Dave’s Editing Shortcuts Tutorial


Use editing software faster with these intuitive custom keyboard shortcuts, all on the left side of the keyboard, that allow you to keep your hand on the mouse at all times.

Download the keyboard view and list view of the shortcuts, plus the Premiere shortcut file HERE .

This tutorial teaches Premiere Pro by way of a completely custom keyboard shortcut layout with more than 30 shortcuts that are all on the left side of the keyboard so your right hand never needs to leave the mouse. These shortcuts will work just as well in Media Composer and Resolve (and just about any other NLE).

This might be the only editing tutorial that uses, as an editing example, the editing of the tutorial you’re watching.

The only reason the shortcut for Mark In is “i” and Mark Out is “o” is because In and Out start with “i” and “o”. For millions of years this is how it’s been – I guess so people just starting to use the software could remember where the shortcuts were. But we’ve evolved since those early days. We walk upright now, and we don’t need to use those ancient shortcuts that are in all the wrong places. It’s the same with the transport keys J and K – these have been Transport Backward and Forward since the dawn of time. But they’re in a horrible location.

Look down at the home row on your keyboard: ASDF – this is where your left hand rests, and, with my new enlightened shortcuts, these are the keys used for Mark In (A), Mark Out (F), Frame Back (S), Frame Forward (D),  and Transport Backward (X) and Forward (C) right under the home row. See how much more conveniently located these are?

Check out a short clip of me using these shortcuts to edit the West Wing 2002/2020 intercut (relocated video).

And, all the shortcuts are this intuitive, plus they are all either the key or shift+the key – no command/control+shift nonsense. I’ve also moved the often used copy/paste and undo/redo to a better location, and if you switch between Mac and PC you won’t have to get used shifting between using Control-C and Command-C, for instance – it will be exactly the same no matter what computer you’re using.

I’ve been a video editor since 1996. I had worked in digiBeta digital tape-to-tape rooms until 2005, when I started using Final Cut Pro. When I first sat down to use the software I noticed the keyboard shortcuts layout seemed to be designed by software engineers, not video editors, and the shortcuts were kind of all over the place, sometimes requiring awkward key combinations (like command+shift, etc.). Before making my first edit I re-arranged these shortcuts, and have been perfecting them ever since.

I’ve encountered editors who say they only use the default shortcuts in case they need to use another computer. Email the the shortcut file to yourself or put it on a thumbdrive (or learn how to enter them in quickly). Problem solved.

If you know how to type, these shortcuts are for you. If you don’t know how to type, learn (seriously, if you’re going to be an editor, learn to type). Also, if you edit by dragging footage from the Source window to the Timeline, this tutorial is for you (seriously, stop editing by dragging footage to the timeline, it’s slow and horribly inefficient).

You can download images of the keyboard layout and the Premiere keyboard shortcut file. There are also links to download six short clips that I use in the tutorial so you can start working and learning right away. In the video I explain where to put the Premiere shortcut file on your computer.

I recommend watching this tutorial on a second monitor or laptop while you have Premiere open, and working along with me. This is not necessary, but helpful. You can pause the video as you go, and use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to backup and go forward in the video. I also suggest printing out the keyboard layout to have in front of you.

You may be asking, why do I care – am I trying to sell you something, why so pushy with these shortcuts? All excellent questions (and no, I’m not trying to sell you something – I’m just giving this shit away).

The tutorial is HERE. 

Download the keyboard view and list view of the shortcuts, plus the Premiere shortcut file HERE .  If you feel apprehensive about downloading an unknown zip file, the images are below. You can either enter the shortcuts in yourself, or email me at daveditor@gmail.com and I’ll send you the .kys shortcuts file.

Download the six short video clips from Vimeo here: CLIP 1,  CLIP 2,  CLIP 3,  CLIP 4,  CLIP 5,  CLIP 6. Click Download and choose Original (this is footage that I shot and used in THIS VIDEO).

Some things I wish I had done differently on this:

A couple times I said click on something when I meant right-click.

When applying an effect to a clip, it’s faster to select the clip and double click on the effect rather than dragging the effect onto the clip.

I didn’t mention proxies at all. If you find you need to render the footage (maybe if you’re using 4K on a slower system), you can check the make proxies on import box, or make proxies later. Then, make sure to add the Toggle Previews button on the Source and Timeline window by pressing the + under each window. You can edit with proxies on, then toggle them off to check what things are looking like in full resolution. Combining proxies with high quality render files and Use Previews on export will greatly speed up your workflow.

Here are the shortcuts. They’re worded for Premiere, but they’ll work on any NLE (within reason). Learn them, use them, live them. You are now enlightened. Poof! I’m gone.

Dave's Premiere Shortcuts Keyboard

Daves Premiere Shortcut List