DaVinci Resolve Quick Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Workflow

February 14th, 2024 Jump to Comment Section 3

Everybody loves little tricks to speed up their editing and post-production workflow, so here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for working in DaVinci Resolve.

These are the shortcuts that I use on every project. They have helped me to significantly speed up my editing (along with the Speed Editor) and deliver projects faster than before. Let us know below if there are any others you are missing from this list.

Shift-Z – toggling the timeline zoom

This is one of my most used shortcuts; I have even mapped this to a key on my Logitech MX Master 3X mouse (which also has a handy horizontal scroll wheel for moving through the timeline). Pressing Shift-Z will let you toggle the timeline zoom from the magnification you are at to a full timeline zoom and then back again. The full timeline zoom is especially helpful if you have a few clips parked at the end of the timeline that you may have forgotten about. These will show up in this zoom stage. 

The timeline zoomed in – Image credit: CineD
The timeline zoomed out after pressing Shift-Z – Image credit: CineD

Alt-Y – highlighting all clips after the playhead

This one is great for inserting clips or whole sections into an already-existing edit. Just place your playhead where you want to insert and press Alt-Y. Automatically, all the clips after the playhead are selected and you can move them to the right to make space. Careful though: clips that are also extending to the left of the playhead will also be selected (oftentimes this might be a music clip on an audio track that extends further to the left). Make sure to deselect this – by Alt-clicking it – and then move the clips you want.

Arrow keys and JKL

Using the arrow keys, you can move one frame forward or backward by using the right and left arrow keys or jump to the next or previous cut by pressing up or down. J will start rewinding the timeline or selected clip at normal speed, K will halt the playback, and L will start playing the timeline or clip at normal speed. By pressing J or L multiple times, you can increase the speed of the playback.

An important distinction: Backspace and Delete

Now here is one little detail that can trip up beginners and those switching from other programs. In a lot of other software, both the Backspace and the Delete buttons might have the same function, but not in Resolve. When highlighting a clip and pressing Backspace, only the selected clip will be deleted, leaving a gap in the timeline. Pressing Delete, on the other hand, will perform a Ripple Cut, not only deleting the selected clip but also the gap by sliding all clips that were to the right of that clip in the timeline to the left so the gap will be closed. 

This can, on one hand, come in handy because it saves you an extra click, but can also lead to unwanted deletion of clips and audio tracks directly above or below the selected clip. I mostly use Backspace on more complicated timelines and Delete only on rough cuts where I don’t have many tracks or overlays. 

I and O – and Alt-X

Pressing the I and O buttons on your keyboard lets you quickly set In and Out points in either the selected source clip or on the timeline itself. This is pretty handy but can also lead to confusion for beginners who will sometimes take to the forums and complain that parts of their timeline are greyed out and not available to render. To delete this, you can press Alt-X which will get rid of the In and Out points and make the whole timeline available to you again. 

Comma and full-stop

The comma and full-stop keys enable you to slide a selected clip forward or backward in single-frame increments – very useful when you are using fast cuts and have to time them perfectly.

Copy and pasting (attributes)

Just like in many other programs, copying and pasting are performed by pressing Cmd/Ctrl-C and Cmd/Ctrl-V respectively. But Resolve has another little copying functionality hidden behind the Alt-V key combination. This allows you to copy attributes from one clip to another. First, you select the clip that has the attributes you want (maybe a zoom or a crop or even an effect applied to it), press Cmd/Ctrl-C, and then select the clip you want the attributes copied to. Then you press Alt-V, which opens up a context window where you can then choose exactly which attributes you want copied over to the second clip.

In the Paste Attributes window, you can choose which parameters to copy over – Image credit: CineD

You don’t have to learn anything new!

Are you switching over from Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, or ProTools? You don’t want to learn all new shortcuts but keep on using the ones you have become familiar with? Resolve has you covered there, too! Simply go to the top menu and under “DaVinci Resolve” you will find the option “Keyboard Customization”. Choosing this will open a window and in the top right corner you can find a drop-down menu allowing you to choose the program that you are coming from. This will automatically reset all shortcuts to the ones used in these programs. 

The Keyboard Customization window in DaVinci Resolve – Image credit: CineD

In this window, you also have the option of assigning your own custom shortcuts or changing existing ones to other key combinations. You are fully flexible to customize your shortcuts in any way, shape, or form. This should make switching to Resolve a lot easier. 

Other Resolve articles from CineD

If you are new to DaVinci Resolve then also check out our article on learning resources here. If you are planning to upgrade to a new version of Resolve, make sure to read our guide to upgrading here.

Do you have any favorite shortcuts that are missing here? Which ones do you use most often? Let us know in the comments below.


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