FCP X: Change the Interface

Posted on by Larry

logo-FCPXUnlike Final Cut Pro 7, the interface in Final Cut Pro X is not particularly customizable. However, there are several things you can do to modify the interface to fit your working style.

These fall into three groups: Toggles, which turn things on or off; Drags, which allow you to change the size of something by dragging, and Layouts, which change the overall interface display.

[Click to see larger image.]

To get us started, this is the default, single window layout for Final Cut Pro X, with the Browser, Viewer, Inspector and Timeline all visible.


Toggles make different elements of the interface appear or disappear. While some are menu items and others are on-screen buttons, all of these are keyboard shortcuts.

Click this button, in the lower left corner of the Browser, to Show/Hide the Library list. (Shortcut: Shift+ Command + 1)

Control + Command + 1: Show/Hide both the Library List and the Browser. (This is one of my three favorite interface shortcuts.)

Command + 7: Show/Hide video scopes. (This is my second favorite interface shortcut.)

Shift + Z: Changes the display size of whatever is in the Timeline, Viewer or Browser to fit into the window. (This is my third favorite interface shortcut.)

Command + 4: Show/Hide the Inspector

Control + Command + 2: Show/Hide the Timeline Index.

Control + Command + 3: Show/Hide the Event Viewer (this displays whatever you have selected in the Browser.)

Control + Command + F: Displays interface full-screen, hiding the menu bar at the top. To exit full screen mode, press ESC.

Shift + Command + 7: Show multicam angles.

Shift + Command + 8: Show/Hide the audio meters.

Command + 9: Show/Hide the Background Task window

Command + I: Open the Media Import window.


Drag the vertical edge between the Library List and the Browser to change the size of the Library List.

Drag the vertical edge between Browser and the Viewer to change the size of these two windows.

NOTE: You can’t change the size of the Inspector, even if you drag a border.

Drag the horizontal edge at the top of the Toolbar (not the bottom) to increase or decrease the size of the Timeline.

Drag the vertical edge between the Timeline and the audio meters to increase the width of the audio scopes.

Drag the vertical edge between the Timeline Index and the Timeline to change the size of the Timeline Index.


There are three interface layouts, plus an option. All are controlled from the Window menu.

[Click to see larger image.]

This is the default single-window layout. As an option, type Control + Command + F to expand the interface full screen and hide the menu bar at the top. To access the menu bar, roll your mouse into it. To exit full-screen mode, press the ESC key.

If you have a dual computer monitor setup you have two more options. Option 1: choose Window > Show Events on Second Display.

[Click to see larger image.]

This becomes the main monitor interface, shown in Full Screen mode.

[Click to see larger image.]

And this is the second monitor interface.

[Click to see larger image.]

Or, choose Window > Show Viewers on Second Display and this becomes the main monitor interface; again, shown in Full Screen mode.

[Click to see larger image.]

And this becomes the second monitor interface. This screen shot illustrates both the main Viewer (right) and the Event Viewer.

Final Cut will remember your interface settings when you quit and restart FCP X.


If you need to reset Final Cut’s layout back to its default settings, choose Window > Revert to Original Layout.


There are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts in Final Cut that, in some manner, show or hide something. For example, Control + Command + W to show the Waveform Monitor, Command+R to show the Retiming Bar, or Command + [plus/minus] to zoom into or out of something.

However, while these enhance the interface, they don’t really “change” the interface. And illustrating how to change the interface is what this article is all about.

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26 Responses to FCP X: Change the Interface

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  1. Luke says:

    Any idea why changing these settings frequently causes my FCPX to be unable to play clips (hitting space bar/play doesn’t move them forward but I can skim through them). Whenever I revert back to original it plays fine and then I have to go through the laborous task of setting my house up how I like it again.

    Here is my basic set up:

    2 monitors
    Timeline/events on one
    Two viewers on the other monitor screen (event monitor and project monitor)
    I keep my effects thing on the lower right on at all times
    I keep my inspector on at all times
    I don’t have it group clips by anything (doing the date as default is pretty lame).

    I probably have to revert back to original every 2-3 days.

  2. Cassie says:

    Hi I was wondering how you got the export button, text, and any other button to be moved on the bottom right where the effects and transitions are located

    • Larry says:


      End-users like you and me can’t move buttons. However, Apple changed the entire interface between FCP X 10.2 and 10.3. You are seeing the results of that.


  3. Claude says:

    Is there a way to create a shortcut within FCP 10.3 to “show or hide second display view”?

    • Larry says:


      Generally, yes. It depends upon the version. But look in the Window menu for the command to either enable or disable display to the second monitor. This command will have an equivalent in the Command/Shortcuts menu.


  4. Danny Herb says:

    Hi, Larry. How do I view the event viewer in my workspace without it showing up in my second monitor? I want only the viewer in my second monitor, not both.

  5. Shay says:

    How do I change the entire layout or program color. I am not talking about one window inside FCPX, I mean the ENTIRE PROGRAM COLOR! I do not like the black with white text. I want a light color with dark text. Make sense? PLEASE HELP!

  6. Alan Curtis says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for your great information once again.

    Is there any way to change the default font size?

    For example, I am using Tags and when I view all the Tags in the Index window, I’d like that font to be larger.

    Thanks very much,


    • Larry says:


      The only way to make the text bigger is the lower the resolution of your monitor, which you can do in System Preferences > Display.

      This is what I’ve done with my 27″ iMac – changed the resolution from 2500 pixels horizontally to 2,000. This makes all text easier to read.


  7. Peter Snowdon says:

    Hi Larry

    The shortcut toggles are excellent thank you but in my later version I do not have those toggle options appearing at all anywhere on the interface so although the shortcut works fine, I can’t see where I would click on screen for the same result.

    I am sure as always it will be obvious once you have pointed it out!

    On another thread you kindly advised me to reset my preferences to sort out a Keyword display problem – just to let you know it worked straight away – thank you, that’s been a life saver.


  8. Duncan Knowles says:

    In FCPX 10.3.4, is there a way to have both Scopes and Angles on the screen at the same time?

    I haven’t upgraded to the latest FCPX because of your repeated good advice to not do so in the middle of a project.

    Good to be in touch with you again, Larry. Thanks and best wishes, Duncan

  9. Thanks a lot for this!

  10. Sash says:

    Hi Larry, thank you for your tips and classes! Learned alot from you!
    Is there way(when multicaming:)to have angles and timeline on one screen and viewer/output on the second? I cant seem to find it, output wants always to stick with angles :-/
    Thank you again!You’ve been a great resource!

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