Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 1: Tools

Hey! This is the first lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on Tools. We’ll go through pretty much every keyboard shortcut in Media Composer in this series.

If you’ve taken either of my quizzes (Quiz 1 and Quiz 2) and/or you are interested in becoming a faster, more efficient editor than this series is for you. Each lesson we’ll tackle a handful of shortcuts. We’ll go through what the shortcut is and for some I’ll comment on the tool, function or whatever the keyboard shortcut does based on my experience using Avid Media Composer hour after hour over the past decade.

Okay, enough talking. Let’s get into our first lesson!

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcuts for Tools Recap

There are a bunch of tools in Media Composer. There’s the Audio Mixer, Audio EQ, Composer, Effect Editor, Media Tool and more. Ten (10!) of them have simple shortcuts. In this lesson we’ll cover them.

Audio Tool

Audio Tool in Avid
Audio Tool

Cmd+1 (Mac) | Ctrl+1 (PC)

The Audio Tool shows the audio levels (how loud or soft it is) in visual form. Once you hit play the Audio Tool goes up and down based on the audio that’s being played at that frame. There’s a small sideways Audio Tool at the top of the Timeline. However the normal Audio Tool makes it much easier to see. I tend to always have this tool open.

Calculator Tool

Calculator in Avid

Cmd+2 (Mac) | Ctrl+2 (PC)

Did you know Media Composer had a calculator? This isn’t your ordinary calculator either. This calculator counts timecode!

Command Palette

Command Palette in Avid
Command Palette

Cmd+3 (Mac) | Ctrl+3 (PC)

The Command Palette is where you go to find every button and just about any action in Media Composer. Here’s a post I wrote for Avid (yes, that Avid) about how to use the Command Palette to customize keyboard shortcuts. Can you tell I really like shortcuts?


Composer in Avid

Cmd+4 (Mac) | Ctrl+4 (PC)

These are the Source and Record Monitors.

Media Creation

Media Creation Tool in Avid
Media Creation

Cmd+5 (Mac) | Ctrl+5 (PC)

This is where you go to set defaults for new media. If you have multiple drives hooked up your media can be created to any of them. Standard operating procedure for me is right after launching Media Composer I open up Media Creation and set which hard drive I want to create media to.


Console Keyboard Shortcut in Avid

Cmd+6 (Mac) | Ctrl+6 (PC)

You can do some serious damage in the Console if you don’t know what you’re doing. Do not use it unless you are 100% certain you know what you’re entering. There’s a purpose for it but over the years I’ve only used it a handful of times (each time holding my breath). You don’t need to use the Console for 99.9% of video projects. Seriously, don’t use it unless you know what you’re doing.

Capture Tool

Capture Tool Keyboard Shortcut in Avid

Cmd+7 (Mac) | Ctrl+7 (PC)

I miss capturing. Capturing is when you use a deck to bring media into Media Composer. Today it’s almost a forgotten art form. Unless you have a deck, you probably will not need this.

Effect Palette

Effect Palette Keyboard Shortcut in Avid
Effect Palette

Cmd+8 (Mac) | Ctrl+8 (PC)

The Effect Palette is where you access all the available effects in Media Composer. 3D Warps, Timewarps, Paint Effects, Horizontal Wipes and a ton more are there.


Project Window in Avid

Cmd+9 (Mac) | Ctrl+9 (PC)

The Project window will always be open if a project is open. If you click the X in the Project window the project you’re in will close and you’ll be taken back to the project selector home screen. In the Project window you can access your Bins, adjust settings, get to the Effect Palette (I still like using the shortcut to bring it up in it’s own window better) and more.


Timeline Keyboard Shortcut in Avid

Cmd+0 (Mac) | Ctrl+0 (PC)

The Timeline is the lifeblood of your project. This shows what’s in the Source or Record Monitor. I wrote a post for Screenlight about how to customize your timeline. I highly recommend it! Read it here.

What’s next in the Master Avid Keyboard Shortcut Series

That’s it for Lesson 1 on the keyboard shortcuts in Avid Media Composer on ToolsClick here to go to Lesson 2 or click here to be taken to the information page with all the lessons.If you’re looking for a challenge and think you’re ready check out the Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts Exam. Are you a keyboard shortcut master?Any questions? Leave a comment below or go here to shoot me a private message.


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