FCP X: A Faster Way to Trim

Posted on by Larry

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time….

Looking for a faster way to trim clips in Final Cut Pro X? Here are three keyboard shortcuts that will make your editing MUCH faster!



Position the skimmer at the point of the trim.

To trim from the beginning of a clip to the position of the skimmer, type Option+[

To trim from the end of a clip to the position of the skimmer, type Option+]

This trim is blindingly quick – position the skimmer, press the keys, done. No razor blade. No removing clips. Simple. And the magnetic timeline automatically removes the gap.



If the skimmer drives you nuts in the Timeline, this trick works equally well, if not quite as fast. The keyboard shortcuts are the same.

Position the playhead at the point of the trim.

To trim from the beginning of a clip to the position of the playhead, type Option+[

To trim from the end of a clip to the position of the playhead, type Option+]

If the skimmer is active and in the Timeline, the skimmer determines the point of the trim. If the skimmer is not active, or not in the Timeline, the playhead determines the point of the trim.



Whether skimming is turned on or off makes no difference for this next tip.

To trim to a selection, use the Range tool (R) to select a range within A clip, or across MULTIPLE clips on the same layer, and press Option+

The cool thing about this tip is that you can select more than one clip on the same layer and trim them all at once.

Notice that these three shortcuts work with three keys that are grouped together on the keyboard: []

NOTE: You can also access these three options from the Edit menu, but that isn’t nearly as much fun.

Very cool.

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11 Responses to FCP X: A Faster Way to Trim

  1. Rob says:

    Is there a keyboard shortcut in FCPX that allows one to “cut at playhead/skimmer” rather than having to switch to the blade tool and then back to the “A” button? this would seriously speed my editing… unless there is something I am missing…

    • Dawar says:

      Did you know that you can keep pressing “B” button to temporarily get the blade tool (or another one).
      When you release “B”, you automatically get back to selection tool (or previous tool).

      Otherwise you can blade without selecting a tool with keystroke “cmd+B” . Select one or several clips to cut this or these clips at playhead position.

  2. Rob says:

    Excellent Dawar, just what I was looking for!
    I have reassigned B / CMD+B so that B just cuts at the playhead & CMD+B brings out the Blade Tool!
    Thanks very much!

  3. Marc says:

    The default key bindings use cmd+B to cut at the skimmer or playhead position.

  4. Chris Hsiung says:

    Hi. I’m finally starting to learn to do edits with the keyboard and not the mouse on FCP X. I’ve figured out how to navigate from edit point to edit point, select the left edge [ or right edge ] and then nudge it left or right. How do I select in-between two clips so I can do a slip edit (nudge the middle back and forth)?

  5. Eva12 says:

    When you’re not 100 per cent sure on what clips you want to keep in your primary storyline is it better to trim ratherthan delete the parts of a clip to stop it being deleted from the library? I do a lot of work by trial and error. Put it in the primary storyline then later decide no…this clip could be shorter. I’m putting off editing because Ive come from Avid where it doesnt matter what you delete on the primary storyline- it will still be there in your library. Yet, I foud that deleting in the primary storyline on fcp x means I delete the meia from the library and consequently have to re ingest my footage from my tape. Can anyone advise me?

    • Larry Jordan says:


      This is not normal behavior. Except for clips that you drag directly from the Finder onto the Timeline, all clips are always stored in the Event Browser, regardless of whether they are edited into the Timeline or not.

      Deleting a clip from the Timeline does not delete it from the Event Browser. Many editors are indecisive and keep trimming clips until they find the cut they like. However, you should not worry that changing your mind in the Timeline deletes clips from the Browser.


  6. Michael says:

    Great trick with Option+ [ but doesen’t work on a german keyboard layout 🙁
    So, what is the german translation for this feature to assignnthe shortcut?

    Thanks, Michael

  7. jivan says:

    Good trick, just what I was looking for! last 2 years

    Thanks very much!

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