Final Cut Pro X: Mysteries of the Timeline Index

Posted on by Larry

The Timeline Index is a unique feature of Final Cut Pro X that is often overlooked. Which is a shame, because it is a very useful tool. This tutorial provides an overview of what it is and ways you can use it.

The Timeline Index, located on the left side of the FCP interface between the Browser and the Timeline, is closed by default. It displays information about the currently open project in the timeline.

Click “Index” to open it.

There are four main sections:

CLIPS

The Clips tab lists every clip in your project, sorted in the order in which they appear in the timeline.

NOTE: The Timeline Index only displays clips in the currently open and active project timeline.

While you can’t change the sort order, you can change what’s displayed by clicking one of these buttons at the bottom: All, Video, Audio, or Titles. As you might suspect, clicking the Video button shows only the video clips in the currently active timeline.

A feature that I like a lot is the ability to add notes for each clip. Transcription software will also often use the Notes field for transcription data.

To change the columns displayed in the Index, control-click any column header. You can also reposition any column, except the Names column, by dragging the column header.

Other things we can do with this section of the Timeline Index:

TAGS

I reference Tags for virtually every project I create. The buttons at the bottom display (from left to right):

Here are other things you can do with tags:

NOTE: You can’t use the Timeline Index to copy markers, though you can select and  delete them.

ROLES

Describing how to work with Roles is whole separate article – which you’ll find here. However in Timeline Index > Roles, you can:

I use this feature every week, after importing the final audio mix for my webinar, to export just the mix, and not the individual clips.

CAPTIONS

The Captions section displays caption text and timing. Here we can:

What I like best about this section is that it provides an easy to browse a list of every caption and its content in a project. I also use this list to quickly check the spelling of captions.

SUMMARY

While I would like the Timeline Index to be a floating window that I could move to a second monitor, if you haven’t used the Timeline Index, you are missing a powerful tool to help track and organize the contents of your projects.


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One Response to Final Cut Pro X: Mysteries of the Timeline Index

  1. Allan F. Andison says:

    Very useful. I’ve been looking for ways to better organize and document the content of my Libraries. Cannot believe I haven’t used to Index before.

    Thanks Larry!

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