Direct Methods for Selecting Content in a Sequence

As with many applications, the most basic way to select items in the Timeline is to click them. There are different selection tools designed to help you make such selections as easily as possible when working with a lot of material in a sequence.

The following can be selected in the Timeline:

The following cannot be selected in the Timeline:

An Introduction to the Selection Tools

Several tools in the Tool palette can be used to select items.

Note: Remember that if you select an item that’s linked to another item, the linked item is selected as well, unless you turn off the Linked Selection option. (See Linking and Unlinking Video and Audio Clip Items in the Timeline.)

To select a tool
  1. Move the pointer over a tool in the Tool palette, then press and hold down the mouse button.

    All of the related tools appear.

  2. Move the pointer to the tool you want to select, then release the mouse button.

The selected tool becomes the current tool in the Tool palette for that group of tools.

Figure. Tool palette showing the current default tool.

These are the selection tools, in order of appearance:

Figure. Tool palette showing the Selection tool.
  • Selection: Selects individual items, such as a clip, transition, edit point, or keyframe, or multiple items if they’re linked. The functions of this tool can be modified in a variety of ways using keyboard shortcuts. This is the default tool.

    Note: When using the Slip or Slide tool, you can temporarily turn the Slip or Slide tool into the Selection tool by pressing the Command key for a noncontiguous selection or the Shift key for a contiguous selection.

    Figure. Tool palette showing the Edit Selection tool, the Group Selection tool, and the Range Selection tool.
  • Edit Selection: Selects an edit point between clips. You can select edits on as many tracks as you want, but you can only select one edit per track. When you double-click an edit, the Trim Edit window appears so you can precisely modify several edit points simultaneously. (For more information on using the Trim Edit window, see Trimming Clips Using the Trim Edit Window.)
  • Group Selection: Selects multiple contiguous items. This tool automatically selects an entire item in the Timeline even if you only drag over a part of it. Any other items linked to it are selected as well. Use this tool to select several clips in their entirety.
  • Range Selection: Selects a range of multiple contiguous items. This tool does not automatically select an entire item, but only the part of the item that you drag across. Use this tool to select only a part of a clip, or to create a selection that includes portions of several clips.
    Figure. Tool palette showing the range selection tools.
  • Select Track Forward: Selects all the items in a track after the selection point you click. Selected items are ready for any group operation, such as moving or deleting. Items linked to selected items in this track are selected also.
  • Select Track Backward: Selects all the contents of the track before the selection point.
  • Select Track: Selects the entire contents of a single track, as well as any items linked to those items.
  • Select All Tracks Forward: Selects all the contents of all tracks after the selection point.
  • Select All Tracks Backward: Selects all the contents of all tracks before the selection point.

Selecting Clips

Selecting individual clips is as straightforward as clicking, as long you are clicking with the right tool. Also included here are the tricks you need to know for selecting multiple contiguous and noncontiguous clips quickly.

Tip: When clip items are linked, but you need to select just an individual clip item, you can temporarily prevent linked items from being selected together by pressing the Option key while selecting. (The link status returns to the turned on state when you release the Option key.)

Selecting an Individual Clip

This is the simplest kind of selection you can make in the Timeline.

To select an individual clip
  1. Click the Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press A).

  2. In the Timeline, click anywhere in a clip.

If the Canvas is set to display overlays, a cyan blue border appears around the video image to indicate that the clip beneath the playhead is selected. (To set the Canvas to display overlays, choose View > Show Overlays, so there is a checkmark next to it.)

Figure.  Canvas window showing a cyan border around a clip to indicate that it is selected.

Selecting a Group of Clips by Dragging

Sometimes the fastest way to select a group of contiguous clips is to drag a box around them.

To select multiple whole clips by dragging
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select the Group Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press the G key twice).

    • Select the Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press A).

  2. Drag a box around all of the clips you want to select them. Any clip you touch will be included, even if you don’t drag across the entire clip.

    Figure. Timeline window showing clips selected by dragging.

Selecting Multiple Clips

The Shift and Command keys allow you to select multiple clip items in the Timeline, either contiguous or noncontiguous.

To select multiple noncontiguous clip items
  • Hold down the Command key while selecting the clip items you want using either the Selection tool or the Group Selection tool.

    You can also Command-click a specific item again to deselect it.

    Figure. Timeline window showing nonadjacent clips selected by Command-clicking.
To select multiple contiguous clip items with the Selection tool
  • Select a clip item, then hold down the Shift key and select another clip item farther down on the Timeline. All of the clip items between the two are selected.

