Positioning Text in Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the June, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Jennifer, from Needlegarden, writes:

I’m emailing because though I consider myself an experienced Final Cut user, and have tackled many difficult issues, one thing keeps bugging me — when I use text generator to create a title, sometimes the text runs off the right side of the frame and is cut off. Especially if I justify left. I would think that by moving the frame around in the motion tab I would be able to place it properly, but it still shows up cut off — see image attached.


The title is supposed to say “Former Prospect Plaza Resident” but gets cut off and there’s nothing I’ve found that can fix that except centering it and making two separate titles and placing them independently. Just a little thorn in my side.


Any thoughts here?

Larry replies: Thanks for writing, Jenn.

When you Left justify text, the bottom left corner of the first letter becomes the 0 point for positioning. When you center text, the 0 point is the center of all the text.

In other words, the point of positioning moves as you change justification.

The Motion tab moves the FRAME that contains the text. The Controls tab moves the text WITHIN the frame. Adjusting text position in the Motion tab won’t reveal characters that are outside the frame itself.

A MUCH better way to adjust this is using the Origin settings in the Controls tab. This allows you to position all your text, without moving the frame that contains the text.


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9 Responses to Positioning Text in Final Cut Pro

  1. Ivy Oldford says:


  2. Noka says:

    Hi There~

    I am having this same issue in Final Cut Pro X, however, don’t know where the “Controls Tab” is. Could you advise a step by step solution in this FCPX? (i.e. where the controls tab is so I can adjust the Origins settings as you suggest).

    Thank you!

  3. MrSmith says:

    This article does not cover FCPX! I had the same problem. Simple solution, double click on the TEXT in the viewer and a little blob will appear, you drag this the position the text within the frame. See here for video demonstrating http://reels.creativecow.net/film/fcpxtitle

  4. yourbudd says:

    Thanks a MILLION!

  5. Adam Pelling-Deeves says:

    Hi, The problem I’m having is how to be pixel specific about where the title is positioned. I’ve dragged the text within the frame but now I want to know the XY position to apply the same position to other titles. Do you know if these numbers can be found in FCX?

    • Josh says:

      Ha, the answer is it can’t be found in FCPX, even in the most recent update. The “origin” parameter doesn’t appear anywhere in the inspector, though you can adjust it manually by double clicking and moving it visually wth your mouse. This is a huge oversight. I was just asking about this in the FCPX help forums and had to use a workaround using Motion. I can’t believe they still haven’t fixed this years later.

      If you happen to see this, here’s the workaround some helpful folks on the Apple forums gave:

  6. Jonathan Hopwood says:


    Every time I insert text into my frame, the automatic suggestion/snap to centre is off?

    Is there anyway I can give FCPX a shake to it actually remembers what centre is??

    Thanks in advance.

    • Larry says:


      Positioning of text in Final Cut, if I understand your question, will be based on it’s position in the template. If the template is off-center, the text appearing in the FCP X Viewer will be off-center.

      Open the template you are using in Motion and make sure that the text is centered to your liking.


      P.S. Sorry for the American spelling of centre.

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