Video Editing Techniques: How should I use keyboard shortcuts?

I learned some of my most valuable lessons as a video editor when I worked in the sports newsroom of a major Canadian broadcaster.

Given the quick-paced nature of television sport media, there was an immense amount of pressure to edit efficiently. Keyboard shortcuts were one of the most integral components of meeting a deadline.

The Three Principles of Keyboard Shortcuts

The three principles that every video editor should take into consideration are:

  1. Memorize every shortcut. As a video editor, your objective should be to edit instinctively, and not waste time looking for tools.
  2. Explore new shortcuts. When presented with a unique editing task, there is always a way to streamline it with your keyboard.
  3. Keep shortcuts on the left-hand side of your keyboard. This drastically reduces the time wasted by lifting your right hand from the mouse.

These three principles will cumulatively save you minutes before a deadline, and hours in your day.

Download and Learn More

For the last five years, I have been refining a set of keyboard shortcuts that I use on a daily basis in Adobe Premiere.

A download link to these shortcuts can be found below, along with explanations of each key function and my rationale.

Please note that these shortcuts were designed for Windows machines, but you can adopt them for a Mac OSX environment.

Core Editing Functions

KeyFunctionExplanation & Rationale
1Ripple Trim Next Edit to PlayheadRipple deletes content in the timeline between the position of the playhead and the next edit in the clip.
2Ripple Trim Previous Edit to PlayheadRipple deletes content in the timeline between the position of the playhead and the previous edit in the clip.
3Extend Next Edit to PlayheadExtends the next clip in the timeline back to the position of the playhead. This enables you to quickly adjust the duration of the clip without clicking and dragging your mouse.
4Extend Previous Edit to PlayheadExtends the previous clip in the timeline forward to the position of the playhead. This enables you to quickly adjust the duration of the clip without clicking and dragging your mouse.
QOverwrite ClipDrops the clip in the Source Monitor into your timeline, at the playhead position. Overwrites any existing clips, as required.
WInsert ClipDrops the clip in the Source Monitor into your timeline, at the playhead position. Pushes any existing clips forward, as required.
EClip Speed/DurationOpens a dialogue window, enabling you to adjust the speed of the clip.
RAdd EditInserts a cut in the timeline at the playhead position, on the enabled track.
TTrack Select Tool
YSlip Tool
IMark InMarks an ‘In’ point in the Source Monitor or the sequence.
OMark OutMarks an ‘Out’ point in the Source Monitor or the sequence.
[Decrease Clip Volume
]Increase Clip Volume
Zoom to SequenceZooms your timeline out to display the entire sequence. Press this key again, and it will zoom back in to your previous magnification.
AGo to Previous EditJumps to the previous cut in your timeline (on any track). Allows you to quickly navigate without moving the mouse.
SGo to Next EditJumps to the next cut in your timeline (on any track). Allows you to quickly navigate without moving the mouse.
DSelect Clip at PlayheadSelects the clip at the playhead position, without any clicking required.
FRate Stretch ToolAdjusts the duration of a clip by clicking and dragging the mouse.
GRolling Edit ToolAdjusts the position of a cut on the timeline.
HHand Tool
JRewind
KPlay
LFast Forward
ZRipple DeleteOne of the most useful keyboard shortcuts you will come across. The ripple delete tool will delete a clip in your timeline and automatically close the gap left in its place.
CAudio GainOpens the Audio Gain dialogue box, and enables you to adjust the peak amplitude of a clip.
VSelection Tool
BInsert Video Crossfade TransitionThis keyboard shortcut is extremely useful when applying transitions in bulk.
NInsert Video Dip to White TransitionThis keyboard shortcut is extremely useful when applying transitions in bulk.
MAdd Marker
,Apply Audio TransitionThis keyboard shortcut is extremely useful when applying transitions in bulk.
SpacePlay

Miscellaneous Functions

KeyFunctionExplanation & Rationale
SHIFT +Increase Video Track Height
SHIFT –Decrease Video Track Height
SHIFT + SLink Selected TracksLinks/un-links the movement of the selected video and audio tracks.
SHIFT + DDelete TracksOpens a dialogue box that enables you to clean up your timeline by deleting un-used tracks.
ALT +Increase Audio Track HeightEnables you to quickly manipulate the view of your timeline, as required.
ALT –Decrease Audio Track HeightEnables you to quickly manipulate the view of your timeline, as required.
CTRL +Maximize All Track HeightsEnables you to quickly manipulate the view of your timeline, as required.
CTRL –Minimize All Track HeightsEnables you to quickly manipulate the view of your timeline, as required.
CTRL + MExport Media
CTRL + 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8Select Video TrackSimple and effective way of highlighting a track to be modified with other keyboard shortcuts.
ALT + 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8Select Audio TrackSimple and effective way of highlighting a track to be modified with other keyboard shortcuts.
ALT + XClear In and Out Points
+Zoom In on Timeline
Zoom Out on Timeline
EnterRender Timeline
`Maximize or Restore Frame Under CursorGreat way to quickly focus your attention on a specific frame within Premiere (i.e. the Project panel could be maximized while importing/cataloging content).
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