Insider Tips: Format Currency in After Effects with this Expression

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Laurence Grayson shows you how to get your foreign currency formats under control in After Effects. 

If you’re producing commercial motion graphics, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with currencies. Not an issue if you’re only working with one currency—particularly if it’s your local currency—but potentially complex if your client has asked you to create versions of your work for multiple territories.

But it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to After Effects’ own internal toolset and this single-line After Effects expression demonstrated by Nic Dean on his YouTube channel Mograph Mindset, you can switch between multiple currencies and their localized formatting just by changing a couple of values.

Here’s how to format currency in After Effects:

  • Go to Project Settings->Expressions and make sure Javascript is enabled as your Expression Engine.
  • Add some text to your composition then add a Slider Control effect to the text layer.
  • Pickwhip the Source Text value of the text layer to your Slider Control and use the Source Text twirldown to reveal the Expression this creates.
  • Replace it with this text:
const num = effect("Slider Control")("Slider").value;
num.toLocaleString('en-US', {style: 'currency', currency: 'USD'})

Now you can change the locale and currency values to suit your needs. For example, ‘en-GB’ and ‘GBP’ will give you British Pounds, ‘de-DE’ and ‘EUR’ will give you German Euros.

You can find the full list of ISO currency codes here, and language-COUNTRY codes can be found here. While you can mix and match these if you need to, matching the locale value with the currency value will make sure you get the correct currency symbol as well as the correct currency formatting.

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Laurence Grayson

After a career spanning [mumble] years and roles that include creative lead, video producer, tech journalist, designer, and envelope stuffer, Laurence is now the managing editor for Insider. This has made him enormously happy, but he's British, so it's very hard to tell.

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