Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Beginner's Guide to Adobe Premiere

This resource guide is a beginner's tutorial to using Adobe Premiere, which is downloaded on every computer in the Library Media Labs as well as in the Jerome Liebling Center Computer Labs.

Getting Started

When you open Adobe Premiere, this window will pop up. Choose "New Project."

(Team projects allow collaborators to work simultaneously on projects across Adobe platforms, but they are not supported in the Library Media Labs) 

The New Project prompt will appear. You can name your project here. 

Choose "Browse" to choose where your project and subsequent files will be saved. If you are working in the Media Labs, be sure to save your work only onto the storage drives. You won't need to change the general or ingest settings. 

Set the scratch disks so that everything saves to the same location as your project. 

Click "Ok" to open your new project. 

Your workspace may or may not look like this:

Depending on what you are editing, you may want your workspace to look different. You can always click and drag the top of the windows/panels to rearrange them. 

Go to the menu bar and click "Window" to customize and rearrange your workspace. 

These are the main windows you will be working with to edit your videos:

  • Audio Meters - Monitors how loud your audio is
  • Effects - Shows all of the available audio and video effects and transitions
  • Effect Controls - Allows you to fine tune your edits and effects
  • Program Monitor - This window lets you view what is in your timeline
  • Projects > [your project name].prproj - A library of your imported media
  • Source Monitor - A window that screens individual clips and imported media
  • Timeline - The space where you will place and edit your video and audio
  • Tools - Useful tools for editing

If you go to "Workspaces" you will find preset workspaces with customized panels. If you choose "Edit Workspaces," you can customize the windows/panels yourself for your own use and save as a new workspace or save the changes to the current workspace. 


There are a couple of different ways to import media into your projects. 


Go to File > Import at the menu bar or (Cmd I)                  OR                 Double click on the empty space of your Project window to import.


Another way of importing media is using the media browser which allows you to navigate your devices, computer, desktop, storage drive, flash drive, SD card to easily click and drag media. 

Premiere is compatible with many media file format types, including many DSLR native formats. 

You can import video, audio, and still images. 

For a full list of supported file types in Premiere go to this link


Your project window is where all your media gets stored.

You can just click and drag the files you want to edit onto your timeline. 

This will automatically create a new sequence with the dimensions and settings of your dragged media. 

In some cases (eg. working with media with different resolutions or mixed mediums) you will not want your sequence settings to be the same as your imported media. If that is the case, reach out to the Media Labs staff for support on what the best sequence settings for your project might be. 

The highlighted icon gives you options for creating a new item.

You can create multiple "sequences" that are essentially two different timelines to edit separate parts or export separately within one project. This is useful so things don't get so cluttered. The sequences appear on the top of your timeline. 

The new sequence will appear in yout projects window identifiable with this icon at the bottom corner: 

Video and audio will appear with these icon of film reel and a waveform: 



There are some useful options to the left of every video and audio channel on your timeline. 

  • Click the padlock to prevent changes to a select channel. 
  • Click the eyeball to make a channel visible or invisible. 
  • Click the M to mute an audio channel. 
  • Click the S (solo) to mute all other audio channel but the one selected. 
  • The leftmost V1 and A1 blue squares signify that these are the primary channels that you are working from (called source patching in premiere). The only time you would ever change it is if you are pasting* clips/audio or using Cmd K to cut clips (rather than the razor tool) in particular channels. Whenever you paste something, it will automatically be pasted into the channel with source patching. Any clips/audio in the channels marked as source patching will get included in the slicing when using Cmd K (unless a specific clip is selected). You can click to turn on or off source patching.

*IMPORTANT: You will always paste starting from the blue cursor, clips will paste overtop other clips, essentially deleting them. You must move the blue cursor by dragging the head along the timeline ruler until it is one a space without clips.  



Click and drag your newly imported media into the timeline. This will automatically create a Sequence that has the same dimensions and settings as the dragged media. One the top left of the timeline window is where your sequences will appear. This is particularly useful to make precise edits within your project with less of the clutter of your whole project timeline. You can close them by the "x" to the left, and reopen them in your project window, identifiable with this icon: 

Under Sequence > Sequence Settings at the top menu bar, you can alter your sequence settings if you wish. 

In some cases (eg. working with media with different resolutions or mixed mediums) you will not want your sequence settings to be the same as your imported media. If that is the case, reach out to the Media Labs staff for support on what the best sequence settings for your project might be. 



