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Premiere Pro Shortcuts

Daniel Scott


Just as Illustrator and Photoshop have become standard applications for creatives all over the world, Premiere Pro is now the first choice for many students, content creators, filmmakers, and videographers.

This post is based on my Premiere Pro Essentials and Advanced Course, now updated with Merit Certificates. Make sure to sign up and tag along with thousands of your fellow creative students.

When you become a BYOL member, you gain access to this course as well as my 30+ additional courses on Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Webflow, and more. As a BYOL member you will also enjoy personalized support, earn certificates, and tackle exciting community challenges. Head here to sign-up!

Shortcuts and Keyboards

If you are new to shortcuts, they are basically key combinations pressed together to perform an action in a software, saving you from rummaging through endless menus and keeping your hands as steady as possible while avoiding jumping back and forth between keyboard and mouse.

command and control keys for basic keyboard shortcuts

This is the root combination for keyboard shortcuts.

Common examples of keyboard shortcuts are the Notorious CVP. Pressing and holding Command on a Mac or Control on a PC you can then press C to Copy an information, V to Paste that information, and P to send it to Print.

One other thing that you must know before we move on is that keyboards come in different languages and may have different character layouts, so certain symbols and letters are placed differently across the keys. This may impact on the shortcuts that we’ll be exploring next, but don’t worry, I’ll add a sweet bonus tip for you at the end of this post.

So, on with the show!

Keyboard Shortcuts in Premiere Pro

Keep in mind that there are dozens and dozens of shortcuts inside Premiere Pro, specific to Projects and Files, Timeline, Editing, Effects, Audio, Graphics, and many other features. You won’t know them all by heart but know that depending on how you use the software, there is an awesome group of shortcuts to help you along the way.

In this post, we’ll be focusing mostly on workspace and basic editing so we can jump into our cutting rooms as soon as possible.

  1. Workspace Navigation Shortcuts

These allow us to keep our hands on our keyboards while jumping between workspace windows.

main editing and previewing windows highlighted in Premiere Pro

These are the main windows inside Premiere Pro and where most of the awesome editing action takes place.

We can press and hold SHIFT on both Mac and PC followed by the following numbers (if your keyboard doesn’t have a numeric keypad, use the numbers above the text keys) to navigate through the different windows and panels:

  • Shift + 1Project Panel

  • Shift + 2Source Monitor

  • Shift + 3Timeline

  • Shift + 4Program Monitor

  • Shift + 5Effects Controls (inside the Source Monitor)

  • Shift + 6Audio Track Mixer (inside the Source Monitor)

  • Shift + 7Effects (inside the Project Panel)

  • Shift + 8Media Browser (inside the Project Panel)

tool panels inside the project panel in Premiere Pro

Inside the top windows, you can find additional panels with further tools and editing features.

To maximize and restore Windows and Panels you can double-click the window or panel name or hit the Tilde key while hovering the mouse cursor over the one you need to have a better view.

We won’t be looking at what’s inside all these panels at this time, so keep your heads up for future blog posts on Premiere Pro and sign up for BYOL to access my course Premiere Pro Essentials where I teach you about these panels.

  1. Import Shortcuts

The first step to video editing is importing our raw material, or footage, into Premiere Pro. These are the clips that will be cut and assembled in our Timeline.

These shortcuts are quite simple and will speed up our clip importing process:

  • Double click any empty space in your Project Window and pick the clips we need from our preferred location.

double-click instruction inside the project panel

You can import clips by double clicking any empty area inside the Project Panel.

  • Command + I on a Mac or Control + I on a PC – opens the Import Window with our footage locations.

  • We can also select and drag our clips into Premiere Pro directly from Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer if we’re using a PC.

apple ios finder and footage clips ready for in import Premiere Pro

You can also drag your footage directly from Finder or Windows Explorer by dragging the clips into Premiere Pro.

 3. Previewing Shortcuts

Let’s keep our eyes on our Program Window and check out these cool shortcuts, perfect for those hack n’ slash editing moments, when most of our work ends up on the cutting room floor.

parkour video on program monitor and highlighted playback and editing buttons

You can use the Program Monitor to preview your editing work by using quick shortcuts.

  • SpacePlay and Stop (toggle) our sequence preview on the Program Window.

  • J – Play Backwards

  • JJ – Fast Reverse

  • K – Pause

  • L – Play Forwards

  • LL – Fast Forward

  • Left Key – Moves sequence preview 1 frame forward.

  • Right Key – Moves sequence preview 1 frame backwards.

  • Shift + Left – Moves sequence preview 5 frames forward.

  • Shift + Right – Moves sequence preview 5 frames backwards.

  • Timeline View Shortcuts

All of our video and audio clips will be edited in the Timeline, as will our graphics, animations, transitions, captions, and other awesome elements you will add to your project. These are some handy shortcuts to properly navigate through them and speed up your editing odyssey.

timeline panel highlighted in Premiere Pro

This is the Timeline, where everything happens and where your epic videos will grow in shape and power.

Key Tip: Keep an eyes on your Premiere Pro BFF: the Current Time Indicator (CTI)’s line and Playhead. The CTI is accurate to the frame and will be our absolute reference while editing our videos. Pretty much everything works with and around it.

current time indicator and playhead highlighted in Premiere Pro

This is the Current Time Indicator and its Playhead. These are your main guides for your editing work.

  • Backslash – snaps everything in the timeline into view.

  • Navigate forward across Timeline – Mouse scroll wheel up.

  • Navigate backwards across Timeline – Mouse scroll wheel down.

