Copying and Pasting Clips in the Timeline

You can use the Copy, Cut, and Paste commands (or their keyboard equivalents) to arrange clips in a sequence. You can also copy clips by Option-dragging.

Copying Clips by Option-Dragging

Copying by Option-dragging provides a fast, visual way to duplicate a clip in a new location. There is no need to position the playhead.

To copy a clip into another location in the Timeline by dragging
  1. In the Timeline, select a clip item.

  2. Hold down the Option key and drag the clip item to the new location in the Timeline.

You can also make duplicates of sequence clips by dragging them from the Timeline to the Browser. These copies are affiliate clips that include any changes you’ve made to the clips in the sequence.

Modifying Selections and Commands Using the Option Key

When you’re working with clips in the Timeline, you can use the Option key to do one of three things:

  • Hold down the Option key while you select a clip to temporarily turn off linked selection (if it’s on) or turn it on (if it’s off).

  • Hold down the Option key after an item is selected, then drag the item from its original position to make a duplicate of that item.

  • Hold down the Option key after you’ve started dragging a clip and hold it down as you release the mouse button to perform an insert or shuffle edit (depending on where you drag the clip in the Timeline). For more information, see Moving Items Within the Timeline.

Note: If you use the Option key to modify a command and don’t see the results you wanted, you probably held down the Option key too long or at the wrong time.

In some cases, you need to remember to release the Option key once you have achieved the result you want. For example, you may hold down the Option key while dragging a clip to duplicate it. Once you begin dragging the clip, however, Final Cut Pro already intends to duplicate the clip, and now the Option key tells Final Cut Pro to perform an insert edit. If you prefer to do an overwrite edit, you need to release the Option key.

Another situation is when you intend to duplicate a clip by pressing the Option key, but you instead turn off linked selection and only select one clip item. To avoid this, you need to select the clip first, release the mouse button, and then press the Option key before dragging it to duplicate it.

Copying, Cutting, and Pasting Clips in the Timeline

When you copy and paste clip items from tracks in the Timeline, Final Cut Pro pastes those clip items into the same tracks they were copied from unless you specify different tracks with Auto Select controls. If no Auto Select controls are selected between the time you copy and paste the clip items, the items are placed on the same tracks from which they were copied.

To copy (or cut) and paste clip items within the same Timeline tracks
  1. Select one or more clip items in the Timeline.

  2. Do one of the following, depending on what you want:

    • Copy the clip items by pressing Command-C.

    • Cut the clip items by pressing Command-X.

  3. Position the playhead where you want the paste to occur.

  4. Paste the clip items at the playhead location by pressing Command-V.

    Figure. Timeline window showing copied and pasted clip items.
To copy (or cut) and paste clip items from one Timeline track to another
  1. Select one or more clip items in the Timeline.

  2. Do one of the following, depending on what you want:

    • Copy the clip items by pressing Command-C.

    • Cut the clip items by pressing Command-X.

      Figure. Timeline window showing clip items selected for copying.
  3. Option-click the Auto Select control for the track you want to paste clip items into. (If no Auto Select Controls are turned on, Option-click twice.)

  4. Position the playhead where you want the paste to occur.

  5. Paste the clip items by pressing Command-V.

The copied clip items are pasted to the tracks with Auto Select turned on, except where no Auto Select change was made. Where no Auto Select change was made after copying, the clip items are pasted to the original tracks. See the picture below for an example of these results.

Figure. Timeline window showing clip items pasted into a track where the Auto Select controls were turned on, and audio clip items pasted into audio tracks where the original copied items appear because Auto Select controls were not changed.

Tip: Because you can’t Option-click a pair of audio tracks at once, Option-click the lowest-numbered audio track you want to paste into.

Example: Copying and Pasting Clip Items to Different Tracks in the Timeline

This section shows you how you would copy and paste audio and video clip items to different tracks in the Timeline.

To copy and paste clip items from tracks V3, A5, and A6 to tracks V2, A2, and A3
  1. Select the clip items on V3, A5, and A6.

  2. Copy the clip items by pressing Command-C.

    Figure. Timeline window showing clips selected for copying.
  3. Position the playhead where you want to paste the items.

  4. Option-click the track V2 Auto Select control.

    The video clip item will now be pasted into track V2.

  5. Option-click the track A2 Auto Select control to set the lowest-numbered audio paste destination track.

    The lowest-numbered audio track for pasting is now set to A2.

  6. Paste the clip items by pressing Command-V.

    Figure. Timeline window showing pasted clip items appearing in the tracks where the Auto Select controls were turned on.

Note: Track Source and Destination controls have no effect on copying and pasting.