Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Keyboard Command Editor Video tutorial

Hey what’s up everybody. My name is Jasper Thayer, Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro and developer of In this lesson we will be going over keyboard commands in Final Cut Pro version 10.1

A big part of becoming efficient in any software program is learning keyboard shortcuts. Many of Final Cut Pro’s commands use a single keystroke. But other commands require the use of a modifier key. There are four modifier keys used in Final Cut Pro and they are – the Command key, the Option key, the Shift key, and the Control key.

Here’s some examples of how to use a modifier key with a keyboard shortcut to invoke a command. You can use the Keyboard shortcut Command-N to create a new project without having to use your mouse pointer and select this command in the File menu. You can use the Keyboard shortcut Option-N to create a New Event and Shift-Command-N to create a new folder. The point is that different commands are invoked depending on what modifier keys you use with the keyboard shortcut.

Final Cut Pro X also provides contextual menus for choosing commands at the location of your mouse pointer. So if your pointer is over a clip in the Timeline, you can right-click to call up a menu of commands related to the clip you’re working on. Different menu options are displayed in the contextual menus depending on the area of the interface you are working in.

To see a list of all of Final Cut Pro’s commands and what keys they are assigned to, choose > Commands > Customize from the Final Cut Pro menu (or press Command-Option K). FCP’s command editor window will appear. Click a key on the virtual keyboard to locate a keyboard shortcut.
The command associated with the selected key appears in the lower right corner of the window labeled “key detail”. For example, click the J key.

Notice, that without a modifier, the J key plays a clip in reverse.
With the Command key modifier, the J key invokes the Project Properties. Let’s examine another key. Click the Z key. In the key detail area, the Z key with no modifier enables the zoom tool. With the command key modifier, the Z key performs an undo action.
There’s a search field in the top right corner of the Command Editor window. Enter a term in the search field to search for a command. Type out “speed”.

Any command that includes the word “speed” in either the Command name or the Command Detail will appear in the command list directly below the virtual keyboard.

You can highlight any keys the command is assigned to by clicking the key highlight button next to the search field. The keyboard will dim except for the keys the related commands are assigned to. Turn off keyboard highlight and clear out the search field by clicking the X button.
On the left side of the window are the various command groups organized by classification and color coding. For example, all commands that are classified as editing commands appear in blue on the virtual keyboard, all commands that are classified as “Effects” commands appear in this color here, and so on.

You can filter the list of commands by clicking on a command group. Click the Editing command group and only the commands and keys associated with the Editing group will appear in the command list to the right.

Click the Effects group and only commands and keys associated with the Effects group will appear.

You can also filter the virtual keyboard by modifier keys. At the top of the window you’ll see buttons for Command, Shift, Option and Control. Let’s say you wanted to see which keys are associated with the Tools group (which are color coded yellow in the command group area).
Click the Option button and any key that appears in yellow on the virtual keyboard requires the option modifier key in order to invoke that particular Tool command.

To see this, click the “D” key, to view it in the key detail area in the lower right. Notice that this key with the Option modifier will invoke the Distort tool. Turn off the Option button to remove the modifier key filtering.

FCP lets you re-assign keys for your commands as well as allowing you to create your own custom keyboard sets that you can quickly switch between during editing.

In the Command Groups area, click the disclosure triangle next to “Main Menu Commands” to view all of Final Cut Pro’s commands by menu groupings. Select File menu and only commands that appear in the File menu will be listed.

As you can see, no key is currently assigned to the “Merge Events” command. Whenever you plan on modifying your keyboard command set, it’s a good idea to duplicate it first so you won’t be modifying the default set. From the pop up menu in the upper left choose > duplicate. Give the command set a name if you like. Type out “TEST” and click OK.

With the “Merge Events” command still selected in the command list, press any colored key on your keyboard to re-assign it. If the key is already taken by another command, final cut pro will warn you about this and will give you the option to re-assign this key if you so choose. Click cancel.

If you look closely at each key in the virtual Keyboard, you’ll see that keys that already have commands assigned to them appear with a gray dot in the upper right hand corner of the key. Locate a key that doesn’t not have a dot, which in this case, is only the Zero key. Press zero to assign this key to the “Merge Events” command.

The zero key you just assigned now appears to the right of the command in the command list and the key itself appears with a dot to indicate its assigned status.

At any point during editing you can come to the Command Editor and switch to another saved command set by clicking the pop up menu. You can also import, export and delete command sets from this menu. Save the changes to your custom command set by closing the window and clicking “Save”. Open the Command editor up again, select the TEST keyboard layout we created, then choose Delete from the menu to delete the TEST keyboard layout.

Occasionally you’ll want to access a particular command, but can’t remember where it’s located in Final Cut Pro’s menu system. Thankfully Apple has included an excellent menu search feature to help you with this.

Click the Help menu to bring up a search field and enter the command you’re looking for. Let’s say we wanted to locate the Merge Events command we just assigned in the Command Editor. Type out “Merge” to bring up a list of all commands that include that word, then move your pointer over the item you’re looking for. The menu flies out along with a arrow directing you where to find the command.

Jasper Thayer is the developer of

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect. is known worldwide for its unmatched excellence in providing top-quality Final Cut Pro X tutorials. Subscribe to our mailing list to remain updated on the latest info about Final Cut Pro X tips, tricks, and tutorials.