Want to Speed Up Your Editing Workflow? Try Using Single-Keypress Commands

Even if you've got your speedy editing workflow down, there's always something that you can do to make the process go by a little bit quicker.

Editing a project, regardless of size, is going to be time-consuming, which makes helpful tips, like this one from The Frugal Filmmaker, all the more valuable to busy editors. In this episode, learn how simple it is to reprogram your keyboard and mouse with easier shortcuts that'll allow you to edit a little faster.

If you're an experienced editor, chances are you've already remapped your keyboard and mouse to be conducive to the way you prefer to edit. But the one tip you might find particularly helpful from the video is shortening the preexisting shortcuts that contain an input for "control", "command", etc. to just one single key to create, as the video calls them, "single-keypress commands." So for example, "undo" could be reprogrammed from "command+z" to just "z". (Why wasn't I already doing this?) Ideally, you'd want to have all of your left-hand shortcuts responsible for your most commonly used commands and tools.

Another thing to keep in mind when remapping your keyboard shortcuts is that it might be easier for you to memorize and work with your shortcuts if they start with the first letter of the operation they're responsible for, like "r" for "ripple edit" or "razor tool," or "s" for "selection tool."

Hopefully this tip helps speed up your editing time. If you have any editing workflow tips you'd like to share, head on down to the comments!     

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Your Comment


Thank you so much.

July 4, 2016 at 4:24AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

Awesome advice. I have a customized keyboard that makes me a lot faster, but the idea of single touch shortcut honestly never occurred to me. I'm going to be thinking about this during my next few edits and look for places I can implement it.

July 4, 2016 at 4:51PM

Thomas Tomchak
Chief Creative & Super Nerd

It sounds like a good idea, but it's best to use modifiers so you're not picking your hands up off of the board as much. Set your shortcuts around the natural position your hand or hands rest on the board. You'll likely have 1 hand on the mouse and other other on the board most of the day. Single keystrokes would mean you'd have to slide around the board a great deal more. Hitting keys like CRTL+SHIFT+A to de-select all tracks before placing an edit (Avid) become almost like playing an instrument - it's muscle memory and once you know them you won't even have to look at your keyboard while working. Kinda like typing using Qwerty.


July 6, 2016 at 4:19PM

Dave Kratz
Visual Artist / Film & Video Journalist

I have literally been searching for this information for years! You can find it in bits and pieces around the net, but this is a really nice condensed version.

I met an editor once in Sydney, Australia, who literally 'typed' videos into existence. He could hotkey a rough-cut in irritatingly minuscule amounts of time. His motto was, "If you click the Mouse, you're probably doing it wrong..." Honestly, it was sickening how good he was. His videos were excellent as well. (Top Gear!)

Anyways, looking forward to putting this into practice.

July 10, 2016 at 4:08PM, Edited July 10, 4:08PM

Jared Adamo
Creative Director / Producer

I'm faster on my laptop then with a mouse because the track pad is easier than a mouse. That's one of the biggest reasons I love my macbook pro because the pad is so responsive compared to other laptops I have tried.

July 14, 2016 at 1:17PM, Edited July 14, 1:18PM

Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker