FCP X: Secrets and Tips

Posted on by Larry

[ These tips first appeared in my book: Final Cut Pro X: Making The Transition. ]

There are a ton of cool tips that aren’t complex enough to require an entire article, yet so helpful that they can’t be ignored. I’ve gathered some  interesting ones into this article. (By the way, if you have a favorite secret or shortcut, add it to the comments at the end of this article.)

These tips are in no particular order.



Since it’s initial release, Apple changed several keyboard shortcuts as it updated the software. For example, when editing:

For Scopes


Ever wonder what the orange stripe means on a clip in the Import from Camera window? It means you’ve already imported that portion of the shot. If you want to hide all the media you’ve already imported, check the “Hide Imported Clips” checkbox at the bottom of the window.


Wondering what all the stripes mean at the top of clips in the Event Browser? Wonder no longer:


A fast way to rename a keyword is to select it in the Event Library and enter the new name.

A fast way to apply an existing keyword to multiple clips is to select all the clips you want to apply the keyword to and drag them on top of the keyword in the Event Library. This also adds those clips to that Keyword Collection.


You are creating a musical montage and want to create clip durations to match the beat of the music. Piece of cake. Set the In for a clip in the Event Browser, or simply select a clip in the Timeline.

Type Control+D. This turns the timecode display in the toolbar into a duration calculator. Enter the duration you want – you don’t need to use punctuation – and press Enter. The Out of the selected clip is automatically adjusted to match the duration you just entered.


You know the standard keyboard shortcuts:

But there are several more you may not know about:


If you select a Timeline clip and press Shift+Delete, or press the DEL key, the selected clip will be replaced with a gap with the same duration as the clip you selected. This is principally used for clips in the Primary Storyline.


In Final Cut Pro X, clips are replaced from either the start or the end of a clip.


By default, the connection for a clip is placed at the beginning. However, if the connected clip actually relates to a different clip, moving the connection is a good idea.

Hold Option+Command and click the connected clip, or the dark-gray bar of a connected storyline, to reposition the connection at the point where you click.


By default, Auditions contain whole clips. They don’t recognize the Start or End of a clip. However, there’s a workaround.

In the Event Browser, select the region you want to use in the Audition for each clip and mark it as a Favorite. Then, display only Favorites in the All Clips menu. When you build the Audition, only the Favorite sections will be displayed.


These are just a sampling of the cool shortcuts inside Final Cut Pro X. Share your favorites in the comments section below.


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16 Responses to FCP X: Secrets and Tips

  1. Oren says:

    These are some cool ones. I really love the replace shortcuts and use them a lot.

    Quick question for anyone out there about pasting just audio or just video. Is there any way to bring the missing audio or video back later without using a match frame workaround? I don’t use this function because I haven’t been able to figure that out. I prefer to just mute audio tracks.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      Match Frame is specifically designed for this. Put your playhead in the Timeline clip you want to match.

      Select the clip.

      Type Shift+F – the source clip in the Event Browser is highlighted, matching the In, Out, and position of the Playhead.

      Set your Audio/Video settings (Shift 1, 2, or 3) the way you want and press D to Overwrite the Timeline clip with the Event Browser clip.

      It takes longer to read this than to do it.


  2. Bruce macbryde says:


    I use your option to match frame, but find it destroys any effects or changes that were made in the clip before it is replaced. Is there any way to retain effects previously made in the timeline clip?

  3. Walter Ellis says:

    Hi Larry,
    not sure where to post this tip, but I recently discovered something that helped me HUGELY with exporting times in h.264.

    I had the issue that after sending the project straight to Compressor to render, it would start rendering and for literally hours just keep adding to the estimated finishing time. Then I found this write-up:


    I thought it strange that the (free) Handbrake would come out above Compressor, especially after having paid 50 bucks for Compressor. As it turns out, exporting straight from FCP X to ProRes422, completely avoiding Compressor, and then converting that ProRes file to h.264 in Handbrake (free), is WAY WAY WAY faster!

    Actually I can’t say “faster”, but rather “possible”, because I’ve never allowed Compressor to keep going for longer than about 6 or 7 hours on a 16 minute full HD clip.

    The same clip took 14 minutes from FCP X to ProRes422 and about 45 mins to convert to h.264 without changing resolution. I was looking into h.264 compression cards and what not, now I am happily putting full HD clips onto YouTube.

  4. Dylan Jones says:

    Hi Larry,
    I only seriously started working with FCP X last week after having been an afficionado of its predecessors for years and quickly needed help to get working fast. Your site and articles are of immense support. Thank you.

  5. Alex Jones says:

    Hi Larry! This is Alex Jones a former student of yours at video symphony. I hope all is well. I have a question that bothers the heck out of me. I’m cutting a show in fcpx ATM and I hate to say it but I really don’t like that I can’t ripple or roll drag audio in frames! I depend on frames with audio for beats and fades Esspecially when I am doing a seamless cross fade between 2 songs that sound alike. I feel like I have too much to deal with when I’m only alowd to use sub frames and its very difficult to get a good seamless change in music with out me feeling like the audience could point it out. Is it possible to turn sub frames off and on only when I need it or is there a command drag “ish” function to get my audio frames back? NO sub frames eek!

    P.s.- I’d like to drag instead of use the keyboard if possible. Thanks!

  6. Jim Nayzium says:

    How do I tell the EVENT browser to stop showing the waveforms in clips. Every time I click a multicam clip that is 90 minutes long to simply copy one thing from it – it takes forever to display the clip in the event browser.

  7. Troy says:

    I have multiple timeline layered on top of each other. How can I turn off individual timeline video (prevent them from being seen) so I can work on the effects of an underlying video clip and turn it back on?

  8. Romaro says:

    “Orange marks the spot”
    After importing a couple of clips and testing, i deleted the event and project.
    However FCP does seem to remember these previous imports.
    Is there a way to clear or reset the previously imported clips? How?

    Every time i select these clips now in the import window, the line appears

    • Romaro says:

      (i ended up editing / removing the key/dict from libray/preferences/fcp-prefs for imported clips)

  9. sethjake says:

    Question: I’m trying to figure out how to move my fcpx plugins from one system to another. Is there a way to do this?


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