  • Zoom inOption on a Mac and Alt on a PC + Mouse Scroll Wheel Up

  • Zoom out - Option on a Mac and Alt on a PC + Mouse Scroll Wheel Down

  • Left Key – Moves the CTI one frame backwards.

  • Right Key – Moves the CTI one frame forward.

  • Up key – Moves the CTI to the previous stop between clips.

  • Down key – Moves the CTI to the next stop between clips.

timeline zoomed in with video and audio details in premiere pro

You can zoom into your Timeline to work with higher precision and apply surgical level editing.

Timeout #1

If you’re looking to improve your editing skills, be sure to check outthis awesome article on How to Edit Videos, with some cool steps and tips.

  1. Editing Shortcuts

Let’s dive into editing. We’ll start by “feeding” the timeline with new footage and then proceed to the running with scissors fun!

5.1.  Adding clips to Timeline

  • We click and drag to bring our footage clips from the Project Window to the Timeline. Easy! Be careful as you do this, because if we click and drag one clip over another, Premiere Pro will overwrite the first at the point where you place the new one.

  • To insert a clip between any other two in the timeline, we hold Command on a Mac or Control on a PC and click and drag it into its place.

  • To see other clip placing options at once, we can simply click and drag our clip from the Project Window to the Program Window and choose the fittest for your edit.

clip placement options from the program monitor in premiere pro

Dragging a clip into the Program Monitor will open a set of possible placement actions in your sequence.

  • Insert – places a new clip at the CTI Playhead’s position. If the Playhead is set over an existing clip, it will be cut at that point.

  • Insert Before – places the new clip at the first stop behind the Playhead’s position.

  • Insert After – places the new clip at the first stop ahead of the Playhead’s position.

  • Overlay – places the new clip over the Playhead’s position, but on separate tracks.

  • Replace – fully replaces the clip set at the Playhead’s position with the new one.

  • Overwrite – places the new clip at the Playhead’s position, cutting and overwriting the existing one from that point.

  • Finally, to reorder our clips, we can hold Command on a Mac or Control on a PC and drag them left or right across the Timeline. This will move the clip and delete any gap left behind.

changing clip order across timeline in premiere pro

You can change clip order by pressing and holding Command or Control and dragging them around in the timeline.

5.2.  Selection Tools

These have that Adobe feel, if you have already used other tools like Photoshop or Illustrator.

selection tools highlighted in the timeline panel in premiere pro

You can find selection tools on the menu set at the left of the Timeline panel.

  • VSelection tool – click to select a single clip or transition from the timeline.

  • Hold Shift with Selection tool active – click to select multiple clips, clicking on each required clip.

  • Hold Option on a Mac or Alt on a PC with Selection tool active – click and select only the video or audio track of a clip. 

  • A – Track Select Forward tool – click to select all the clips ahead of where the mouse cursor is placed.

  • Shift + A – Track Select Backward - click to select all the clips behind where the mouse cursor is placed.

5.3.  Cutting Tools

Now we start shaping our Sequence like a Pro!

highlighted cutting tools in the timeline panel in premiere pro

These are basic cutting tools you can use on your timeline sequence.

  • BRipple Edit tool – allows us to adjust the start and end points of a clip without cutting the video and audio contents.

  • CRazor tool – this is probably the most used tool from the box, and it literally makes a cut in a video, creating a new clip after each cut.

  • If you, like me, prefer shortcuts, this is gold: you can use Command+ K on a Mac or Control+ K on a PC to perform the Razor cut on your clips at the CTI position.

razor cutting of a clip in premiere pro

You can Razor cut a clip with the use of the quick shortcut Command or Control + K. Look at that!

These next few are incredible timesaving cutting shortcuts:

  • Q – Cuts and removes a clip’s content set behind the CTI.

  • W – Cuts and removes a clip’s content set after the CTI.

cutting a clip with the q shortcut key in premiere pro

By using the shortcut Q key you can clip the clip content placed behind the current time indicator.

5.4.  Transition Shortcuts

  • To set a default video transition, we place our CTI between two clips on our Timeline and hit Command + D on a Mac or Control + D on a PC. That simple, huh?

default transition connecting clips in premiere pro

We can add a default transition between clips by using the shortcut Command or Control + D.

  • If we’re joining together a couple of different audio clips, all we need to do is place the CTI between them and smash Shift + Command + D on a Mac or Shift + Control + D on a PC. Done!

Bonus tip 

As I mentioned earlier, keyboard shortcuts may change if you're using a Mac or PC, running different operating systems, or typing on a keyboard with different languages or layouts.

To help us with our shortcuts, Premiere Pro has an awesome feature that you can find using the (ha!) shortcut Command + Option + K on a Mac or Control + Alt + K on a PC or under Edit/Keyboard Shortcuts… from your top menu bar.

keyboard graphical user interface in premiere pro

Premiere Pro helps users with shortcut keys by presenting all of them classified and organized with a GUI.

It’s the Keyboard GUI (or Graphical User Interface), that displays all the available shortcuts, allows us to customize our own shortcuts and its even color coded for an easier understanding.

Check it out! It’s worth it.

What’s Next?

Premiere Pro is the ultimate video editing tool and I know you’ll love working with it as much as I do. All these shortcuts can feel a bit overwhelming at the start, but if you stick to them from the beginning, you’ll see that they are absolutely vital to set you up as to become a video editing pro.

When you become a BYOL member, you will gain access to my Premiere Pro courses as well as my 30+ additional courses on Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Figma, Webflow, and more. As a BYOL member you will also enjoy personalized support, earn certificates, and tackle exciting community challenges. Head here to sign-up!

See you in class! – Dan