42+ Useful Final Cut Pro Shortcuts

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Apple’s video editing software Final Cut Pro is a performing and intuitive platform that allows you to create professional videos.

With rendering speeds that are up to five times faster for 8K projects, few video editing products can rival Final Cut Pro.

The advanced rendering features and comprehensive editing tools make Final Cut Pro suitable for professional projects with advanced post-production requirements. Still, it’s also a convenient platform for developing high-quality video content in the context of online learning.

As a content creator, you can save time and streamline your editing workflow by learning to use Final Cut Pro shortcuts.

Learning How to Use Shortcuts

You can use hundreds of keyboard shortcuts to access different features and functionalities and Final Cut Pro instantly. Memorize the shortcuts for the actions you use the most when editing your video content to save time.


Application shortcuts help you save time when opening or closing Final Cut Pro or control features at the application level.

Here are the main application shortcuts you should know:

  1. Launch Final Cut Pro by pressing Command-Space to launch the Spotlight feature on your Mac. Type the first letters of the app to locate it.
  2. Close Final Cut Pro with Command- Q once you’re done working.
  3. Access your Final Cut Pro libraries by pressing Command-O.
  4. If you need to change your preferences, use the Command-, shortcut.
  5. Fix mistakes instantly by pressing Command-Z to cancel your last change.


Once you select a clip in your timeline, Final Cut Pro lets you apply a wide range of effects. You can rotate, crop, pan, and even change the perspective of a clip.

Use effects like a pro with these shortcuts:

  1. Launch the Effects browser with Command-5.
  2. Use Control-T to apply a title effect to your clip.
  3. Once a default Audio effect is selected, apply it to a clip with Option-Command-E.
  4. Command-T is a similar functionality for applying a default transition you have selected.
  5. Copy and effect with Option-Command-C and use Option-Command-V to paste this same effect to a different clip.


Editing shortcuts are a convenient way to manage changes to your clips:

  1. Connect a clip to the storyline by pressing E to add it to the end.
  2. Q is one of the shortcuts you’ll use the most. It connects the selected clip to the primary timeline.
  3. Turn a selected clip into an audition with the Command-Y shortcut.
  4. Switch from one angle to another using numbers 1 to 9 to switch between multicam clips.
  5. Review the video and audio tracks separately with Control-S.
  6. You can insert a clip in the middle of a storyline by placing the skimmer where you want to add the clip and pressing Option-W.
  7. Adjust the volume with Control-Option-L for the entire storyline or Control-L for selected clips.


Students tend to learn best with short videos that are straight to the point. Get rid of redundant content with these trimming shortcuts:

  1. Place the skimmer or playhead where you want to cut the storyline and press Command-B to create a clip.
  2. If you have a clip selected, you can cut it with the Command-X shortcut.
  3. Change where a clip starts and ends with Option- [ to have the clip start on the skimmer or playhead and Option-] to have the clip end on the skimmer.


Save time on common actions with these shortcuts:

  1. Launch a new project with Command-N.
  2. Press Option-Command-3 to start uploading a video into Final Cut Pro.
  3. If you need to delete a project, press Delete to remove the selected timeline or clip. You can also send this content to the Finder Trash with Command-Delete.
  4. Launch the rendering tool with Control-Shift-R.

Playback and Navigation

Control playback and more with these Final Pro shortcuts:

  1. The Space bar acts as a play and pause button for the playback. If you want to play a selected clip without watching the entire timeline, press /.
  2. You can also use L and J to play the project forward or backward.
  3. Skip to a specific pause by using = and entering a timecode value. If you want to watch an earlier point in the timeline, enter – followed by a negative timecode value.
  4. The Record Voiceover is a must-have feature when creating educational content. Launch voiceover recording once you have selected a clip with Option-Shift-A.
  5. The Up and Down arrows are convenient shortcuts for navigating from one clip or editing points to the next.


Adding markers helps you keep track of important frames when working on a project. You can also use them to create chapters or sync clips.

Here are a few helpful shortcuts for managing markers:

  1. Create a new marker by placing the skimmer or playhead on the desired frame and pressing M. Control-M will delete the selected marker.
  2. Skip to the next marker with Control-‘.
  3. Use Control-1 through Control-9 to associate a keyboard tag with different markers.
  4. Once you create subroles, you can use markers to create a clip and apply Dialogue, Effects, Music, Title, and Video roles to the selection with Control-Option followed by D, E, M, T, and V, respectively.


The timeline allows you to create a video by dragging and dropping clips in the desired order. These shortcuts will come in handy when interacting with the timeline feature:

  1. Navigate to the next or previous frame in the timeline with the right and left arrows.
  2. Use Command-right arrow or Command-left arrow to select the next or previous clip in the timeline.
  3. You can see a previous version of the timeline with [. Move to the next version with ].
  4. Press Command-+ or Command—to zoom in and out of the timeline.
  5. You can change how the timeline displays filmstrips and waveforms with Control-Option-1 through 4.
  6. Shift-1 will enable audio/video mode. Once you activate it, use Shift-2 to edit the audio only and Shift-3 to work on the video separately from the audio.


These optimization shortcuts will come in handy when rendering your project before publishing it:

  1. Launch rendering for the entire project with Control-Shift-R.
  2. You can render the selected clip only with Control-R.
  3. Use Command-, to launch the Preferences window. You can turn off background render from this window or select the GPU you want to use to render your project.

Color Coding

Final Cut Pro assigns roles and subroles to the different video and audio elements you use for a project. You can use the default roles or create customized roles for each library.

You can use Shift-Command-W to open the timeline index and click on Roles. This functionality will open the role editor, where you can assign a color to each role.

This feature makes it easy to see all the elements in the same category at a glance.

Other Cool Shortcuts

There are a few additional shortcuts that should come in handy:

  1. You can use Command-1 through 8 to move to the different parts of the interface, including the browser, timeline, viewer, and more.
  2. Once you’re in the Color Board, press Command-C, E, and S to switch between color, exposure, and saturation.
  3. You can use Option-Command-M to match the color profiles between two clips.
  4. Use Shift-Space to watch a selected clip in reverse.
  5. You can use L and J to control the playback, but did you know that you can adjust the playback speed by pressing L and J multiple times?
  6. Final Cut Pro comes with a 360° viewer feature. You can control it with Control-Option-Command followed by [,], up arrow, down arrow, right arrow, or left arrow.

If you want more shortcuts, open Commands and Customize to create your own shortcuts.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of coursemethod.com. After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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