Utilizing Keyboard Shortcuts: Speeding up Windows Movie Maker

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Modifier Keys

Windows Media Maker is designed to be an easy to use program for novice video editors to put together digital video projects quickly. One way many more complicated non-linear editing software packages have made the editing process quicker and more intuitive is by utilizing modifier keys. These are keyboard shortcuts that allow a function to be executed simply by pressing a key combination instead of navigating the menu system to find the appropriate selection. Windows Movie Maker also has a few of its own quick key shortcuts for some of the most common tools.

File Options

To create a new project you press Control and N. If you are looking to quickly open an existing project you select Control and O. If you want to save your editing project really quickly you press Control and S, and if you want to select Save As you can just hit the F12 key. If you are looking to save an actual movie file you hit Control and P. Most of these combinations are easy to remember because they are Control and then the first letter of the function.


To Capture video into the project you press Control and R, and if you want to import a media file into one of the Collections folders in your project, you just hit Control and I.


If you want to undo an action in the video project you select Control and Z, and if you want to redo an action you press Control and Y. To cut a media clip you highlight the clip and press Control and X. If you want to copy the selection you press Control and C, and to paste it you press Control and V.


While editing you may need to select all available files in the Timeline or a Collection, and you do this by pressing Control and A. If you want to rename a clip you simply hit F2. To clear the entire Timeline you can quickly click Control and Delete. If you are in the Timeline view and want the Storyboard view you press Control and T, and the same if you want to switch from Storyboard to Timeline. If you want to zoom in to the Timeline for a closer view you press Page Up, and if you want to zoom out you press Page Down. If you want to zoom so that the entire sequence fits in the viewable Timeline you push F9.

Clip Work

If you want the preview monitor to display in the full screen mode then you can press Alt and Enter. To add a clip directly to the Timeline use Control and D. If you want to split a clip you press Control and L. To set a starting trim point in a clip you can press Control, Shift, and I, and to set an end point you press Control, Shift, and O. To clear trim points you use Control, Shift, and Delete. To combine two clips you highlight the two clips and hit Control and M.

Play Options

To play a clip or sequence you just hit the Spacebar, and to stop it from playing you use Control and K. To play the Timeline you click Control and W, and to rewind the Timeline you use Control and Q.

Use Them

Memorizing and using these quick keys can make your editing process run quite a bit more smoothly, and you may be able to get a lot more done in a fixed period of time. Trying using them instead of standard menus, and see if it helps you along.

This post is part of the series: Windows Movie Maker

This series of articles cover the different tools in Window’s on-board editing program, Windows Movie Maker, teaching you all you need to customize your video production.

  1. Introduction to Windows Movie Maker
  2. An Overview of Windows Movie Maker
  3. Seven Functions of Windows Movie Maker
  4. How to Import Video Into Windows Movie Maker
  5. How To Alter Audio in Windows Movie Maker
  6. Using Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows Movie Maker
  7. Organizing Your Editing Projects in Windows Movie Maker
  8. How to Make Freeze Frames in Windows Movie Maker
  9. Editing Clips in Windows Movie Maker
  10. Video Effects and Transitions in Windows Movie Maker
  11. How to Back Up Collections in Windows Movie Maker
  12. How to Use AutoMovie in Windows Movie Maker
  13. File Types Supported by Windows Movie Maker
  14. Video Export Options in Windows Movie Maker