FCP X: Keyboard Shortcut Secrets

Posted on by Larry

Logo-FCPX.jpgThere are over 700 menu options in Final Cut Pro X; and hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. However, not every menu choice has a shortcut and not all shortcuts are directly tied to menu choices.

You can easily customize your own keyboard shortcuts and even create separate keyboard shortcuts for different editors on the same system.


To access keyboard shortcuts, choose Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize (shortcut: Option+Cmd+K). This displays the Command Editor.

Your currently-attached keyboard is displayed at the top (in case your image doesn’t match mine).

Click the small keyboard icon in the top right corner to highlight specific keys and key groups.

For instance, to see all the keys used for Effects, click the Effects group in the Command List in the lower right.

To see all keys that use a specific modifier key, click one or more of the modifier text buttons at the top. For example, the color highlights indicate all the keys that use both Command and Option as part of a keyboard shortcut.

To switch between different sets of shortcuts, called a “Command Set,” select it from the pop-up menu in the top left corner.

You can also use this menu to:

NOTE: You can’t delete the default keyboard shortcut set created by Apple.


For example, I want to create a new keyboard shortcut – Cmd + O – to open an existing library. Search for and select the menu option to which you want to add a keyboard shortcut. (Notice, here, that no shortcut is listed to the right of “Open Library.”)

Click the modifier text button at the top corresponding to the shortcut you want to create. For my example, I’ve clicked the Command button.

Keys with color already have a shortcut with Command assigned to them. Gray keys are available for your shortcut. Gray keys with cross-hatching are reserved for either the application or the operating system and can’t be used for your custom shortcut.

Drag the text from the Command list at the bottom center and drop it on the key you want to use for the shortcut. For my example, I dragged Open Library and dropped it on top of the O key.

NOTE: Once you’ve selected the modifier keys, you can also just type the letter you want to assign to the selected menu option.

To see all the shortcuts assigned to a specific key, select the key and look at the Key Detail list in the lower left. These are all the shortcuts assigned to the letter “O.” Notice that our newly-created Open Library shortcut is listed next to the Command symbol. Notice, also, how many key combinations don’t have a shortcut assigned.

To change a modifier key assignment, drag it from where it is to where you want it. And, yes, you can have more than one shortcut assigned to the same menu option. (As I was writing this, I created six different keyboard shortcuts for the same function.)

Once you’ve created all the keyboard shortcuts you want, click the Save button in the lower right corner. Until you’ve saved your shortcuts, they don’t exist.


All this is very cool, except, you can’t delete a keyboard shortcut once you’ve created it without first saving the Command Set.

So, if you’ve created a keyboard shortcut that you don’t like, click Close. This closes the Command Editor without saving your errors. (It also means that you didn’t save any other keyboard shortcuts that you may have created during the time the Command Editor was open.)

If you’ve created a keyboard shortcut and saved the Command Set, reopen the Command Editor, highlight the shortcut you want to remove and press the Delete key. You use this same procedure to delete any custom keyboard shortcut after the Command Set is saved.


Here are a baker’s dozen keyboard shortcuts that you may not know:

Control + [ comma / period ]: Move the marker your playhead is in one frame left or right.

Shift + Control + T: Adds a Basic Lower-third Title

C: Selects whatever clip the playhead/skimmer is in.

Cmd+9: Display the Background Tasks window

Cmd+G: Create a connected Storyline (I use this one a LOT)

Shift + X: Extend the selected edit point to the playhead/skimmer

Shift + I / O: Move playhead to start/end of the selected Range

Option + W: Inserts a gap clip into the Primary Storyline

Option + Cmd + N: Create a new Smart Collection

Option + Cmd + Down Arrow: Overwrite the selected connected clip into the Primary Storyline

Option + Cmd + Up Arrow: Lift the selected Primary Storyline clip and make it a connected clip.

Control + [ plus / minus ]: Raise or lower the volume of all selected clips by 1 dB. (This is another one I use a lot.)

Option + ; / : Move playhead to previous or next keyframe.

There are many others you can discover as you explore the Command Editor.


Here’s a selected list of keyboard shortcuts you can create, that don’t currently exist. (Search on one or more words in the name to find it in the Command Editor.)

There are many others that you can find and create by browsing the Command Editor the next time you are between projects. And every time you use a keyboard shortcut, you are editing faster.

Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to FCP X: Keyboard Shortcut Secrets

  1. Justin Hall says:

    Thanks for the consistent quality knowledge sharing Larry.

    Today I wanted a keyboard shortcut for the excellent new Draw Mask tool in 10.2. Looking through this documentation, I can’t figure out a way to apply an effect from a keyboard shortcut in FCPx. Can you? Unless maybe using Applescript/Automator or something, but that sounds awkward.

    • Larry says:


      Nope, individual effects can’t be assigned to a keyboard shortcut. And I don’t think FCP X is Automator-aware to that degree.


  2. Scott Stevenson says:

    Any way of creating keyboard shortcuts for toggling between reading original and proxy media? I seem to spend about half my day reaching across two screens for that…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.