Timeline trimming in Premiere Pro CS6

Most editors like to trim directly in the Timeline. Using tools and common techniques, it’s the easiest and one of the fastest ways to trim edits. This article shows you how to trim (ripple and roll edit) in the Timeline using keyboard shortcuts and other techniques in Premiere Pro CS6. Trimming clips without grabbing for the mouse repeatedly will definitely speed up your workflow.

For a detailed explanation of trimming in the Timeline using Premiere Pro CS6, including ripple and roll edits, see this Help article.

Timeline trimming is different in Premiere Pro CS6
Trimming in the Timeline in Premiere Pro CS6 is different than previous versions of Premiere Pro. In Premiere Pro CS6, edit points are selected and then trimmed using trim tools and keyboard shortcuts. In Premiere Pro CS5.5, and earlier, edit points did not need to be selected first, however, there were few keyboard shortcuts for trimming. Trimming was mouse-centric prior to Premiere Pro CS6.

Editors coming from other editing applications will find familiar techniques, but also more helpful keyboard shortcuts for Timeline trimming (like Ripple Trim to Playhead), that were formerly missing in programs, like Final Cut Pro.

Selecting edit points
You select edit points for clips in the Timeline prior to trimming using keyboard shortcuts. Though you can select edit points with the selection tool, or a trim tool using the mouse, you can also do so very quickly by using keyboard shortcuts. You know when an edit point is selected when the following occurs:

  • A thin red cursor is visible on the In or Out Point, representing a Trim In or Trim out selection.
  • A thin yellow cursor is visible on the In or Out Point, representing a Ripple Trim In or a Ripple Trim Out selection.
  • A thick red cursor is visible on the In and Out Points, representing a Roll selection.

Some keyboard shortcuts suggestions for "Select Nearest Edit"

Some keyboard shortcuts suggestions for “Select Nearest Edit”

Keyboard shortcuts for edit point selection

There are keyboard shortcuts for selecting edit points using keyboard shortcuts. Note that these operations are dependent on the playhead position and require that the proper tracks be targeted.
  • Use the following “Select Nearest Edit Point” keyboard shortcuts to select an edit point:
    • Select Nearest Edit Point as Ripple In
    • Select Nearest Edit Point as Ripple Out
    • Select Nearest Edit Point as Roll
    • Select Nearest Edit Point as Trim In
    • Select Nearest Edit Point as Trim Out
    • Go to Next Edit Point (with edit points remaining selected): Down key
    • Go to Previous Edit Point (with edit points remaining selected): Up key

Note: You will need to create custom keyboard shortcuts to use most of these keyboard shortcuts.

When using these shortcuts, if the playhead is not already at an edit point, it is moved to the nearest edit point either forward or backward. Then the edit points at the playhead on all targeted tracks are added to the current edit point selection, using the type of trim for the particular shortcut. You can use the menu item (or shortcut) for Edit > Deselect All to deselect edit points before using these shortcuts to start a new selection.

Toggle Trim Type
If an edit point is selected with the wrong trim type, you can toggle between the types of trims in the current edit point selection with a keyboard shortcut. Press Shift+T (Windows), or Ctrl+T (Mac OS) to cycle. The cycling order is Ripple Out, Ripple In, Trim Out, Trim In, and Roll Edit.

Performing a Timeline trim using keyboard shortcuts or numeric keypad entry
Once edit points are selected, trims using keyboard shortcuts can be performed in the Timeline two ways:

  • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to trim selected edit points to the right or the left by one or more frames.
  • Type frame amounts the numeric keypad with “+” and “‐” and the Enter key to trim all the selected edit points forward, or backward. You do not need to type the “+” sign when entering positive numbers.

Trim with keyboard shortcuts
The following keyboard shortcuts perform a trim whenever and edit is selected. If the full amount of the trim cannot be performed, the allowable amount is used and a tool tip indicates that the trim is blocked or limited by media or minimum duration. As you use keyboard shortcuts to trim in the Timeline, the frame will update in the Program Monitor at the position of the playhead. The Timeline view updates, as well.