At the bottom of your timeline you can drag this scroll bar to scroll through your timeline as well as dragging it from the circles to zoom in and out of your timeline.



Use this if you would like to add effects or make changes to multiple clips at one time. Select the clips you want to make changes to and right click on them to select "Nest." For more information, go to the Video Effects tab on the Effects, Transitions, and Titles page. 

This button on your timeline gives you the option to insert the nested sequence back into a sequence as a nest (turned on/blue) or individual clips (turned off/gray) with this button.  



You will usually want snapping to be on, so that when you are clicking and dragging clips, they will "snap" to the nearest cut or end point. 

You can always deselect it if you would like to be in control of how much your clips overlap each other.



The "Linked Selection" button is on by default and allows you to select your linked clips together and drag them or cut them however you want. Linked clips are usually your video clips that have audio linked to them. If you would like to unlink them, deselect the button so you can delete the audio you don't want or move them around separately. 



Add markers to your project, mark any point on your timeline. The marker will be made at the point where the blue cursor is. 

If you right click on the marker, an options menu will pop up that is essentially the same as the "Markers" tab on the top bar menu. Click "Edit Marker" to make changes to your marker. You can name it, write comments, change the time or duration, and color. 


If you click "Mark In" on a marker, and "Mark Out" on another marker, the space in between will get selected. You can click "Clear In and Out" to clear it, so that it will be unselected. 


Basic Editing Tools

For editing you have all your cut, copy, paste, select all options and shortcuts. 



This toolbar is usually located to the left of your timeline window. 

The tools below can be used by clicking on them or by pressing the keyboard shortcut. 



Selection (V)

The select tool allows you to click and drag your clips or multiple clips (using Shift or click on an empty space and drag over clips). 



Razor (C)


The razor tool will make a cut at any point on your clip.
If snapping is on, it can cut to the exact point of your playhead or at the ending of another clip on a different track.
You can also use cmd+K to make a cut at your playhead, although it will cut every clip on every track too. 



Find the edge of a clip and hold the mouse over it.
The cursor should turn red with an arrow.
Click and drag the end of the clip to trim it.
You can use this method to extend a clip as well, as long as the clip was already trimmed from a longer clip.
You must be using the selection tool to access this tool. 


Advanced Editing Tools

Track Select (A)


The track select forward tool will select every clip in front of and including the clip you click on so you can drag it wherever you want. The track select backward will select every clip behind and including the clip you click on. 

Video Explanation 

Ripple Edit (B)


This tool functions similarly like the trimming tool, but instead it will drag all of your timeline with it. So instead of trimming your clip and leaving an empty space, the clips before or after it will snap to the new ending point. It will not affect the length of the adjacent clips. 

The rolling edit tool is also similar except that it changes the length of both the adjacent clips, and shows you both the clips at once in your program monitor so you can choose the exact point where you want to make the cut. 

The rate stretch tool is also similar to trimming except that instead of cutting the clip, it changes the speed and duration of the clip. 

These tools can only be used if the clips are part of a longer piece of footage. They are really useful for making precise cuts, making sure the timing matches from cut to cut. Look at the helpful video explanation below. 

Video Explanation

Slip (Y)


The slip tool keeps the duration of your clip but changes the in and out point. 

The slide tool keeps the duration of the clip but changes the in and out points of the adjacent clips. 

Video Explanation

Pen (P)


The pen tool is useful if you would like to change the opacity of your clip or volume of your audio over the duration of the clip. You can draw points along your clip to control that and fade in and fade out, etc. Your clip will either fade to black or will fade to another clip on a different track. 

The rectangle and ellipse tool are used for placing a rectangle or ellipse into your clip often for the purpose of creating a title. More about creating titles in the Effect, Transitions, and Titles page on the top left. You can also use the pen tool to make your own shapes directly on your clip. 

Video Explanation

Hand (H)


With the hand tool you can grab your timeline to move it around like the scroll bar at the bottom. The zoom tool also functions similarly to the scroll bar. 

Video Explanation

Type (T)


You can add text directly onto your clip as well. This is useful for titles as well as for subtitles. 

Video Explanation

Additional Tips:

An easy way to get rid of empty space in your timeline that you don't want:

Select the space in between the clips and press delete on your keyboard. 


Another way is using ripple delete if there isn't an empty space but instead an unwanted clip. Press cmd+up to select the clip behind the playhead and press cmd+down to select the clip in front of the playhead. Then use shift+fn+delete to "ripple delete" to get rid of the clip in between without there being an empty space.