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FCP Super Shortcuts: Turn Your Keyboard Into A Jog Shuttle

Danny Greer

In this post, we’ll learn two ways to skim through your timeline in FCP using the keyboard as a jog dial.

You may have seen those fancy jog wheels for use with editing applications.  They may look snazzy, but let’s be honest, they simply aren’t necessary.  Instead, use the the keyboard to to breeze through your FCP projects (these shortcuts work with FCPX as well as earlier versions of Final Cut Pro).

Rewind / Stop / Play — Use the keys J, K or L.

These are THE most essential shortcuts to know in FCP.  If you’re a first timer jumping into the application, here’s the first three you MUST know.  However, I prefer to do much of my jogging using an alternative to this trio…

Power users may want prefer to skim through an FCP timeline by holding down SHIFT and either the LEFT or RIGHT ARROW KEYS.

Let’s break this shortcut down a little bit….

In Final Cut Pro, holding down SHIFT and tapping the right arrow key once will move the playhead 1 second forward.  Left arrow will move the playhead 1 second back. So, holding down an arrow key will allow you to jump through the timeline 1 second at a time.

I find this shortcut a better alternative than J/K/L when I’m wanting to just “jump back” to review a change I made in a project. When working with clients, we’ll go through the timeline in detail together, make changes, and then review.  This often requires jumping back just a few seconds (and sometimes frames) and SHIFT + ARROW is often the most efficient way to get there.

I’ve also found that it works if you’re trying to pinpoint a frame in the timeline because you have broad/fine control over positioning.  Use SHIFT + ARROW to make bigger jumps (10 frames) and then simply release SHIFT and continue to tap the arrows to move single frames.

This is one power shortcut that many editors don’t seem to know — but start integrating it into your editing workflow and you’ll be hooked!