  • Trim Backward and Trim Forward: Moves the edit points by one frame in the specified direction (left for backward, and right for forward). Press Ctrl + Left or Right (Windows), or Option + Left or Right (Mac OS).
  • Trim Backward Many and Trim Forward Many: Moves the edit points by five frames, or some other number of frames which is settable in the large trim offset preference. Press Ctrl + Shift + Left or Right (Windows), or Option + Shift + Left or Right (Mac OS).
  • Extend Selected Edit to Playhead: Moves the selected edit point which is nearest the playhead to the position of the playhead, much like a rolling edit. For an extend edit, press E.
  • Ripple Trim Previous Edit to Playhead and Ripple Trim Next Edit to Playhead: Ripple trims the previous or next edit point to the Playhead. Sometimes called “Top and Tails.”
  • Trim In Point to Playhead and Trim Out Point to Playhead: Trims the In or Out Point to the Playhead. This method of trimming leaves a gap behind and does not need edit points to be selected.

Trim with numeric keypad entry
You can specify a numeric offset using the numeric keypad whenever there is an active edit point selection. When the Timeline is active, the current timecode indicator on the left becomes a text box that shows the numbers that are typed on the numeric keypad. The “+” key moves the trim forward to the right, increasing in time. The “­‐” key moves the trim backward to the left, decreasing in time. The numeric offset is typically a small number of frames, so any number from 1 to 99 is treated as frames. If you want to specify a timecode, then use the numeric period key “.” to separate the minute:second:frame parts for timecode entry. Press the numeric keypad Enter key to perform the trim using all of the currently selected edit points.

This video from reTooled.net shows trimming with numeric keypad entry (near the beginning of the video).

Slip and Slide edits in the Timeline using keyboard shortcuts
To many editors, a slip or slide edit is basically a trimming maneuver. Many editors create slip and slide edits by simply dragging with the slip and slide tools directly in the Timeline. That’s fine, but there are ways to make a slip or slide edit by using keyboard shortcuts. Just select the clip, and then press the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • To slip an edit to the right by one frame, press Ctrl + Alt + Right (Windows) or press Option + Command + Right (Mac OS)
  • To slip an edit to the right by five frames, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Right (Windows) or press Option + Shift + Command + Right (Mac OS)
  • To slip an edit to the left by one frame, press Ctrl + Alt + Left (Windows) or press Option + Command + Left (Mac OS)
  • To slip an edit to the left by five frames, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Left (Windows) or press Option + Shift + Command + Left (Mac OS)
  • To slide an edit to the right by one frame, press (Windows) or press Option + . (period) (Mac OS)
  • To slide an edit to the right by five frames, press (Windows) or press Option + Shift + . (period) (Mac OS)
  • To slide an edit to the left by one frame, press (Windows) or press Option + , (comma) (Mac OS)
  • To slide an edit to the left by five frames, press (Windows) or press Option + Shift + , (comma) (Mac OS)

Mouse tips
Though you will speed up trimming by using keyboard shortcuts alone, there are certain times you may want to use the mouse for edit point selection and trimming. Of course, dragging with the mouse using a Ripple Edit tool or the Rolling Edit tool will perform a trim based on those tools. Here are some tips for using the mouse while trimming in the Timeline.

  • With the mouse, you can select any edit with a trim tool, and then trim by entering a frame offset with the numeric keypad, or by using keyboard shortcuts for trimming frame by frame or by large trim offset.
  • With the mouse, you can Shift select multiple edit points, and then trim by entering a frame offset with the numeric keypad, or by using keyboard shortcuts for trimming frame by frame or by large trim offset.
  • Right click (Windows) or Control click (Mac OS) any edit point with the mouse and you’ll have the following options:
    • Ripple Trim In
    • Ripple Trim Out
    • Roll Edit
    • Trim In
    • Trim Out
    • Apply Default Transitions
  • With the mouse, press the Shift key to select
Note: You can change the large trim offset amount in Preferences > Trim.
Checking your edits
After making a trim in the Timeline, you can watch it play back before committing to the edit and moving on to the next task. Many editors simply click the Playhead and drag it back, then press Play to evaluate the edit. This is fine, but too slow and cumbersome, in my opinion. I was taught to call this technique, “loop before you leave!” I play while looping around the new edit point a few times to ensure the timing and rhythm feel right. When working in trim mode, the edit loops automatically. You really do want to have this capability in the Timeline, as well. Here are some tips to monitor your edits after you’ve made a trim.
  • Set In and Out points around your edit so that you can use Play In to Out, or press Ctrl + Shift + Space (Windows), or press Option + K (Mac OS).
  • If you don’t want to set In and Out points, park the Playhead on the edit and then use the Play Around command, or press Shift + K.
  • Click the “Loop” button so you can see your edit play back a few times. You can find the command in the panel menu. You can also set a custom keyboard shortcut for Loop in the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog.
Note: If you want buttons for Play In to Out, Play Around, or Loop commands, add them with the Button Editor. Play Around pre-roll and post-roll can be adjusted in Preferences > Playback. I like to view around 2 seconds of footage before and after an edit as it loops.
Note that it’s completely possible to trim an edit as it is looping during playback, however, this technique is not officially supported. That said, this was a technique I used to use frequently in other NLEs. For more information on trimming in the Timeline while looping playback, see this article by Clay Asbury on the Premium Beat website.

