Zooming and Scrolling in the Timeline

Being able to navigate quickly to any point in your sequence is critical to efficient editing and storytelling, and the ability to jump to any point in the Timeline instantly is one of the main benefits of a nonlinear editing environment. There are many ways to navigate through the Timeline. Learning keyboard shortcuts can save you time.

Zooming In and Out of the Timeline

There are several ways to set the zoom level you want:

  • Menu commands

  • Keyboard shortcuts

  • Zoom slider

  • Zoom control

  • Zoom tools from the Tool palette

To zoom in and out of the Timeline using the Zoom slider
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the thumb tabs on either side of the Zoom slider to adjust both ends of your view at the same time. If the playhead is visible, it stays centered during the zoom. If the playhead is not visible, the visible area of the Timeline stays centered.

  • Hold down the Shift key while you drag one of the thumb tabs (on either side of the Zoom slider) to zoom in or out of your sequence from the selected end of the Zoom slider, while keeping the other thumb tab locked in place. This also moves the visible area of the Timeline in the direction you’re dragging as you zoom.

Figure. Timeline window showing Zoom slider options.

Once you’ve zoomed so far in to your sequence that you can’t see either the beginning or ending clips in the sequence, you can use the Zoom slider as a scroll bar, to smoothly move forward or backward to a specific section of your sequence.

To zoom in and out of the Timeline using the Zoom control
  • Click or drag the Zoom control to view the Timeline at a different time scale while keeping either the playhead or the current area of the Timeline centered. Clicking to the right of the control zooms out to show more of your sequence; clicking to the left zooms in to show more detail.

Figure. Timeline window showing the Zoom control being dragged.
To zoom in and out of the Timeline using the Zoom tools
  1. Select the Zoom In or Zoom Out tool in the Tool palette.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Click in the Timeline.

    • Drag to select a region to zoom in on or out of.

      As you drag, the selection rectangle snaps to areas that correspond to the percentage of zoom in the Timeline.

Clicking or dragging repeatedly increases the zoom factor. When the Timeline is zoomed in or out to the maximum level possible, the + and - signs on the zoom tools disappear.

Note: When the Zoom In or Zoom Out tool is selected, pressing the Option key temporarily changes it to the opposite tool.

Figure. Timeline window showing the Zoom In tool being dragged to expand a sequence.
Figure. Timeline window showing the result of zooming in.
To zoom in and out of the Timeline using menu commands or keyboard shortcuts
  1. With either the Canvas or the Timeline selected, move the playhead to the position in the Timeline where you want zooming to be centered, or select one or more clips in the Timeline that you want to center on as you zoom in or out.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose View > Zoom In, or press Option-Equal Sign (=).

      Pressing Option-Equal Sign (=) repeatedly shows more and more detail, down to the individual frames of your sequence.

    • Choose View > Zoom Out, or press Option-Hyphen (-).

      This reduces the amount of detail but shows more of your edited sequence until the entire sequence fits into the Timeline. You can zoom out further to reduce the scale of your sequence in the Timeline and show more empty area to the right of it.

      Figure. Timeline window showing a sequence before zooming in.
      Figure. Timeline window showing the sequence after zooming in.
To fit the entire contents of the Timeline into the available window size
  • Press Shift-Z.

The zoom factor changes so that the entire sequence fits into the available window size.

To fit a selected area of the Timeline into the available window size
  1. Using the Selection, Group Selection, or Range Selection tool, select one or more items in the Timeline.

  2. Press Shift-Option-Z.

The zoom factor of the Timeline changes so that the selected items fit into the available window size.

Scrolling Horizontally Through a Zoomed-In Timeline

It’s easy to zoom far enough into your sequence that you are only seeing a small fraction of the whole Timeline. To see another portion of your sequence, you can drag the playhead in the Canvas to move to a new location in the Timeline. If you want to see another portion of your sequence in the Timeline without moving the playhead, use the Zoom slider.

The area of the horizontal scroll bar encompasses the total duration of your sequence in the Timeline. Gray lines indicate one-minute increments, while a purple line indicates the current position of the playhead.

Figure. Timeline window showing the horizontal scroll bar, playhead position, and one-minute increment tick mark.
To scroll horizontally through your edited sequence
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the center of the Zoom slider to the left or right. The displayed area of the Timeline moves smoothly in the direction you drag.

  • Click the scroll arrows at either end of the scroll bar to move the displayed area in the Timeline to the left or right.

  • Click the scroll bar to the left or right of the Zoom slider to move the displayed area of the Timeline by one length of the Zoom slider’s current scale.

  • Press Shift-Page Up or Shift-Page Down to scroll left or right one length of the Timeline.

    Note: If you are using a portable computer, press Function-Shift-Up Arrow or Function-Shift-Down Arrow. The Function key is labeled “fn.”

  • Select the Hand tool from the Tool palette (or press H) and drag the Timeline left or right.

Scrolling Vertically Through Multiple Tracks

The tracks in the Timeline are divided by default into two regions, one for audio tracks and one for video tracks. A divider between the two regions can be dragged up or down to resize the regions, giving more space to either the video or audio tracks in your Timeline.

Figure. Timeline window showing a divider between audio tracks and video tracks.

If you have more tracks than can be seen in the Timeline, scroll bars for the appropriate region appear on the right side, so you can view the tracks in each region separately. For example, you may have more audio tracks than video tracks in a documentary piece with sophisticated sound design, or you may have more video tracks than audio tracks in a music video with a lot of layering and motion graphics work.

To scroll vertically through the audio and video tracks in your sequence
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the slider for the region in which you wish to scroll.

    The displayed area of the Timeline moves smoothly up or down in the direction you drag.

  • Click the scroll arrows to move the displayed area of the Timeline up or down.

  • Click the scroll bar above or below the slider to move up or down by one length of the slider’s current scale.

  • Press Page Up or Page Down.

To resize the audio and video regions
  • Drag the divider between the two regions up or down.

For more information about the static area that contains separate groups of audio or video tracks with their own scroll bars, see Navigating and Using Timecode in the Viewer and Canvas.