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Keyboard shortcuts are essential to the editing process. It is possible to edit without them, however this can add a lot of unnecessary time to your work.
The editing process can be long and tedious, so any time saved can be time spent on creating a better film or video.
In this article, I will explain the 21 keyboard shortcuts that I think are essential for Premiere Pro users. I will explain what each of the shortcuts do, as well as list a cheat sheet at the end of this article for quick reference.
I will also explain how to change any of these shortcuts if you prefer to use a different key. These are not all of the shortcuts available in Premiere, but will be 21 of the most common you will likely find useful.
1. Quick Selection Tool (V)
This is the most common tool used in Premiere Pro. You will use this for anything involved with selecting, clicking and dragging, etc. It’s similar to your average mouse pointer.
2. Razor Tool (C)
The Razor tool is used to splice a clip into two separate clips.
3. New Text Layer (Mac: CMD+T/Windows: ALT+T)
This will add a new graphics layer onto the timeline for adding text on screen.
4. Type Tool (T)
The Type Tool is used for adding or changing text in a Text Layer.
5. Ripple Edit Tool (B)
The Ripple Edit Tool is useful for making quick edits to the head or tail end of a clip while shifting the rest of the adjacent clips.
6. Rolling Edit Tool (N)
The Rolling Edit Tool changes where the edit location between two clips. This shouldn’t be confused with the Ripple Tool. The Ripple Tool will remove parts of only one clip. The Rolling Edit Tool will remove part of one clip while adding to the adjacent clip.
7. Snap in Timeline (S)
Snap in Timeline forces a clip to snap into place when in close proximity to another clip. You can also turn this off for more precise placement.
8. Pen Tool (P)
The Pen Tool can be used for placing Keyframes either on the video’s opacity or the audio’s gain.
9. In/Out (I/O)
In and Out points are used when selecting a specific part of a clip in the Source Monitor to add into the timeline, or a section of a timeline for rendering. They are used for reference and do not alter the clip or timeline. The In point is the beginning of your clip, and the Out point is the end.
10. Clear In Point, Clear Out Point, Clear in and Out Points (Mac: Option+I, Option+O, Option+X/Windows: Control+I, Control+O, Control+X)
Use one of the shortcuts to either remove the in point, out point, or both.
11. Ripple Trim (Q/W)
The Ripple Trim shortcut works similar to the Ripple Edit Tool. However, the edit will be made instantly when selecting one of these keys. Place your playhead over the section of the clip where you’d like it to begin or end. Hit Q to remove everything on the left side of the playhead, and W for everything on the right side of the playhead.
12. Step Back 1 Frame (Left or Right)
Step Back 1 frame is used to move the playhead exactly one frame to the left or right with the timeline selected.
13. Shift Clips 1 Frame (Mac: CMD+L or R/Windows: ALT+ L or R)
Select the clip you want to move and hit the shortcut in either direction to move the clip 1 frame.
14. Go to Previous/Next (Up/Down)
This function will move the playhead to the nearest cut on either the audio or video on a selected track.
15. Add Marker/Edit Market (M)
Adding Markers is useful for labeling sections on a clip or timeline. Select the clip to make a mark on the clip, or select the timeline to make a mark on the timeline.
To edit the marker, simply hover the playhead over the marker and hit M. This will bring up a popup window with different options for labeling or note taking.
16. Select Clip at Playhead (D)
Hit this shortcut with the playhead over a clip to select it without using the Quick Selection Tool. This is useful when needing to make quick adjustments in the Effect Controls panel.
17. Overwrite/Insert (./,)
First, bring a clip into your source monitor, and then place the playhead over a desired section of the timeline. Hit (. – period) to overwrite that clip onto the timeline, or (, – comma) to insert the clip and shift the remaining clips to the right of the inserted clip.
18. Isolated Select (Mac: Option+click/Windows: Control+click)
Use this shortcut if you need to select either the video or audio portion of the clip without selecting the other. This is used when making J or L cuts.
19. Render Effects in Work Area (Mac: Return/Windows: Enter)
Use when needing to render all of the effects between the In and Out points on the timeline.
20. Multi-Camera Record On/Off Toggle (0)
This is used to quickly start recording cuts in a multi-camera sequence.
21. Select Camera (1, 2…9)
After starting the Multi-Camera Record On/Off Toggle, use any of the number keys 1 through 9 to switch between cameras on your timeline.
Viewing/Changing Keyboard Shortcuts
You can view all of the keyboard shortcuts available inside of Premiere by going to Premiere Pro > Keyboard shortcuts.
This will bring up a map of all of the shortcuts available inside of Premiere. All of the keys displayed are the functions when you hit that key only.
You can view other key functions by selecting any of the other modifier keys. For example, look at how the map changes when I hit the Shift key.
You can also change any of the shortcuts. For example, I don’t ever use the Zoom (Z) keyboard shortcut. Instead, I changed the Z shortcut to Add Edit so that I can splice a clip without using the Razor Tool.
You can do this by browsing the function you want to use, and then dragging it onto the desired key on the map.
You can also change it by selecting the command in the browser, click a blank area under the shortcut tab, and typing in the modifier manually.
Cheat Sheet for Mac and Windows
1 – Quick Selection Tool (V)
2 – Razor Tool (C)
3 – New Text Layer (Mac: CMD+T/Windows: ALT+T)
4 – Type Tool (T)
5 – Ripple Edit Tool (B)
6 – Rolling Edit Tool (N)
7 – Snap in Timeline (S)
8 – Pen Tool (P)
9 – In/Out (I/O)
10 – Clear In Point, Clear Out Point, Clear in and Out Points (Mac: Option+I, Option+O, Option+X/Windows: Control+I, Control+O, Control+X)
11 – Ripple Trim (Q/W)
12 – Step Back 1 Frame (Left or Right)
13 – Shift Clips 1 Frame (Mac: CMD+L or R/Windows: ALT+ L or R)
14 – Go to Previous/Next (Up/Down)
15 – Add Marker/Edit Market (M)
16 – Select Clip at Playhead (D)
17 – Overwrite/Insert ( ./,)
18 – Isolated Select (Mac: Option+Click/Windows: Control+Click)
19 – Render Effects in Work Area (Mac: Return/Windows: Enter)
20 – Multi-Camera Record On/Off Toggle (0)
21 – Select Camera (must have Multi-Camera Record toggled on) (1, 2…9)
Speaking personally, using these keyboard shortcuts have sped up my workflow dramatically. These shortcuts make editing much less tedious as well. I highly recommend practicing the different functions of each of these shortcuts.
Alex is a certified Adobe Premiere Pro video editor and independent filmmaker in the US. He is most known for writing, directing, and editing his debut feature film, Cashing Out, which has won multiple awards at film festivals across the US. Currently, Alex is the owner of AWS FILMS and works as a freelance video editor for several large companies and content creators.