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How to Find Your Way Around in Premiere Pro, a Tour for Beginners

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Read Time: 6 min

In this lesson from David Bode's free Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorial you will learn about the general layout of Premiere Pro so that you understand the basic layout of the software before you dive into using it.

The Welcome Pop-up

When you open Premiere Pro by default it starts with a little pop-up window which shows you recent projects, gives you an option to create a new project or open an existing project, to learn some aspect of the program or just exit the program. You may also tick the little box here to either show or turn off this welcome at startup.

Interface Elements

1. Workspace

When you open up your project in Premiere Pro, it should look something like this window.

If it doesn't, go to Window > Workspace > Editing. Then Window > Workspace > Reset to Saved Layout. This will reset the position of all the panels and all the windows so that it looks just like it does in the screenshot below.


2. Menu


Now let's go over the menu. You'll see File, Edit, Clip, Sequence, Markers, Graphics and Titles, View, Window, and Help. A lot of these menu items and features in the menu are redundant and can be performed by pressing a button in Premiere's interface, using a keyboard shortcut, or with a different context menu in one of the panels. However the menu is a good resource to use if you're trying to do something in Premiere, and you can't quite figure it out. You can look through the menu and see if the action or the function you're looking for is in there.

The window menu also gives you access to all of the panels in Premiere's interface, and you'll find that you'll need to go in here from time to time to make some of these panels visible.

3. Auto Save

Before we leave menu, go to Premiere ProPreferences. This preferences dialogue contains all of the main preferences in Premiere that you may want to set under headings like General, Appearance, Audio, Audio hardware, etc. For now the only one you are going to set is Auto Save.

Auto Save is a really important preference to check On so that if anything happens with your project, you won't lose your work. Set to automatically save every five minutes and set maximum project versions to ten. As you can see there's also an option to save backup projects to Creative Cloud if you're a Creative Cloud user.

4. Panels

Premiere Pro's main interface is broken up into panels, which are organised in the main application window in an arrangement called a workspace, as mentioned before.

Premiere offers a few preset workspaces, which is basically different arrangements of panels according to the work you are doing or your preferences. You can also create your own custom workspace.  

All the panels in the workspace are repositionable and resizable, so you can move them around based on your preferred way of working and save the new layout using Window > Workspace > Save As New Workspace, so that you can access it again later.


If you move the panels around and find that you messed up the layout, you can just go to Window > Workspace > Editing. Then Window > Workspace > Reset to Saved Layout to return to the default workspace. 

Each Panel offers a context menu for doing things like closing the panel, closing the panel group, and so on. If you right click in the panel, it'll bring up a menu with all kinds of different features. Additionally, there's also a little wrench icon, which also has menu items.


As you click around the interface, the panel that is currently selected will be highlighted in blue. This is important because some of the menu items at the top are not available if you have the wrong panel selected. In the example below, the tools in the clip menu are greyed out, indicating they are not available because the the tool panel is selected not the clip panel.


It is also important that you select the right item in that panel to gain full access to the menu. For example, if I'm in the timeline panel and I want to access the clip menu, I won't be able to do so if I don't have a clip selected.

Frequently Used Panels

Let's go over some of the panels that you're going to be using the most. Look for the blue frame around the panel which identifies the panel we're discussing.

Program Monitor

The program monitor is a panel that plays back the sequence of clips that you are assembling. So basically, the program monitor is the display of your timeline panel or the sequence that you are currently working on. 

Program MonitorProgram MonitorProgram Monitor

Sequence / Timeline Panel

The sequence or timeline panel is where you work on your sequences. 

Sequence Panel/Timeline PanelSequence Panel/Timeline PanelSequence Panel/Timeline Panel

Source Monitor

The source monitor is a panel that plays back individual clips. You can use the source monitor to prepare your clips before you add them to your sequence in the timeline window.

Source MonitorSource MonitorSource Monitor

Project Panel

The project panel contains all of the assets you're going to use for your project. It's where you can organise those assets so that they are easy to find.

Project PanelProject PanelProject Panel

Audio Panel

The audio panel displays the audio level meter.

Audio PanelAudio PanelAudio Panel

Effects Panel

The effects panel is one of the tabs found in the project panel. The effects panel contains all of the audio and the video effects contained in Premiere. It's where you'll find all of the basic native effects that shipped with Premiere Pro and any third-party effects.

Effects PanelEffects PanelEffects Panel

Effects Controls Panel

If you add one of the effects found in the effects panel to your project, you will find it listed in the effects control panel where you can change the parameters of those effects.

Effects Controls PanelEffects Controls PanelEffects Controls Panel

Media Browser Panel

You'll find the media browser panel in one of the project panel tabs. From the media browser panel you can navigate to your computer file system and import your clips and other assets into Premiere.

Media Browser PanelMedia Browser PanelMedia Browser Panel

Info Panel

The info panel is another one of the tabs in the project panels. If you click on a clip in the timeline, you can see some info about that clip there.

Info PanelInfo PanelInfo Panel

Markers Panel

If you drop a marker in your timeline, you can add some notes about it in the marker panel to help you stay organized.

Markers PanelMarkers PanelMarkers Panel

History Panel

The history panel shows you what you've done so far in your project.

History PanelHistory PanelHistory Panel

The Audio Clip Mixer 

The audio clip mixer is where you can change the audio levels for individual clips. 

The Audio Clip Mixer The Audio Clip Mixer The Audio Clip Mixer 

Metadata Panel

And then there is the metadata panel, where you can see all the metadata listed for this clip in the timeline. 

Metadata PanelMetadata PanelMetadata Panel

There's certainly a lot more to know about these interfaces and menus, but those are all the basic tools and that you need to know in order to use Premiere Pro effectively. Congrats, you just started learning Premiere Pro!

More Premiere Pro Resources

Here are more top free Premiere Pro tutorials and resources to try from Envato:

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