FCP X: Delete/Add Custom Templates

Posted on by Larry

The effects engine behind Final Cut Pro X is Motion. Motion allows us to create custom effects, generators, transitions and titles.

While I don’t, generally, use Motion to create custom effects, I do use it a lot to create custom titles. Which is great until I need to delete them – or move them to a different computer.

Explaining how to do this is what this Final Cut Pro X training article is about.

When you first create a project in Motion, this opening screen asks you to choose the type of Motion project to create. This choice does two things, one obvious and one hidden.

The obvious is to configure Motion. However, under the hood, this also tells Motion to ask for Theme and Category information during the save, store the file in a specific place, and notify Final Cut Pro X that a new effect exists.

NOTE: To learn how to create Motion projects for Final Cut Pro X, check out this video training.

When you save your Motion project, you are prompted to add Themes and Categories so that Final Cut can organize your effects properly. Adding a Theme or Category creates special folders within which your effects projects are stored. What this means is that it is very easy to find, move, or delete any of your custom Motion projects.

For instance, here in the Titles Browser for Final Cut Pro X, are two custom title effects that I created. Both are in a Theme called “Larry” and a Category called “Webinars” — “Courtesy” and “Note.” (I use both of these in editing my weekly webinars to provide on-screen comments.)


All custom Motion projects that need to be accessed by FCP X are stored in the Home directory of the computer that created them.

To open the Home Directory, either choose Home from the Go menu, or, my preference, is to type Shift+Command+H.

The Home directory opens.

Locate the Movies folder and open it. Inside is a folder called “Motion Templates.”

Inside it, open Motion Templates. Inside it are folders for each of the Motion templates: Compositions, Effects, Generators, Titles, and Transitions.

Open the Titles folder. Inside that you’ll see a folder for each Theme (“Larry”). Inside that is a folder for each Category (“Webinars”). Inside that is a folder for each title.

Inside each title folder are all the elements needed for each effect. I strongly recommend not touching anything inside this project folder.


To delete a custom effect, first Quit Final Cut. This is essential, because otherwise FCP X will get confused and, potentially, unstable.

Then, drag the effect folder you don’t want to the Trash.

When you restart Final Cut, it will only look inside the Movies folder for effects. Anything stored in the Trash will be ignored.

NOTE: You can also use this technique to temporarily remove a custom effect. Simply move the effects folder out of the Movies folder and store it somewhere else. When you need the effect again, drag it back into its original location in the Movies folder. (Remember to always quit FCP X before moving any folders.)


Just as with deleting an effect, when sharing effects between computers, be sure to first quit Final Cut Pro X to prevent any problems.

To copy effects that you created from one computer to another, drag the folder with the effect you want from your Movies folder to the Movies folder of the computer.

NOTE: If you plan to email the effect, be sure to compress (ZIP) it first.

When you restart Final Cut, it automatically finds any effects stored in the Movies folder.


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30 Responses to FCP X: Delete/Add Custom Templates

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  1. Manu says:

    Hi Larry

    Thanks again for this article.

    I am using FCPX with different users on the same Mac. Do you know if there is a possibility, when creating the custom effect, to have it directly available for all users?

    Thanks a lot!!

  2. Roger Market says:

    What about using the shared folder? Every user should have access to that.

    Anyway, great tutorial! Very clear and easy to read.

  3. mitch says:

    Hi! i dont know how to open a downloaded title on fcpX. i put it in the motions folder > title folder but when i open fcp, its a red screen with an exlacamation mark.. i seem to be not getting something right. my motions folder do not have categories, they are just blank folders (generators, titles, effects, transitions etc). the way i do it is i just drag the downloads and put them in there.. some work, some get that yellow exclamation mark. the exclamation marks turn up in my titles and generators only. the effects and the transitions download work. how do i fix this?

  4. Mikki says:

    I’m using 10.1, and while in the Titles bin, I saved a “format attribute” using the drop-down menu in the text information window. Now I want to delete that attribute, not just from a particular title but from appearing whenever I use the titles drop-down menu. This wasn’t in Motion, just the regular Titles in FCP. Is there any way to do it? Thanks, Larry!

    • Larry Jordan says:



      Text styles created in FCP X and saved to the Format menu of the Inspector (as opposed to the Titles Browser) are stored in:

      [ Home Directory ] > Library > Application Support > Motion > Library > Text Styles


      • Mikki says:

        I trashed both the .png and the .molo so that should do the trick. Thank you!

      • HOR says:

        Hi Larry:

        I’m facing the same issue, too.

        I need to remove a title effect that i not longer using. Can i know where the 3rd party title is located? (It’s not at movie – motion templates)

        I’m using FCP X 10.4.4.


        • Larry says:


          These can be stored in a number of potential places, most of which are in your Home Directory > Movies > Motion Templates > Effects.

