Keyboard Shortcuts: Trimming with Premiere Pro (CS4, CS5, & CS5.5)

Want to take your Premiere Pro trimming chops to a new level? Then you’ll want to use keyboard shortcuts to trim. Memorizing a few keyboard shortcuts will help you on your way to a smoother editing workflow. Before you reach for the Ripple or Roll tools on your next project, check out the following tips.

In Premiere Pro, there are a number of keyboard shortcuts you can use to trim, including using the Extend Edit and Trim to In Point commands. You can also use an interface specially made for fine trimming, the Trim Monitor.

Extend Edit is in the Sequence Menu in Premiere Pro CS5.5

Extend Edit is in the Sequence Menu in Premiere Pro CS5.5

Let’s first focus on keyboard shortcuts that may assist you in trimming clips in the Timeline. The first you may be familiar with, the extend edit command. An extend edit is one where the edit point will move to the location of the playhead with a keyboard shortcut, which is essentially a roll edit. Since you cannot directly select an edit point in a Premiere Pro timeline, there must be two commands to perform an extend edit: one to move the edit point forward to the playhead and another to move the edit point backward to the playhead. In Premiere Pro CS5.5, these are called Extend Previous Edit to Playhead (E) and Extend Next Edit to Playhead (Shift+E). In Premiere Pro CS5, these are called Roll Previous Edit to CTI and Roll Next Edit to CTI. These do not have assigned keyboard shortcuts, so you must assign them in the Keyboard Customization dialog.

To perform an extend edit, do the following:

  1. Target the tracks you wish to effect in the extend edit.
  2. Park the playhead where you want to extend (roll) the edit point to.
  3. Press the appropriate keyboard shortcut (E or Shift+E).
  4. The edit then snaps to the playhead.

For more info about the extend edit function, see this video by Karl Soulé on AdobeTV:

You can also read more about the extend edit function on my blog:

Another keyboard driven trimming shortcut is similar to an extend edit, in that a clip’s edit point can snap to the playhead. The main difference being that it will trim the in or out point, and then leave a gap behind rather than rolling the edit point. It’s called “Trim to Playhead”. This is also one that is not already set up as a keyboard shortcut, so you must assign them. Just look for the commands: Trim In Point to Playhead and Trim Out Point to Playhead. I used Control+I and Control+O.

To do a trim to playhead, do the following:

  1. Target the tracks you wish to effect in the extend edit.
  2. Park the playhead where you want to trim the clip’s in or out
  3. point to.
  4. Press the appropriate keyboard shortcut (Control+I or Control+O).
  5. The clip’s in or out point then snaps to the playhead.

Want to trim with greater precision? Then you’ll want to be more familiar with the Trim Monitor.

Before you begin using the Trim Monitor for fine trimming, I like to set up the interface to loop with a keyboard shortcut. Looping is desirable because you can observe the cut a few times before deciding to add or subtract frames. To do so, go to the Keyboard Customization dialog, choose “Panels” and type in “Loop”. You should be able to find the proper command there. I assigned the shortcut to Alt+L (Command+L Mac OS).

Though you can trim with the mouse in this panel, I’ll be describing the keyboard driven workflow, most important to advanced editors.

Here’s how to work with the Trim Monitor:

  1. Park the playhead on or near any edit point.
  2. Press the T key, the Trim Monitor Launches.
  3. Press the Spacebar to begin looping playback. Audio and video will playback repeatedly. Evaluate the cut and decide if either the outgoing or incoming shot needs to have frames trimmed from it or if a roll trim needs to take place.
  4. To ripple trim the edit point, first select the correct side of the edit point you wish to trim. For a roll trim, select both sides of the edit point.
    • To set up a roll trim: press Alt+1 (Option+1 for Mac OS).
    • To set up a ripple trim for the outgoing shot: press Alt+2 (Option+2 for Mac OS).
    • To set up a ripple trim for the incoming shot: press Alt+3 (Option+3 for Mac OS).
    • Once you have set up the trim mode, you should see blue bars above and below the clip(s) you wish to trim.
  5. After the mode is set, choose the amount of frames you wish to trim.
    • To trim backward by one frame, press Alt+Left Arrow (Option+Left Arrow for Mac OS)
    • To trim backward by multiple frames, press Alt+Shift+Left Arrow (Option+Shift+Left Arrow for MacOS)
    • To trim forward by one frame, press Alt+Right Arrow (Option+Right Arrow for Mac OS)
    • To trim forward by multiple frames, press Alt+Shift+Right Arrow (Option+Shift+Right Arrow for MacOS)
  6. Press the Spacebar once more to begin looping playback. Evaluate the cut and repeat steps 4 and 5, if necessary.
  7. If you are satisfied with the cut, you can move to the next cut by pressing the Page Down key. Press the Page Up key to move to the previous cut.
  8. When your fine trimming is completed, close the Trim Monitor by pressing Control+W (Command+W for Mac OS).

