Transferring Keyboard Layouts to Another Final Cut Pro System

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the January, 2011, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Willian Aleman sent in this procedure.

An additional benefit of using the Custom Keyboard Layouts in FCP is when editors or users, in general, specially freelance editors, have to work in another studio system’s facility where a different set of keyboard layouts have already been placed. It would take time to learn and accommodate to the new system or to recreate our preview keyboard layout.

An alternative quick solution to this situation is to carry a preference Custom Keyboard Layout file and place it in the new FCP’s system, and since we are not replacing the existence Keyboard Layouts in the target system, it is a safe action to make, where other editors can recall their own set of Keyboard layouts during or after the editing in the same studio system facility.

Here is a detailed procedure in how to do it:

  1. In the source system, FCP, go to Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize, save the custom keyboard layout. FCP creates a file with the custom assigned name and automatically adds the extension .fcmap. If there is already a saved file, please skip step 1.
  2. In the Finder, navigate to /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/Keyboard Layouts/ and drag the Custom Keyboard Layout file into the destination mobile device.
  3. Move to the new system and make sure that Final Cut is not running.
  4. NOTE: If you have not created any custom keyboard layouts in the new system, FCP won’t create the folder “Keyboard Layouts.” Since we need this folder to finish the process, just start Final Cut Pro and create a custom keyboard layout in the new system with the same default setting and named, i.e. Default setting. This action will create the needed folder.

  5. Once a keyboard layout folder exists, follow the procedure described in step 2, and drag your custom keyboard layout to the folder “Keyboard Layouts”. [It is essential that you put the file into this exact folder.]
  6. Start, or restart.
  7. In FCP go to Tools > Keyboard Layouts > Load Keyboard Layout and select your custom layout. You are ready to start editing using the same keyboard shortcuts as the first system.


  • Transferring preferences layouts can be applied to any of the custom user data preferences: Track Layouts, Window Layouts, Button Bars, etc.
  • In case of the need to reinstall FCP I always have a back up copy of the entire Final Cut Pro User Data folder in a separate hard disk in the system as well as in a mobile media.
  • Even when I never have any problem transferring this type of preferences to another systems, I always ask for permission to the person in charge of the new facility before I make the transfer.

I hope this can help someone.

Larry replies: Thanks, Willian, for sharing this. This is a great procedure. However, I would urge caution in copying the four main Final Cut Pro system preference files between computers. That tends not to work reliably. Track, Browser, Window, Button, and Keyboard layouts all transfer fine.

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