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Our Top 10 Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts in Premiere Pro

If you’re reading this, chances are you make videos.  It can be a really fun process but it can also take a huge amount of time! This is why Video Editors are always looking for ways to speed up their process.  Some people buy new gadgets like the palette gear or why others will upgrade their computer process footage faster.  At the end of the day the key is speed, which is why we’re going over our top 10 favorite keyboard shortcuts to help you edit faster in Premiere Pro! 

(CTRL on a PC = Command on a Mac)
(Alt on a PC = Option on a Mac)


1. Save your work (CTRL + S)

Before you do anything else, SAVE YOUR WORK! There are few worse experiences than losing progress and having to retrace your steps in the while editing.  A simple solution is to get into the habit of quickly hitting control or command and “S” every few minutes.  

2. Shuttle Buttons (J,K,L)

When it comes to video editing, most of your time seems to be spent watching footage.  This could be reviewing footage you’ve imported, watching how a clip looks on the timeline, or previewing your entire project once you’re ready to export.  Thankfully Premiere Pro has a built-in function to help you watch your materials at double speed (or faster!).  By hitting the “L” key, you can tell premiere to play your footage.  While it’s playing, every additionally time you press the “L” key will increase the speed at which your materials play.   This can help to half the time that you would otherwise spend watching your footage.  Similarly, the “K” button stops your footage and the “J” button either reduces or reverses the speed.

3. Add a Marker (M)

If you work with a team of people, you probably already know that communication is key.  This is why adding markers to your footage can be incredibly helpful.  With your playhead over a particular location, you can hit the "M" key in order to create a marker at that spot.  This acts as a signal to your other co-workers that there is an important piece of the video that they want to make known.  Maybe you want them to take a look at the pacing at a particular section, or whether a certain transition works as you intended.  By double clicking on this marker you can also give it a title, change its color, and even write detailed comments so the next person to see it will be sure to know what its purpose is. 

4. Match Frame (F)

Quickly finding the original footage from a clip on your timeline can be tricky.  What can be even worse is finding the exact spot where you took footage from within that source clip.  One option is to select the clip from your timeline, reveal it in your project manager, and then scrub through to try to find the right spot along the clip. But what can be a lot easier is simply to bring your playhead over the clip on your timeline and hit the "F" key.  This will bring up the exact frame your playhead was over inside of the original clip in your source monitor.

5. Zoom In And Zoom Out (- and +)

This one is simple and can really start to rack up the amount of time you save by using it.  Instead of taking your cursor and dragging the slider to zoom in and out, you can simply hit the "+" key to zoom in, and the "-" key to zoom out a small amount within whatever monitor you have highlighted (I personally use this primarily within my timeline).  Each click will continue to zoom a greater magnification to the point where only a few clicks can give you a great deal of perspective.  Get a bird's eye view or dive in for detailed inspections.

6. Link and Unlink Clips (CTRL + L)

What can be incredibly frustrating is when you have a clip exclusively intended for visuals which has an empty audio clip attached to it.  As you move your clip around, you find it's dragging the unnecessary audio along every step of the way.  Getting rid of this is really easy as you can simply select the clip and hit CTRL and "L" to make the audio and video two separate units.  Conversely, you can also link clips that you want to move together as a unit.  By selecting these clips and using the same keys you can digitally link these clips.

7. Move Up Or Down Track Layer (Alt + up/down)

Dragging your clips to new layers isn’t a hard job, but it can be frustrating when they don’t act like you may expect.  This can result in elements being chopped unnecessarily or moving it forwards or backwards in time by mistake.  Both of these problems can be avoided if you use this simple shortcut.  With your clip selected, hold Alt (or option) and use the up and down arrow keys to go either up a layer or down a layer. This one is pretty fun to use for the first time!

8. Move One Frame (Alt + left/right)

During the editing process there are big changes and small changes.  While the big changes seem more flashy and noticeable, the small changes are usually where frustration is found.  Moving your clips only a few frames at a time can be the farthest along this spectrum of frustration.  To move clips forwards or backwards individual frames at a time, hold the Alt button and use the left and right arrow keys to move your clip forwards and backwards a frame at a time.  

9. Audio Gain (G)

Poor audio is one of the worst problems a video can suffer from.  One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to make sure your audio is at the correct volume.  Doing this for individual clips on each layer can be challenging especially if, for example, manually raising the volume slider won’t make it loud enough.  What can really help is to increase or decrease the audio gain.  Hitting the G key will quickly bring up the audio gain adjustment box where you can make small or large changes.  

10. Export Media (CTRL + M)

This is it! You’ve made your video and you’re ready to export it.  How do you get to the export window?  You could take your mouse and go to File > Export > Media, or you could simply hit Control and "M".  This will take you to the export settings window where you can adjust your settings and get the best export possible!

And as a little bonus, we wanted to share potentially our favorite shortcut of all time!

11. Keyboard Shortcuts List (CTRL + Alt + K)

Of all the keyboard shortcuts, perhaps the most beneficial is the one that shows you ALL of the keyboard shortcuts premiere pro sets by default.  Doing this will allow you not only to see on a visual map what each key does, but also allows you to customize and set your own shortcuts.  This can be the entry point to give you the flexibility to save even more time in Premiere Pro.  Try it out and see what you come up with!  

If you liked this article, check out some of our others here at www.motionarray.com/blog

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