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"Project file doesn't exist"

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Lon Waitman"Project file doesn't exist"
by on Aug 29, 2011 at 3:34:27 am

A few days ago, I clicked on an AE project file in order to open it and when the UI appeared, I got a message that said that that project file does not exist, even though I actually clicked on that project file in order to open it. I was puzzled, but decided to click on a previous auto-save version, which opened fine, and I then saved it as a new version. Now a couple days later, this newer version is getting the same error message when I try to open it. And also now none of the other auto-saved versions will open either - they are all getting the same error message. :o/

PS: I am not having this problem with any other project files.

CS5 / dual quad core / 16 GB RAM

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Todd KoprivaRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Aug 30, 2011 at 12:36:24 am

What is the name of the project file? Any non-standard characters in the name?

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support

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Lon WaitmanRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Aug 30, 2011 at 12:51:02 am

I have found a work-around. The problem only exists if I try to open the project file by clicking on it directly. But if I open AE and navigate to the project file and open it that way, the file opens up fine.

Todd - to answer your question: No, no non-standard characters. The names of the problem files have the same characters as many other names of files that are not a problem.

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Jon BosleyRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:19:55 am

Sorry to drag this one up again, I get the same issue on pretty much every .aep I create, I can't open it from explorer, only via the File > Open menu. I've coped fine with it but wanted to know if I could solve the problem altogether.

Running Win7 x64

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Ikhlas IlmyRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Feb 12, 2015 at 11:26:04 am

Illogically freaking... Why was that.. But your simple answer worked though. Thanks dude..!

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marco stoppaniRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Apr 8, 2014 at 2:38:43 pm

thanks a lot, it' strange this thing, isn't it?

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Dudley SaundersRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 7:46:36 pm

This is happening to me, and it won't open via File>Open inside of After Effects either.

I am opening a CS4 project for the first time in CS5, but all my other CS4 projects are having no trouble opening in CS5. These are new, very fast PCs -- any ideas? It's a pretty crucial project.

Dudley Saunders
KCET Los Angeles

Dudley Saunders

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Pavan KumarRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Jun 25, 2012 at 6:10:57 am

I have faced same problem .

My after effects template folder structure was like this


it says doesnt exist. then i copied the aet file to another drive like this F:\diamond.aet . i opened and it worked.

Their might be some problem with path where after effects may not recognise another languages or special characters like i was having.

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Chris PettitRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Jul 12, 2013 at 6:22:09 pm

I'm having the same problem, working on workarounds now.

Anyone know what AE is doing this? pretty scary stuff with clients archived content at stake


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David WehleRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Dec 4, 2013 at 6:45:28 pm

Sorry if this is resurrecting a dead thread, but this is the top hit when you Google this problem. I've discovered why it does this, even though the file isn't corrupt. If there are two spaces in a row anywhere in the file path name, it will give you this error message. Simply find the faulty folder and remove the extra space in the name.

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Chad GilmourRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Feb 13, 2014 at 7:27:01 pm

This thread literally just saved my day! Opening through the AE interface and the double spaces both solved my issue. Thanks guys!

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Michael AntoninoRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Apr 4, 2014 at 4:05:51 pm

Thanks a lot David you were absolutely right. The folder my project was in had two spaces in it. As soon as I fixed that, After Effects didn't have any problems with loading my project.

VERY Helpful to know.

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Erik WaluskaRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:47:16 pm

Same here, that fixed it for me. Thanks for posting the solution!

Erik Waluska

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Lorraine SalazarRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Oct 12, 2015 at 3:24:34 am

I DID have exactly two spaces in my folder, I deleted them and all my files open now. Thanks so much!!

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kelly tanRe: "Project file doesn't exist"
by on Mar 4, 2016 at 4:24:51 am

Thank you David! Your solution works so well I had to create an account to come thank you. (;

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