Once you have internalized and practiced these keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be able to trim any clip just the way you want to. If you have any trim tips, be sure to place them in the comments and I’ll add them to the article.

14 Responses to Keyboard Shortcuts: Trimming with Premiere Pro (CS4, CS5, & CS5.5)

  1. Kevin… does this post give you the trim commands you and I have talked about on several occastions? I know you LOVE your trim commands… just wondering.

  2. John Wise says:

    Learning how to edit, this was a tremendously helpful set of tips!

  3. Tim Kane says:

    I’m an Avid, final cut, and smoke user and one of the main reasons I haven’t given Premier a test ride was because of its lack of customizable keyboard shortcuts. After being psyched to finally see this long overdue feature it didn’t take long to realize it’s loaded with bugs. First off, if you modify any default layouts (ie FPC or avid template) it immediately changes the template to custom, makes sense right? Now save that “custom” as you wish, (ie” Tims Keyboard shortcuts) now go and edit it some more and you’ll see it changes it once again to “custom” never allowing you to save over your already created set. What’s even more dangerous, that I found out the hard way, is if you change a template, and premier re-names the template “custom” and say you do a million changes like I did, if you go back to a default template and make a change it creates a second “custom” and blows away the previous one. (in my case one I’d spent an hour customizing). Other buggie issues are it seems to make a difference which template you modify as to what keys will work. I started off modifying the avid layout, as that’s the most similar to what I like, but when I tried mapping match frame to “M” it wouldn’t work. Ironically, “M” is the default shortcut in Premiers default layout, so why would it take issue with it? So, I start over, modify Premiers shortcuts to my liking, thus giving me the “M” for match frame shortcut. Also don’t understand why Premier, like final cut pro blows away transitions when doing an overwrite edit. Smoke and avid are smart enough to leave any transitions in place. I know you can do this with the “replace” command but you have to highlight the clip then hit the button, which I can’t even get to work via shortcuts unless I’m in the Premiere default set. As a professional editor for 20 years I’d say at least 9 out of 10 times when you overwrite a clip that has transitions you’ll want those transitions to stay in tact. Why the extra step? Perhaps I”m missing some things here. Feel free to enlighten me. I’m digging a lot of what this program has to offer but the keyboard shortcuts still fall far short .

  4. kmonahan says:

    Hi Tim,
    These are valid feature requests. Can you do me a favor? Please make a feature request/bug report on this feature. Copy/paste into the report would do just fine. Link is here:


  5. M. Jonker says:

    When I position the CTI at a cut in video layer 2 and press T, the trim monitor jumps to a nearby cut on layer 1. Then I have to select Video 2 in the trim monitor and navigate to the cut on layer 2 again. This can’t be right. What am I doing wrong?

    • kmonahan says:

      Yes, the Trim Monitor will choose the track that it is set by the Choose Audio or Video Track button. If you are trimming on a different track that you were previously trimming on, then yes, you’ll have to choose the new track and navigate to the desired edit point prior to trimming.

  6. Eric says:

    When I press the T key and then close the trim window, I cannot play the time line with the space bar or clicking the play button on the control bar. Any ideas of what is happening?

  7. Chad says:

    Love the “Trim In/Out to Playhead” function, but the downside of it is that it leaves a gap in the timeline. I wish there was a “Ripple In/Out to Playhead” type function (unless there already is).

  8. Brandon says:

    Thanks for this very helpful post. I’d love to figure out how to implement one more step in this workflow:

    I’m often editing long clips (interviews) where I’m mostly just cutting out junk so that I’m just left with the good/relevant material in the timeline. The add edit and Trim to functions work well for this, but what’s missing is an ability to ripple delete the gaps that are produced.

    In FCP6, I used Butler to create a keyboard combo that would “add edit, select all to previous edit, ripple delete”. This had the effect of very quickly lifting out the bad material and squishing the good material together again.

    Any idea how to accomplish that in PP?

    • kmonahan says:

      Here’s how I’d accomplish the same task.

      Select the tracks you wish to trim.
      Mark In where you are going to start the ripple delete.
      Mark Out where you end the ripple delete.
      Perform a ripple delete.

  9. Brandon says:

    Also, how can I make the Trim Monitor work with two tracks of synced video? (Again, with interviews) So that it trims them both equally (right now it only trims one)


    • kmonahan says:

      Make sure that the tracks are selected. The Trim Monitor will trim any tracks that are selected.