    • If you select two clip items on the same track: Only the items on that track (and items linked to items on that track) are selected.
    • If you select a clip item on one track and another clip item on a different track: All clip items between those two tracks are selected as well.

You can also select a range of contiguous clip items, and then select additional noncontiguous clip items using a combination of the instructions above.

Deselecting an Item in a Multiple Selection

Sometimes after selecting a number of clips, you want to deselect one or two of them. For example, if you want to select all clip items on track V1 except one in the middle, it is often easier to select all the clip items and then deselect the clip item in the middle.

To deselect an individual clip item within a selection
  1. Select the Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press A).

  2. Command-click the item you want to deselect.

Selecting a Range of Timeline Content

When you want to copy, cut, or move an area of content that is not specified by clip boundaries, you can either select the area with the Range Selection tool, or use In and Out points to make a vertical selection across tracks. For more information about using In and Out points to select a range of content, see Using Auto Select to Specify Tracks for Selections.

To select a portion of a clip item
  1. Select the Range Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press the G key three times).

    Figure. Tool palette showing the Range Selection tool.
  2. Click a clip item where you want to start your selection, drag to the right until you reach the end of the portion of the clip you want to select, then release the mouse button.

    Figure. Timeline window showing clips selected by dragging.

Selecting All Clip Items on a Track

Sometimes you may find that you want to select all of the clip items on a track in order to drag them to close a gap or to create space to accommodate new clip items in your sequence. After selecting a track’s contents, you can perform different operations on all the track’s items at once, such as moving, copying, or deleting them.

The track selection tools provide many additional ways of selecting some or all of the content of one or more tracks in your sequence.

Note: When selecting the contents of a track, remember that linked items on other tracks will also be selected if linked selection is turned on. If you don’t want to select linked audio or video clip items, turn off linked selection first. (See Linking and Unlinking Video and Audio Clip Items in the Timeline.)

To select all the clip items on a single track
  1. Select the Select Track tool in the Tool palette (or press the T key three times).

  2. Click anywhere in the track. All clips in the track are selected, as well as any items linked to those clips.

    Figure. Timeline window showing an entire track selected by clicking it with the Select Track tool.

You can also select all items before or after a specified clip item. For example, if you want to select all clip items in track V1 except for the first item, you can use the Select Track Forward tool.

To select all clip items after a specified item on a single track
  1. Select the Select Track Forward tool in the Tool palette (or press the T key).

  2. Click a clip item in the Timeline.

The item you click and all items after it are selected.

To select all clip items before a specified item on a single track
  1. Select the Select Track Backward tool in the Tool palette (or press the T key twice).

  2. Click a clip item in the Timeline.

The item you click and all items before it are selected.

Tip: You can temporarily turn off linked selection by holding down the Option key while clicking a clip item.

Selecting All Items on All Tracks Forward or Backward

When there are many clips in a sequence, it’s difficult to see and select many of them at once, especially if you don’t want to zoom in and out frequently. The Select All Tracks Forward and Select All Tracks Backward tools let you simply select all clip items before or after a selected clip.

To select all clip items on all tracks before or after a selected clip
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select the Select All Tracks Forward or Select All Tracks Backward tool in the Tool palette.

    • Press the T key four times to select the Select All Tracks Forward tool, or press the T key five times to select the Select All Tracks Backward tool.

      Figure. Tool palette showing the Select All Tracks Forward tool and the Select All Track Backward tool.
  2. Click the first clip item on any track that you want to include in the selection.

    All clip items in all tracks from the point you click onward (either forward or backward) are selected, as well as any items linked to those items. You can select entire clip items only; you can’t select a portion of a clip item.

    Figure. Timeline window showing that all clip items on all tracks have been selected forward from the point where the Select All Tracks Forward tool was clicked.
    Figure. Timeline window showing that all clip items on all tracks have been selected backward from the point where the Select All Tracks Backward tool was clicked.

Once you’ve selected a large group of clip items, you can always deselect individual clip items by Command-clicking them with the Selection tool.

Selecting or Deselecting All Clips in a Sequence

To move or delete all clip items, you can select them all at once. To make sure no clip items are selected anywhere in the Timeline, you can deselect all of them.

To select every clip item in the Timeline
  1. Click in the Timeline to make it active (or press Command-3).

  2. Choose Edit > Select All (or press Command-A).

To deselect every clip item in the Timeline
  1. Click in the Timeline to make it active (or press Command-3).

  2. Choose Edit > Deselect All (or press Command-Shift-A).