Knowing keyboard shortcuts and committing them to our muscle memory means that we can rip through all the tedious repetitive tasks that naturally come with video editing and refocus our attention and our creative genius on crafting a story. Here are some of the top DaVinci Resolve keyboard shortcuts.
The Top DaVinci Resolve Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know!
I'm about to let you in on my most used keyboard shortcuts for the Edit page in DaVinci Resolve. Let's speed up your workflow.
First up let's look at transport controls, that's your play, pause, fast forward and rewind options. You could click the options under the video, as shown above, but that takes time, it's not efficient. It's better to commit some of the most used keystrokes to memory.
|Play / Pause||Spacebar|
|Pause while playing||K|
|Skip forward one frame||Hold K and press L|
|Skip forward several frames||Hold K and press L to skip through as many frames as needed|
|Rewind (go back)||Hold K and press J|
|Play up to 64x speed||While paused, hit L as many times as required|
|Rewind up to 64x speed||While paused, hit J as many times as required|
Another bonus keyboard tip for quickly navigating a timeline full of selects, or any timeline really, is Command plus or Command minus to zoom in or out of the timeline, respectively. This helps you get in nice and close to make precise edits but you also need to quickly zoom back out to take in the full picture.
Navigating the Timeline
Hitting Command plus the arrow keys will let you select clips on your timeline and navigate effortlessly between each clip. If you've clicked into the timeline and you have no clips selected, pressing Command left or Command right will select the clip directly to the left or right of the play head.
If you have multiple clips stacked in that position, it will target the top clip on either the left or the right.
Holding Command and hitting down will select the clip below, left will move left, right will move right, and so on. If you want to select a clip and then move it up or down within your layer stack, that's simple to do on your keyboard as well.
Making sure you have a clip selected either using that last keyboard tip or by clicking one you can hold Option and hit up or down to move the clip up or down respectively. You can easily do this with your mouse as well, but often if you do want to move up or down within the stack then you want it to be framed perfectly, not to drop out of sync. If you do this with the mouse you risk moving it left to right a couple of frames by mistake, and by holding Option and pressing up or down you're removing that margin of error.
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Let's move on to some actual editing now. If you've come from Premiere Pro, Final Cut, or another editing suite, then you might be familiar with something called an add edit. This lets you map a single keystroke that will create a cut through all of the layers where the play head is. This is my favourite way of creating edits, especially when beginning to build a project at the select stage.
DaVinci Resolve has this capability as well, they call it the Razor tool. The slow mouse version of this is to select the blade icon or with B on your keyboard, then to click the parts of the clip that you want to add an edit to. However, this is not very precise. You have a higher margin for error in where you place that cut and if your layers aren't linked then you have to click multiple times to add edits across all of your media.
Here's a better way to do it. Place your play head over the part of the timeline that you want to add your edit to either with your mouse or via the transport controls you learned earlier. Hit Command B on your keyboard and you've added an edit. If you don't want to add an edit to all layers, say for instance, you don't want to cut a music track then simply lock whatever tracks you don't want to be affected.
A common exercise when making selects is to cut out sections of footage that you know you're not going to use. It could be an outtake, a sneeze, or a weird blink, or maybe someone walking in the background. Whatever it is you would usually find where that part of footage begins and you'd add your edit. We would do that with Command B, and then you'd find the part where it finishes, and you'd add your edit again. You'd select that part of the clip with the mouse, then hit Backspace to delete that piece of the clip. Sometimes you'll want to close that gap as well, which you can do by clicking in the gap - we call this a ripple - and hitting backspace to delete it.
Clearly, that's a long process and we can definitely speed that up. First of all, you can hit the Delete key or Shift Backspace if you have a small keyboard without a dedicated delete key. That will delete the piece of unwanted footage and it will close that ripple as well, but the real pro way of doing it is like this.
Find the start of the piece of footage you wish to remove and hit Command B to add your edit. Then navigate to the end of that piece of footage that you want to delete, but instead of hitting Command B again, this time hit Command Shift and open bracket. That will add the edit, delete the piece of footage you want to remove and close the gap all in one fell swoop!
Command Shift close bracket is also a helpful tool if you want to cut off the end of a clip. Let's say that you know that this is where you want your clip to end and that anything beyond the point is unusable or not useful for you. Hit Command Shift close bracket and boom, it's gone.
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The last really quick tip I use constantly when creating edits in DaVinci Resolve is the paste attributes function. Let's say we're happy with selects in our edit but want to avoid jump cuts, and we'll do that by punching in on our 4K footage to create a tighter frame and a second angle. This is a common editing technique but also a little time consuming when having to replicate that punch in for each piece of footage... or so you'd think.
Create the punch in effects that you're happy with in the Inspector on your first piece of footage as above, then use Command C to copy that clip. Select the next clip that you want to share that same punching effect with and hit Option V.
This will bring up the Paste Attributes dialogue box.
Make sure Video Attributes is checked to copy over all of the video attributes, and hit okay. Easy. Want to do it for multiple clips? All you need to do is select all of the clips by holding Command and clicking the ones that you want, then paste those attributes following the same process as before.
Now You Know!
So there we go, some really simple but really effective DaVinci Resolve keyboard shortcuts that you can learn and commit to memory to speed up your workflow; particularly in the Edit tab. Learning keyboard shortcuts can seem time consuming and sometimes a bit overwhelming - there are a lot to remember! - but just start with some simple ones that you'll use most often, and before you know it you'll be doing them without even thinking about it, then you can start to learn some more, and on until you've got everything you need at your fingertips.
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Want to find out more about DaVinci Resolve, or see some great templates to help inspire your editing? Give these a whirl.
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About the Authors
Tom Graham created this video lesson. Tom is a multi-skilled content creator with a background in commercial filmmaking. Marie Gardiner wrote the text version of this lesson. Marie is a writer, author, and photographer. It was edited by Gonzalo Angulo. Gonzalo is an editor, writer and illustrator.