Spend some time creating and experimenting with keyboard shortcuts for trimming. Also, try trimming without using the mouse at all. With enough practice and repetition, you’ll be speeding up your trimming workflow like nobody’s business!

7 Responses to Timeline trimming in Premiere Pro CS6

  1. Minlian says:

    can I trim or remove those empty space in the timeline so that I can shorten the timeline? I don’t mean the space between the clips but the space which is still left after all the clips have been place in the timeline

  2. kmonahan says:

    Can you bring your question to the Premiere Pro forum? Thanks.

  3. Loren says:

    Excellent info, Kevin. Nice video from Josh as well. I’m a huge proponent of wiring form the keyboard, but the mousing power moves are also useful.

    @minilan- I see no Close Gap command available either default or unmapped, so it’s likely you’ll have to mark the gap with I-O and ripple delete it with Option-Delete. Kevin may have another way.

  4. Derek says:

    It would be really nice if I could just select a clip with the keyboard, and then position the playhead where I want either the in or out point of the clip to be and use a certain keyboard short to extend/shorten the clip to playhead.

    Incite Editor has the best keyboard shortcuts hands down for timeline editing and I wish Adobe would have the same options. In Incite all I would have to do is put the playhead over the clip, hit S on the keyboard, then move the playhead to were I want either the In or the Out point of the clip to be, and then hit Q to extend/shorten the In point, or hit W to extend/shorten the Out point. It makes timeline editing so quick.

    • kmonahan says:

      Sounds like a ripple trim to playhead. Does that not work the way you expect it to? It’s a feature new to CS6 and sounds like just the ticket for you.

      • Randy Cates says:

        I’m with Derek, if I’m not mistaken the ripple pulls the clips around it to your new trim point. I like he, would like to only affect the clip that’s selected, the way After Effects let’s you snap the in or out point of a selected clip to the playhead position.

        I’d also like a feature (again like AE) that snaps the selected clip (present in/out points unchanged) to the playhead.

        If these features exist I’m confused as to what they’re called or how they relate to the features in AE. A tut comparing these two features between AE and Premiere would be huge for veteran AE users. I’m presently grabbing my clips and physically sliding them to my desired in or out point.

        I’d create a keyboard shortcut to match the keys in AE (for consistency between apps) but I don’t even know what the same feature (if it exists) is called in Premiere CS6.

        • kmonahan says:

          Hi Randy,
          If you don’t want to ripple other clips, you can select an In or Out point with the Selection tool and press the E key. That will extend the edit to the playhead and leave a gap behind. That is one form of an Extend edit.

          You can also select an edit with the Roll tool and extend both sides of the edit to the playhead by pressing E. This will extend the edit to the playhead and fill the gap with media from the adjoining clip. Another form of Extend edit.

          AE has the previous trimming function with the bracket keys. The Extend edit with the Roll tool has no equivalent in AE. The 2 clips adjoin in a Premiere Pro video track, while in AE layers cannot be adjoined in the same way.

          There is no way that I know of to move a clip to the playhead in either application.

          Further questions? Come to the forum: http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/premierepro_current

          Feature request: http://www.adobe.com/go/wish