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Final Cut Pro Timeline Navigation Shortcuts

Ashley Kennedy

It’s so important to be able to move quickly through the Timeline while editing in Final Cut Pro.  Get comfortable with these navigation techniques!

With the latest announcement of Final Cut Pro X (or rather, it seems, the current limitations of Final Cut Pro X, as explored in one of our recent blog posts), it looks like many users will be hanging onto Final Cut Pro 7 for a little bit longer.  Make sure that you’re familiar with all of the major Timeline navigation and selection shortcuts — most of which have been a part of the software for years.  And many of them will also go forward into Final Cut Pro X, so you’ll stay efficient as you continue to upgrade.

Playhead shortcuts

Instead of relying solely on dragging your mouse through the Final Cut Pro Timeline to quickly navigate to your desired location, be sure to use these keyboard shortcuts as often as possible to help you go exactly where you need to go.

  • Press the Up and Down arrow keys to move from one edit point to another (or the next IN or OUT point)
  • Press Control + 6 to move back two edits; Press Control + 9 to move forward two edits (on all tracks)
  • Press Shift + Left arrow / Shift + Right arrow to move back and forth through the Timeline by one-second increments
  • Press the Home or End key to move to the beginning or end of the sequence
  • Press Shift + G to move to the next gap; Press Option + G to move to the previous gap
  • Press Shift + I to move to the IN point; Press Shift + O to move to the OUT point
  • Press Shift + K to move to the next keyframe; Press Option + K to move to the previous keyframe

Moving Segments in the Timeline

To move segments through your Timeline, first select the segment (or select multiple segments by Command + clicking), and then do the following:

  • Press < or >, or  Option + Left arrow / Option + Right arrow to nudge the segment one frame to the left or right
  • To constrain horizontal movement while moving a segment vertically, hold down Shift as you drag, or press Option + Up arrow / Option + Down arrow
  • Press +/- and numbers (Timecode) to move the segment to the left or right by that amount of seconds

Timecode navigation

If numbers are your thing, try these shortcuts to use Timecode to navigate to your desired location.

  • Type the last few digits (instead of the entire timecode address) — i.e., type 500 to move 5 seconds into the show (which would be an equivalent of 01:00:05:00)
  • Type numbers followed by two periods to move to a certain number of minutes into the show — i.e., type 1.. to move 1 minute into the show (which would be an equivalent of 01:01:00:00).
  • Type +/-500 to move 5 seconds forward or backward from the current Playhead location

Zooming shortcuts

Avoid solely using the Zoom slider controls on the user interface to focus on areas of your Timeline.  Instead, try using these keyboard shortcuts to help you enlarge exactly the portion of the sequence you want to view.

  • Press Command +/ Command – to zoom in and out of the Timeline
  • Press Shift + Z to shows the entire sequence in the Timeline window.
  • Select a group of clips, and then press Shift + Option + Z to zoom into just that region of the Timeline.

Or, find what you like, then remap it to a key that makes more sense!

Remember — these are just the default shortcuts that come out of the box for Final Cut Pro.  You can always change any of these to whatever keystroke (or keystroke combination) that you want.  For more information on setting your own keyboard shortcuts, see our video tutorial: Customizing and Saving Keyboard and Interface Settings in Final Cut Pro.