Mouse Scroll Wheel Behavior in Adobe Premiere Pro

The scroll wheel on the mouse can be useful to speeding up workflow in Premiere Pro, that is, if you know how to use it. This is especially true if you are switching to Premiere Pro from another application. For example, Final Cut Pro editors are used to using the scroll wheel to move the timeline vertically to see more tracks. In Premiere Pro, the scroll wheel moves the timeline horizontally. This may seem disorienting at first, but you should know that you can use the mouse to scroll vertically. To do this, hover the pointer over the scroll bars in the timeline, then use the scroll wheel on the mouse to move the timeline vertically.

The scroll wheel has an additional function, and that is zooming in and out of the timeline. Sure you can type the = and – keys to zoom into and out of the timeline, but if you hold down ALT (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and scroll with your mouse you can zoom in and out that way. Scrolling down with the modifier key enabled zooms out of the timeline while scrolling up zooms in.

Just a couple of tips for your scroll wheel that should save you time as you manipulate the timeline in Premiere Pro.

21 Responses to Mouse Scroll Wheel Behavior in Adobe Premiere Pro

  1. Colin Brougham says:

    While using the Alt key on Windows is convenient for putting the scroll wheel into sequence zoom mode, it has the annoying habit of enabling the application menus. So, if you hold down Alt to zoom in and then, let’s say, press the P key to activate the Pen tool, it won’t happen; instead, the Project menu will drop open. The same applies for other keys–letters that are menu accelerators or the Space Bar, for example–and it gets quickly annoying.

    Fortunately, there is a rather simple way to prevent this behavior. Instead of holding down just the Alt key, hold both the Alt key and the Ctrl key at the same time, and scroll the mouse wheel. When you release the keys after scrolling to zoom, the menus will not be active, and you can continue as usual.

    If you’re going to program your muscle memory to learn the scroll wheel zoom, do yourself a huge favor and train your keyboard hand to mash both the Ctrl and the Alt keys–it will save a great deal of frustration.

    I’m not sure if the same applies on Mac OS, but it may.

  2. kmonahan says:

    Cool, thanks for the tip Colin!

  3. Jon Barrie says:

    the (H) key will activate the Hand Tool to Click Drag the Timeline up down left or right. But I do feel that the Scroll Wheel functionality in FCP is more intuitive with a (Shift) modifier for scrolling back and forth on the timeline.
    – JB

  4. David says:

    Coming from FCP to Premiere, I’m aware of that some irritating ticks I have behind Premiere will go over in time but the scroll wheel really annoys me. It’s quite logical that one want to go up and down amongst tracks more often than scrolling sideways…!? Its like pushing a car sideways. Yes, it can be done but hey…!? The constant going back and forth to that pathetic little scrollbar to do the most common thing makes the whole GUI very, very mouse dependent. 1997ish.

  5. Nikolay Kuchumov says:

    This may seem disorienting at first, but you should know that you can use the mouse to scroll vertically. To do this, hover the pointer over the scroll bars in the timeline, then use the scroll wheel on the mouse to move the timeline vertically.

    Should have made a hotkey for that (something like shift + wheel)

  6. Shamil says:

    Is there a way to change this preset option and drop the Alt key altogether? It’s just one extra keystroke that I’d like to avoid.

    I can not find where I can assign the wheel to zoom in and out option. Is this an option at all?

  7. Chris says:

    I’m also venturing into the Adobe world from Final Cut, and even though I’m just dipping my toe into the water, what I’ve seen from Premiere is nothing short of amazing. It’s what Final Cut should have become if Apple cared about their customers more than their company image.

    While the scroll wheel thing is annoying, it’s really refreshing to see Adobe bending over backwards to try and address customer feedback — something Apple didn’t do well.

  8. Dave says:

    Colin, thank you so much for the ctrl+alt tip. As a switcher from FCP to Premiere, this was infuriating me.

  9. Kamil says:

    How to set up Premiere Pro CS5.5 that scrolling with mouse will be a scroll down and up on the timeline, not zoom like it is now. I want to scroll down/up with mouse scroll

    • kmonahan says:

      Hover your mouse over the vertical scroll bar and scroll the mouse wheel. You will then scroll up and down that way.

  10. Sean says:

    I just bought a touched based mouse for Windows and one of the reasons was because of the 4 way scrolling it allows me to do. I find it odd that Premiere doesn’t allow this. I would think that I should be able to scroll vertically AND horizontally.

  11. Jordan says:

    How do I increase the amount that it scrolls by? I have to scroll the wheel several times and it only moves the timeline along just a few pixels. I tried to increase the amount in the Windows preferences, but it didn’t make a difference.

    • kmonahan says:

      Bring your question to the forums:

    • Jan says:

      I’d like to know the answer to this question too.

      Jordan, I realized that if you hover your mouse over the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the timeline, and hold CTRL+scroll wheel it will go a bit faster… just have to muscle train to always aim the cursor on that horizontal scroll bar though. Don’t know if this is the right answer, but it works a bit better.

  12. Emilio Le Roux says:

    It’s an unexpected waste of logic that pressing down the middle wheel does nothing.
    All my braincells tell me that pressing the wheel should temporarily activate the ‘H’and.