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Navigating in the Timeline

When you create a 90-minute video in a Timeline that measures about 4 inches by 8 inches on your monitor (smaller with notebooks), you need to be facile at zooming in and out, moving around, and arranging (and rearranging) Timeline components.

As with most panels in Premiere Pro, you can maximize the Timeline within the application by pressing the accent key (`) on the keyboard (to the left of the 1 key and directly above the Tab key). Let’s cover some of the most common navigational tools and techniques specific to the Timeline.

To zoom in and out on the Timeline

Do one or more of the following:

  • Grab one edge of zoom bar at the bottom of the Timeline or Program Monitor a_icon.jpg. The pointer turns into a pointer with two arrows. Drag the edge toward the middle to zoom in on the Timeline (and show more detail); drag out from the middle to zoom out and show less detail.

    Click to view larger image

    a_icon.jpg Zooming in with the zoom bar.

  • Click the Zoom tool (Z) in the Tools panel b_icon.jpg. Navigate to the spot on the Timeline that you’d like to zoom in on, and click as many times as necessary to achieve the desired level of zoom c_icon.jpg. To zoom back out, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) d_icon.jpg. When you’re done, click the Selection tool in the Tools panel (or press V) e_icon.jpg.

    b_icon.jpg Choosing the Zoom tool (press Z).


    Click to view larger image

    c_icon.jpg Click the region that you want to zoom in on.


    Click to view larger image

    d_icon.jpg Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) to zoom out.


    e_icon.jpg Choosing the Selection tool (press V).

  • Click the Zoom tool (Z) in the Tools panel grey_b_icon.jpg. Drag a marquee around the area of the Timeline you’d like to zoom in on f_icon.jpg. When you’re done, click the Selection tool in the Tools panel (or press V) grey_e_icon.jpg.

    f_icon.jpg Use the Zoom tool to drag a marquee around the area you want to zoom in on.

  • When you’re zoomed in on the Timeline and want to quickly zoom out and see the entire project, press the backslash (\) key; press it again to return to your initial zoom level.

Adjusting audio and video track space

At various points in a project, you may want to work on video and ignore audio, or vice versa. If you have enough audio or video tracks, some will move out of view in some Timeline configurations. Let’s cover some adjustments and navigational tools designed to assist editing in these circumstances.

To reallocate space between video and audio tracks

  1. In the track header area of the Timeline, position the pointer over the dividing line between the video and audio tracks until the height adjustment pointer g_icon.jpg appears.

    Click to view larger image

    g_icon.jpg Hover your pointer over the line between the video and audio tracks. The adjustment pointer appears.

  2. Drag downward to hide audio tracks and maximize space for video editing h_icon.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    h_icon.jpg Drag downward to maximize video area.

  3. Drag upward to hide the video tracks and maximize space for audio editing i_icon.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    i_icon.jpg Drag upward to maximize audio area.

To show hidden audio or video tracks

  1. Select the textured grab area of the vertical zoom bar to the right of the video or audio tracks j_icon.jpg. No special pointer will appear (note on the left that only video tracks V1–V4 are showing).

    Click to view larger image

    j_icon.jpg Grab the vertical zoom bar in the textured grab area. No special pointer will appear.

  2. Drag upward or downward as required k_icon.jpg. (Note that video tracks V7–V9 are now visible.)

    Click to view larger image

    k_icon.jpg Drag upward or downward to reveal more tracks.

Moving around in Premiere Pro

We’re almost done with these navigational tasks, but there’s one more concept to cover: the difference between the viewing window and the location of the playhead. The viewing window is the region in the Timeline that’s open for viewing. In previous tasks, you’ve learned to expand and contract the viewing window and to show and hide the video and audio tracks within it, but not how to move within the window (though I’m guessing that you figured it out for yourself).

To move the viewing window

Grab the textured area on the zoom bar beneath the Timeline and drag it left or right m_icon.jpg.


Click to view larger image

m_icon.jpg To move the viewing window, drag the zoom bar.

Premiere Pro adjusts the viewing window to the selected location.

To move the playhead

Do one or more of the following:

  • Drag the playhead to the desired location.
  • Use the playback controls in the Program Monitor to play the video to the desired location.
  • Press the Home key to move the playhead to the start of the sequence.
  • Press the End key to move the playhead to the end of the sequence.
  • Press the Left and Right Arrow keys to move the playhead frame by frame (or audio time unit by audio time unit) within the sequence.
  • Press the Up and Down Arrow keys to move the playhead from edit point to edit point in the sequence (essentially, clip to clip).
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