Snapping to Points in the Timeline

The Timeline is where you arrange clip items, scene by scene and shot by shot. The snapping feature helps you line up large groups of clips without accidentally creating gaps. To arrange content, you need to know how to move, copy, cut, paste, and delete within a sequence.

The snapping behavior makes it easier and quicker to do things like line up a video and an audio clip item on two tracks, or align the playhead to a particular marker. When snapping is turned on, items you move in the Timeline, including the playhead and selected clips, appear to jump, or “snap,” directly to certain points in the Timeline.

Several elements trigger snapping in the Timeline:

When you drag the playhead or a selected clip item in the Timeline, it “snaps” to these elements when it encounters them.

Figure. Portion of the Timeline showing the playhead and a pair of arrows above and below an edit that indicate the playhead has snapped to this item.

While snapping is extremely useful, it can also be a hindrance if you’re trying to move a clip only a few frames among a series of markers and clip boundaries, and you don’t want it to snap to any of these points. Fortunately, you can turn snapping on or off at any time, even while you’re dragging a clip.

To turn snapping on or off
Do one of the following:
  • Choose View > Snapping. (A checkmark indicates snapping is on.)

  • Press N (you can do this even while you’re dragging).

  • Click the Snapping button in the Timeline.

    If the Snapping button is not in the Timeline button bar, you can add it. For more information about customizing button bars, see Customizing the Interface.

Snapping affects the functions of many of the editing tools in Final Cut Pro, such as the Ripple and Roll tools, as well as the playhead in both the Viewer and the Canvas.