Ways to Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

You can customize the way you work in Final Cut Pro by setting up keyboard shortcuts for many commands. The default keyboard shortcuts appear to the right of the command name in menus and in tooltips.

When you customize the keyboard, you can:

Learning About the Keyboard Layout Window

The Keyboard Layout window allows you to view current keyboard shortcuts, set up custom keyboard shortcuts, and search for keyboard shortcuts by function or menu item.

To open the Keyboard Layout window
  • Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize (or press Option-H).

Command List Area

By default, commands are listed by menu set (such as File and Edit) and command group function (such as Audio and Capture commands). You can also view commands alphabetically. You can use the controls in this area to choose how to display commands as well as how to search for them.

Figure. Keyboard Layout window showing controls in the keyboard area and command list area.
  • Disclosure triangle: Click to display all commands and their corresponding keyboard shortcuts for a menu set or command group.
  • Magnifying glass icon: Click to display commands alphabetically, along with their keyboard shortcuts.
  • Search field: Enter a command or key to search for.
  • X icon: This icon appears on the right side of the search field only after you display commands alphabetically. Click to display the command list by menu and function.
Keyboard Area

The currently selected keyboard layout appears here and includes the following features.

Figure. Keyboard layout window.
  • Tabs: There are tabs at the top of the Keyboard Layout window for each modifier key or combination of modifier keys, such as No Modifiers, cmd (Command key), shift (Shift key), and opt (Option key). Click a tab to display the icons for commands used when a modifier key or combination of modifier keys is pressed along with another key.
  • Icons: Icons appear on each key for commands that are currently assigned to that key. If you are unfamiliar with the icons, you can always enter a key in the command list area to view all commands corresponding to that key.
  • Lock button: Click to lock and unlock the keyboard layout so you can make and prevent changes.
  • Reset button: Click to reset all keyboard shortcuts to their original default key combinations.
  • Clear button: Click to clear all keyboard shortcuts, so they are blank. Some general commands cannot be cleared, such as Copy and Paste. For more information, see Clearing and Restoring Keyboard Layouts.

Viewing Commands in the Command List

You can choose how to view the commands in the command list area.

To view all commands alphabetically
  • Click the magnifying glass icon.

To view commands by menu set and command group function
  • Click the X icon.

Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts

Specifying shortcuts for commands is easy. You don’t have to set up the entire keyboard with your preferred shortcuts—you can choose specific menu sets or command groups. For example, you can specify keyboard shortcuts for all commands in the File menu or for all render functions.

Important: Before you begin specifying keyboard shortcuts, make sure you choose the appropriate language and input type. For more information, see Using Different Keyboards and Languages.

To see which commands have a key or key combination assigned to them
  • Enter a key or key combination in the search field.

Figure. Keyboard Layout window showing search field.
To assign keyboard shortcuts to commands
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize.

    The Keyboard Layout window appears.

  2. In the Keyboard Layout window, click the Lock button in the lower-left corner.

  3. Click a tab to choose a modifier key or combination of modifier keys.

    The keyboard layout for commands that use that modifier key is shown.

  4. If you want to create an entirely new layout, click Clear. When a message appears asking if you want to clear the keyboard layout, click Yes.

    All existing keyboard shortcuts in all tabs are cleared and the keys appear blank (no icons are displayed).

  5. In the command list area, do one of the following:

    • Click a disclosure triangle to display commands within a menu set or command group.

    • Click in the search field. (Commands are displayed alphabetically.)

    • Enter the name of the command in the search field. (Commands that match are displayed automatically.)

      Figure.  Keyboard Layout window showing use of the search field.
  6. Click a command in the list to select it, then do one of the following:

    • Press the key or key combination you want to assign as the shortcut.

    • Drag the command from the list to the key on the keyboard layout that you want to assign it to.

      Note: The modifier key is already chosen by the tab selected at the top of the Keyboard Layout window.

      Figure. Keyboard Layout window showing a keyboard shortcut assigned to a command.
    • If the key combination you set is not currently used for another command: In this case, it’s assigned to the command you selected. The keyboard shortcut you entered now appears next to the command in the list. The icon for that command also appears on the appropriate key.
    • If the key combination is already used by another command: In this case, a message appears asking if you want to reassign it. Click Yes. The keyboard shortcut you entered now appears next to the command in the list. The icon for that command also appears on the appropriate key.

    Note: If the command already has a shortcut assigned to it, you can delete the existing one. If you don’t, the command will have two keyboard shortcuts assigned to it.

  7. When you’re finished assigning new key combinations, do one of the following to prevent further changes:

    • Click the Lock button.

    • Close the Keyboard Layout window.

    Note: Customized keyboard layouts are automatically saved when you close the Keyboard Layout window.

If you like, you can reassign commands to keys in the Keyboard Layout window. However, you cannot move commands between modifier keys (tabs). If you make mistakes as you set up commands, or simply want to clear the command for one or two keys, see Clearing and Restoring Keyboard Layouts.

To quickly reassign the keyboard shortcuts for a command
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize.

    The Keyboard Layout window appears.

  2. In the keyboard area, drag the icon for a command from the current key to the new key.

    If you drag an icon to a key that already has a command assigned to it, the new command takes precedence and the previous command no longer has a keyboard shortcut assigned to it.

You can also delete the keyboard shortcut for a command in the Keyboard Layout window. This is useful if you only want to delete keyboard shortcuts for individual commands and not the entire keyboard layout.

To delete the keyboard shortcut for a command
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize.

    The Keyboard Layout window appears.

  2. In the keyboard area, drag the icon for a command out of the Keyboard Layout window.

For more information on clearing all keyboard shortcuts, see Clearing and Restoring Keyboard Layouts.