          If it isn’t there, my suggestion is to contact the developer of the plug-in and ask them where they put it.


  5. Adam Hagen says:

    I have created some custom effects, titles and generators in Motion and I would like to organise them now and issue a theme. Is there any way to apply a them to something after the fact?

    • LarryJ says:


      Yes. Themes are simply folders that are stored in [Home Directory ] > Movies > Motion Templates.

      So, first quit Final Cut Pro X.

      Then, create a folder named after the Theme you want to use and store it in each of the folders where you want that Theme to appear:
      • Effects
      • Generators
      • Titles
      • Transitions

      Next, drag your custom Motion projects into the appropriate Theme folder.

      The next time you start FCP X, your new Themes and effects should appear.


      • Todd Bradley says:

        I’ve got a related question, but about effects purchased from a vendor instead of created in Motion. I recently bought a “Theme” from a well known company that specializes in FCP X plugins of various kinds. After installing it, I found that there were new Effects, Generators, Titles, and Transitions, but for some reason these weren’t all collected into a Theme in the Themes Browser. So I read the advice above about making a new sub-folder with a theme name, which I did, and dragged the effects, etc. into these new sub-folders. But after restarting FCP X, still nothing new appears in the Themes Browser.

        So, is there a way to make this work for 3rd party effects? I contacted the vendor about it, and their only response was basically “Use these things through the Effects, Generators, Titles, and Transitions interface instead.” But I like the idea of grouping all these together, since the company created them all to work together.

  6. Tom says:


    when I went Movies > Motion Templates there is nothing there, no folders lilke transitions etc. What should I do?


    • LarryJ says:


      That location is only for templates that you create in Motion for FCP X. Apple stores its templates in a different location to prevent them from being accidentally erased.


      • Terry says:

        I am working on a TV show with 2 other editors, each of us have our own workstation. We move Projects between the workstations periodically. We have created a Motion template title that we all have and use. They work perfectly, as expected. Today we ran into a problem when we moved a project to my computer. All the video relinked, but the custom motion title templates remained unlinked, even though the Motion template is present on my computer.

        I thought, if I moved our custom templates to where Apple stores the pre-installed templates I might have success.

        Or is there another solution?

        • Larry says:


          Custom Motion templates need to be stored in the [Home Directory] > Movies > Motion Templates folder. All templates need to be stored in the same location within that folder (generally in a folder named after the Browser in which they appear in FCP X) and with the same name on all computers.


  7. John Prudent says:

    Hi Larry,
    I saw a portion of this article which talks about sharing a custom Motion effect between computers for FCP X(which involved going in and actually locating the folder where the effects are stored- this I was able to figure out on my own).
    But for my particular situation, I created a custom lower third in Motion to be used in a tv/web show for the public access station I work at. We have multiple computers (with FCP X) that are linked to a central storage server. My question is, if I were to put my custom lower third on that server, is it possible to access and use it from any computer in the building that’s linked to the server (so that other people don’t have to go through all folder-finding that is involved in the usual method)?
    Hopefully my question made sense. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Larry says:


      No. Templates must be stored locally in the folder that FCP X expects. However, once they are installed, they can be accessed by anyone using the computer.


  8. dian says:

    Hi Larry,
    i want to add lower third
    i have copy file folder lower third to dir /Movies/Motion Templates/Titles
    then i start application,but nothing happened there,i cant find something new
    can you give me some suggestion?

    • Larry says:


      Make sure you can open the Motion file contained in that folder in Motion. If you can, and it still doesn’t show up in FCP X, you may need to re-save it as a template file.

      My guess is that there are files missing in the folder itself.


  9. Chris Wanklyn says:

    Hi Larry,

    I made a title in Motion 5 and it showed up in FCPX. I needed to change the size of the title bar but when I did that it will not play in FCPX. It appears in the Titles menu and I can see the preview pic but when I add it to the timeline or scroll across the Preview pic all I see is a red screen with the dotted Title T with a yellow triangle and exclamation mark over it. It won’t render and looks like it has lost the link to the source media. What can I do, I’m up against a deadline.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Larry says:


      How did you reopen the file to make changes in Motion?

      The best way is to right-click on your modified template in FCP X, select Open In Motion, make your changes, then save it. That will preserve all links.


  10. Phil Bossart says:

    I have just downloaded some third party templates and with the new 10.3 version on FCPX when I go to movies > motion templates the folder is empty NO sub folders of titles, effects, generator, nothing empty folder. When I drop the third party templates in there with all the correct formats, they still don’t appear. It seems to be a 10.3 version issue, but can’t find any info on it. Any ideas?

    • Larry says:


      Sounds like the templates have been downloaded but not installed. My suggestion is to contact the developer directly and ask for installation help.


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