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May 24, 2011
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AvidTutorialsVideo Editing

Timeline Zooming Shortcuts in Avid Media Composer

Avoid “Mousing Around” — Learn the best Timeline Zooming Shortcuts in Avid Media Composer

To edit efficiently, it’s important to be able to quickly isolate and enlarge the area of the Timeline you’re working with, especially when editing a longer program. This post contains some effective tips for zooming and selecting exactly the part of the Timeline you want to use.

Zooming Techniques

You probably are already well aware of the main way to zoom into the Timeline, which is to slide the scale bar to the right.

Scale Bar

I encourage you to generally avoid using this technique if you can. It’s not very efficient to rely solely on your mouse for such a frequent activity as zooming in and out. Using the keyboard is a much better way to work.

Here are the default commands for Timeline zooming:

  • To zoom into the Timeline incrementally: Ctrl + ] (Windows) or Command + ] (Mac)
  • To zoom out of the Timeline incrementally: Ctrl + ] (Windows) or Command + [ (Mac)
  • To display the entire Timeline: Ctrl + / (Windows) or Command + / (Mac)

Ok, great -- a keyboard shortcut with a modifier key. That's two buttons to press every time you want to zoom in or out. Sure, it's better than using the mouse, but why not make it one button?

I suggest you map the zooming commands to more intuitive and accessible keys, like the Up Arrow (Zoom In) and Down Arrow (Zoom Out) on the number keypad. To do this, you'll need to perform a Menu to Button Reassignment in the Command Palette. FYI, Avid calls Zoom In "More Detail" and Zoom Out "Less Detail." These are menu items that can be found within the Fast Menu of the Timeline.

Avid UI with more detail less detail

How to map menu items to your keyboard in Avid Media Composer:

  1. Open the Command Palette from the Tools Menu and choose Menu to Button Reassignment.
  2. Open the Keyboard under the Settings tab in the Project Window.
  3. Click on the keyboard button on which you want to map the menu item. (Your cursor has turned into a tiny menu icon when you perform this step.)
    Avid keyboard premap whole
  4. Navigate to the Menu Item that you would like to map (like More Detail in the Timeline Fast Menu), and release the mouse.
  5. Notice that the keyboard has been labeled with the initials of the menu item that you have mapped.
    Avid keyboard map whole

More Zooming Commands in Avid Media Composer

There's just a couple more zooming techniques that can benefit you when isolating a specific area of the Timeline. Sometimes, rather than exercising incremental zooms, you will want to quickly select an area to enlarge. Fortunately, you can do this quite quickly with just a couple of shortcuts.

  • To zoom in to a section of the Timeline in Avid Media Composer: Ctrl + M (Windows) or Command + M (Mac)
    The cursor becomes a double-sized arrow. double arrow
    Drag the cursor over the section you want to expand, and upon release of the mouse, that section of the Timeline is displayed in whole.

    After enabling the Timeline zoomer by pressing Ctrl + M (Windows) or Command + M (Mac), drag a lasso around the specific area of the Timeline you'd like to enlarge.

    After enabling the Timeline zoomer by pressing Ctrl + M (Windows) or Command + M (Mac), drag a lasso around the specific area of the Timeline you'd like to enlarge.

  • To zoom back out and display the entire Timeline: Ctrl + J (Windows) or Command + J (Mac). Note that this command only works after having performed the previous zooming shortcut.

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