Avoiding Keyboard Shortcut Conflicts

Certain keyboard shortcuts may not work in certain Final Cut Pro windows. For example, if you press an alphanumeric key, such as J, K, or L in the Browser, the first clip beginning with the character you pressed is selected (clips named Jacob, Katy, or Larry, for example). This is the default behavior of the Browser, and keyboard shortcuts cannot bypass this feature. However, in the Viewer or Canvas, pressing J, K, or L activates the transport controls (reverse, pause, and forward, respectively). When you assign keyboard shortcuts, consider which windows you intend to use them in. To make sure your custom keyboard assignment works as expected, try adding one or two modifier keys to your custom keyboard shortcut. These key combinations are less likely to be used by the built-in features of the windows.

Additionally, keyboard shortcuts assigned by Mac OS X are unavailable in Final Cut Pro. These keyboard shortcuts, such as Command-M (for minimizing a window), appear red in the Keyboard Layout window of Final Cut Pro. Optional keyboard shortcuts, such as those assigned to Exposé or Dashboard (in Mac OS X v10.4 or later), also override keyboard shortcuts assigned in Final Cut Pro. To solve this problem, you can either adjust the keyboard shortcuts for Exposé or change the conflicting keyboard shortcuts in the Final Cut Pro Keyboard Layout window. For more information, see Mac Help.

Clearing and Restoring Keyboard Layouts

At any time, you can clear the keyboard layout, removing most of the commands and their keyboard shortcuts. This is useful if you want to clear the keyboard layout you previously set up, so you can change the commands for another project.

Note: If you don’t clear the existing layout, newly specified keyboard shortcuts are used in addition to those keyboard shortcuts already specified (either the default keyboard shortcuts or those you previously set up).

Some commands cannot be cleared and always use a default keyboard shortcut, including Abort, Cancel, Clear, Copy, Cut, Minimize Window, Paste, Play, Redo, and Undo. Additional commands that can’t be cleared are shown on pink-colored keys. If you like, you can specify additional key combinations to use for these operations.

To clear all keyboard shortcuts
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize.

    The Keyboard Layout window appears.

  2. Click the Lock button, then click Clear.

  3. When a message appears asking if you want to clear all keyboard shortcuts, click OK.

The keyboard layout in the Keyboard Layout window now appears without any icons or commands.

At some point, you may decide that you want to restore all of the keyboard shortcuts to their original default settings.

To restore the default keyboard shortcuts
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Customize.

    The Keyboard Layout window appears.

  2. Click the Lock button, then click Reset.

  3. When a message appears asking if you want to reset the defaults, click OK.

Saving Commands and Keyboard Shortcuts as Text Files

You can save commands and their keyboard shortcuts in a text document. These documents serve as keyboard layout guides, available onscreen, or printed for easy reference. You can open and reformat the text files in other programs, such as spreadsheet or word-processing applications, to make them easier to read.

To save commands and keyboard shortcuts as a text file
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout, then choose an option from the submenu:

    • Save Grid as Text: Saves only those commands to which you’ve assigned keyboard shortcuts as a tab delimited text file.
    • Save Menu Commands as Text: Saves all commands from the following menus: File, Edit, View, Mark, Modify, Sequence, Effects, Tools, and Window. (This option does not let you save command groups, such as Compositing or Editing.)
    • Save Command Groups as Text: Saves all commands from the command groups shown in the command list area, such as Audio, Capture, Compositing, Display, and so on. Commands are listed by command group in the same order as in the command list area. (This option does not let you save menu sets, such as File and Edit.)
    • Save All Commands as Text: Saves all commands (menu sets and command groups), with commands listed alphabetically.
  2. In the Save dialog, enter a new name for the document if you want and choose where to save it, then click Save.

    The default location where these files are stored is: /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/Keyboard Layouts/.

Saving and Loading Keyboard Layouts

You can save a keyboard layout that you customized. This is useful if you are working with others on a project and want to use the same keyboard shortcuts for commands. You can also load keyboard layouts that others have created.

To save a customized keyboard layout
  1. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Save Keyboard Layout.

  2. In the Save dialog, enter a new name for the layout if you want and choose where to save it, then click Save.

    The default name is Custom Keyboard Layout. The default location where these files are stored is: /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/Keyboard Layouts/.

  3. If a file with the specified name already exists in that location, a message appears asking if you want to replace the file. If so, click Replace; otherwise, click Cancel and rename the file, then click Save.

When you import a custom keyboard layout, all existing shortcuts are replaced by those in the custom keyboard layout.

To load a customized keyboard layout
  1. Copy the keyboard layout file to your computer.

    The default location where these files are stored is: /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/Keyboard Layouts/.

  2. Choose Tools > Keyboard Layout > Load Keyboard Layout.

  3. In the Choose a File dialog, navigate to the location where the keyboard layout is stored, then click Choose.

When you open the custom Keyboard Layout window, the title bar indicates that the layout is imported and displays the name of the layout.

Using Different Keyboards and Languages

You can set up your keyboard for use with a language and layout different from the one it shipped with using the International pane in System Preferences. For information on how to use a specific keyboard layout, see Mac Help.

When you customize a keyboard, the keyboard shortcuts you create apply to the currently selected language. (The keyboard layout is also listed at the top of the Keyboard Layout window.) If you are switching among multiple languages, make sure you choose the right one before setting up shortcuts for commands.

Important: The physical keyboard you’re using is detected by Mac OS X as soon as you connect it to your computer, and while you can switch between multiple languages, the position of the key on the keyboard takes precedence over the letter that’s assigned to that key due to the selected language. For example, if you set up the default U.S. keyboard so the A key (three rows up and two keys in from the left) is the shortcut for a ripple delete and then switch to another keyboard language, such as French, that key is now the Q key, but when you press it, the keyboard shortcut remains ripple delete.