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After Effects warning: # files are missing since you last saved this project

Updated on Nov 01, 2018 by Jean to File Recovery


This page gives simple yet effective solutions to one of the most prevalent Adobe After Effects warning - files are missing since you last saved this project. Try to solve the error and find After Effects missing files on your own.

Error Explanation

After Effects warning: # files are missing since you last saved this project.

After Effects missing files

The "#" represents how many in number files are missing in the currently opened After Effects project. Usually, this error could come up in two situations:

1. The project file (name.afp) location has changed from its original place in the folder. Or, you received the project file produced by whom using a different Operating System, and it cannot find the rest of the files it needs for the project. Here's an example.

"My brother sent a huge AE-CC project via Dropbox and when I open it I am getting the error which says files missing since you last saved this project. The file does open, but everything is messed up. Colors, scales of objects in compositions... It's completely useless."

2. It's simply because that the creator did not put the required files for the project in the template.

In a word, whenever you open a project file, After Effects checks the media links included in the file to ensure that they are all intact. And if anything happens to the original file, for example, it is deleted, moved or renamed, After Effects will fail to find the items. At this moment, you'll receive a warning prompt telling you how many files are currently missing. 

How to Find After Effects Missing Files

First of all, you must clearly figure out what causes files missing. Did the files deleted or just moved to other places?

Solution 1. Recover After Effects files if they were deleted or removed from its location

EaseUS free file recovery software supports deleted After Effects file recovery. Only when your missing files were deleted and they were none existed in the original location, you need to apply the software to recover deleted files with three steps.

To recover deleted After Effect files:


Step 1: Choose the location

Download and open the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. When you open it, you can see all of the disks and partitions on your computer, select the disk partition or storage location where you deleted your files.

select the location

Step 2: Click Scan

Click the "Scan" button. The scanning process starts as long as you click Scan.

click scan

Step 3: Click Recover

After the scanning process, click the "Deleted files" option on the left panel. You can see all of the deleted files, select the desired files.

Preview the wanted data and click Recover to bring deleted files back.

click recover

Now, put the recovered files back to its original location, so you can open the project without receiving the message dialog anymore.

Solution 2. Recover After Effects files if the location has changed

However, if the problem results from the project file being shifted from its original place in the folder, to fix the After Effects missing files you must relink the missing footage by replacing the original linked footage with itself.

To relink files in an After Effects project:

Step 1. Navigate to the Project tab and type in the search term "missing". All files that are currently missing will show up.

Step 2. Right-click on any missing footage item and from the menu that appears, choose to Replace Footage > File.

After Effects missing files

Step 3. Select the file from its new location, and it will instantly be restored to the project. Another prompt message saying "After Effects: # previously missing items have been" found.

After Effects missing files found