug-in from the Effect menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

  • If After Effects is already open and running, you’ll need to save your work and restart the app before you’ll be able to use the plugin in After Effects.

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