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Premiere Pro Video Editing Tricks: Working in the Timeline

Andrew Devis

Moving clips in your timeline…sounds simple enough, right?  Take your video editing from good to great by knowing these Premiere Pro tricks for working in the timeline.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Let’s start with some Premiere Pro editing basics – moving multiple clips at a time. To select a whole bunch of clips on your timeline you can simply click and drag a marquee around the clips you want to select.

Drawing a Marquee


Once the items are selected you can drag them wherever you want in your video editing timeline.

However, this isn’t always a very practical option because of the relative complexity of various timelines you may be working on.  So, Premiere Pro also gives us the ‘Track Select Tool’ which is the little right facing arrow in a dotted box icon in your tool selection.

Track Select Tool


If you select this tool and click on any clip in your timeline it will select that clip and every clip on that TRACK to the right of the first clip.  This way you can move them all with one simple selection.

Clips On Video 1 Selected with Track Select Tool


However, with the addition of the ‘Shift’ key the track select tool will also select all the clips to the right of the first clip you select on EVERY track – which can be very helpful. The icon changes to show 2 arrows indicating that every track will be affected.

End Result After Holding the Shift Key and
Selecting a Clip with the Track Select Tool


Moving Individual Clips in Premiere Pro

One of the apparent problems with trying to move a single clip is that you seem to be able to move the video portion to another track but the audio portion stays where it is – which can be a real pain.

Video Moves Up a Track But the Audio Stays on the Same Track!


This is solved once again with the simple use of the shift key – but you have to use it in a specific way.

First, select the clip you want with the normal selection tool and pull it up the track you want it to go to. Now, without letting go of the mouse button – hold the shift key down. This will pin the video part of the clip to the track you have just moved it to.

Paying attention?  Good.  The audio will be on the wrong track still, but as long as you are still holding the mouse button and the shift key you can now pull down with the mouse and the video clip will stay where you move it and – when you pull down far enough – the audio portion will now move to another track as you require. A very cool trick for the Premiere Pro power editor!

Using the Shift Key to Move the Audio To the Right Track After Moving the Video


Not only that, but it works the other way around as well, so you can start by moving the audio the track you want and then hold the shift key to move the video.

Swapping Clips in Premiere Pro

Let’s say that I want to swap the third clip on video 1 for the first clip on video 1 without having to make room and close up gaps after the event?

Swapping Clips


Holding the Control/Command Key Leaves A Gap


As shown above, just holding the Control (on PC) or Command (on Mac) key will leave a gap, but if you hold both the Control (PC) Command (Mac) AND the ALT key you will get a new icon as you move the clip showing that the clips will swap over giving the following end result.

After Moving the Clip Holding the Ctrl/Cmd + Alt Keys


This technique allows you to quickly move your clips around without leaving gaps and works not just with whole clips but also allows you to drop a clip from one place to another anywhere on the timeline (not just at existing edit points).

Try to implement these Premiere Pro tricks in your video editing and you will see the difference it can make in speeding up your workflow.

Got Premiere Pro video editing tricks to share?
Tell us in the comments below!