Basics of Working in the Final Cut Pro Interface

There are four main windows in Final Cut Pro that you use while you are making your movie. You may want to open Final Cut Pro so you can view these windows and familiarize yourself with them.

Note: If you’re opening Final Cut Pro for the first time, you’re prompted to choose an Easy Setup (a collection of settings that determines how Final Cut Pro works with your editing system) and a scratch disk (the hard disk where you’ll store your captured media files). For more information about these settings, see Opening Final Cut Pro and Choosing Your Initial Settings.

To open Final Cut Pro
  • In the Finder, double-click the Final Cut Pro icon in the Applications folder.

You can also add the Final Cut Pro icon to the Dock for easier access. For more information, see Mac Help.

You see these windows when you open a sequence with clips already in it. These windows are covered in more detail in the chapters that follow.

Figure. Final Cut Pro interface showing the Browser, Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline windows.

Before working in a window in Final Cut Pro, you must make sure it’s the currently selected (or “active”) window. Otherwise, your actions and commands might trigger actions in another window.

Important: Menu commands and keyboard shortcuts apply to the active window.

To determine the active window
  • Look for the highlighted title bar.

To make a window active
Do one of the following:
  • Click anywhere in the window.

  • Press one of the following keyboard shortcuts:

    • Browser: Command-4
    • Viewer: Command-1
    • Timeline: Command-3
    • Canvas: Command-2
    • Audio meters: Option-4

    Note: There is no keyboard shortcut to open the Tool palette.

  • Choose Window, then in the submenu, choose the window you want to display.