An Illustrated List of Icons, Symbols and Alerts in Final Cut Pro X [u]

Posted on by Larry

Logo-FCPX.jpg[Updated July, 2016, May, 2018, Jan. and June 2019 with more icons.]

I don’t think there is anyone outside of Apple who knows what all the icons, symbols and alerts in Final Cut Pro X are, much less what they mean. Still, I had some extra time this weekend and decided to put together an illustrated list.

So, here are more than 50 icons and indicators, grouped by the panel in which they appear, with a short description of what they mean.

NOTE: For the most part, I excluded icons which you click to do something; in other words, buttons.


Blue indicates something that is active (turned on), gray is something that is inactive.


A Library.

An Event

An Event with Missing Media

A folder in the Library containing Smart Collections or, in an Event, containing keyword or smart collections; used for organization.

A Smart Collection, whether associated with the Library or an Event.

Keyword Collection associated with an Event.


A yellow box means the clip, or a portion of the clip, is selected.

A green bar at the top means the clip, or a portion of the clip, is a Favorite.

A red bar at the top means the clip, or a portion of the clip, is Rejected.

An orange bar at the bottom of the clip means the clip, or a portion of the clip, is used in the Timeline.

A blue bar at the top indicates a clip, or portion of a clip, with keywords applied.

Earlier versions of Final Cut also displayed a purple bar, indicating the clip had been analyzed, generally during import.

The ghosted-back waveforms indicate Reference Waveforms, enabled in Preferences.

A file that was linked to the project is now missing. Generally caused when the file was renamed, moved or deleted.

Similar to this is the “Missing Camera” icon which indicates that a media file was captured from a camera or camera card, which is now missing.

Missing proxy file. This will appear if you switch to Proxy mode in the Viewer and proxies were not created for this file. Proxies can be created at anytime (File > Transcode Media).

A Compound Clip.

A Compound Clip that contains no media.

A Multicam Clip.


An Audition clip.

A Synchronized clip, which combines a separate audio and video clip to act as though they were one clip.


This icon indicates source footage that was shot at a high frame rate to enable high-quality slow motion; most commonly shot on an Apple iPhone. Modify > Retime > Automatic speed enables slow-motion playback.)


That little circle in the lower left of your clip indicates how much of a newly imported clip still needs to have thumbnails and waveforms created. This icon disappears when creating these auxiliary files is complete.

The small camera icon means the underlying media for the clip still resides on the camera. This happens if you stop the import using the Background Tasks window or remove the camera cord (or card) while importing. Restart the import by choosing File > Import > Reimport from Camera/Archive.  Once the import is done, the icon goes away.

This means that you’ve applied an audio effect to an audio clip that has more than one Role assigned to the audio channels it contains.

Apple’s Help states: “It signifies that there is a clip-level audio effect. That is, the user placed an audio effect at the clip-level as opposed to the audio component level and so the clip is mixing down to a single role. This is done since an effect at the clip-level will mix all of the audio from all of the clip’s audio components. If the user places an effect on the individual role, then we can keep the audio separated by role when playing back and when exporting.”

(Thanks to Scott Brown for this icon.)

Apple’s Help states: This icon is for captions. In Final Cut Pro, you can import clips with embedded captions, then extract them to display those captions as separate, editable elements in the timeline. That icon indicates a source clip with embedded captions. Read more here:

A Synchronized Clip that contains no media.

The yellow tips at the tops of the waveforms indicate audio that is close to peaking or distortion.

A Browser clip that is expanded and continues to the line below (torn right edge).

A Browser clip that is expanded and continues from the line above (torn left edge).

The end of a Browser clip (clean edge).


An empty Browser search box.

The Browser search box with an active text search.

The Browser search box with an active Keyword search (blue key icon).

The Browser search box with an active search (blue icon).


Playhead with skimmer active.

Playhead with skimmer inactive.

From the left, Skimming is active, Audio Skimming is active, Solo is active, and Snapping is Active. When any of these icons are gray, it means they are inactive.

A selected clip, group of clips, or region of clips.

A disabled clip (top) is invisible/inaudible; the image of the  clip is dimmed.

A soloed clip (top), all other clips are silenced and indicated in black-and-white.

A selected transition.

A portion of the Timeline that needs rendering (orange bar).

A Timeline marker.

An unaccomplished Timeline To-Do marker (To-Do).

An accomplished Timeline To-Do marker (Done).

A Timeline Chapter marker with poster frame indicator (the round thingy).

A gap clip.

A placeholder clip.


The first frame of a Project in the Timeline, the filmstrip on the left.

The In of a selected clip, square angle bracket in lower-left corner.

The Out of a selected clip, square angle bracket in lower-right corner.

The last frame of a Project in the Timeline, the filmstrip on the right.

Past the last frame of video in the Timeline, the dark band on the right.

Transform controls are active in the Viewer.

Trim controls are active in the Viewer.

Crop controls are active in the Viewer.

Ken Burns controls are active in the Viewer.

Distort controls are active in the Viewer.


Here is a link to a summary of alert icons that Apple has available on-line.

I’m sure there are more that I haven’t found. Send me what you find and I’ll add it to the list. As always, I’m interested in your opinions.

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62 Responses to An Illustrated List of Icons, Symbols and Alerts in Final Cut Pro X [u]

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  1. I have a strip on the top of the screen when I click on a project in fcpx. Its a strip with arrows pointing to the right…I don’t see a mention of it here, what does it mean?

  2. Pretesh Mistry says:

    Don’t suppose you know what the chain link symbol means in the top left hand corner of a video clip?

    When I double click on this type of clip, it shows in the timeline as two clips joined together but I don’t know how this happens?

    • Larry says:


      The “chainlink” icon symbolizes a synchronized clip – where you have separate audio and video files that you link together to act as one. I’ve added it to the article, above.


  3. Debbie says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you SO much! This is an invaluable reference, and the reason I stick with Larry when I need help.

  4. Matthias says:

    Hi Larry! Sometimes I have a wierd icon around my cursor. An orange icon with a stripe through it. I couldn’t make a screenshot of it. But it looks something like this. /Users/mrlan/Desktop/Arrow with orange icon.png

  5. Chris says:

    How do you ensure the icon for your movie is the one you want? When I exported my movie, the icon was a random clip from my video.

    • Larry says:


      To the best of my knowledge, FCP X and QuickTime Player (X), do not allow setting poster frames. QuickTime Player 7 does, however, that won’t work in future versions of the macOS.

      You can use Compressor to set a poster frame, but the process is awkward.

      I’ve reached out to Apple to see if there’s an easy way to do this and will publish what I learn in my weekly newsletter.


  6. Jay says:

    Hi Larry-
    Longtime reader and big fan. I have an icon question. I have two channels of audio- a lav and a shotgun. In the inspector, I selected dual mono and then shift+command+G to split out both audio channels below the main storyline. Sometimes it puts a film icon in the upper left hand corner of the split out audio tracks and also RAISES the main storyline slightly. Other times it doesn’t. Can’t figure out what that film icon is. Thanks

    • Larry says:


      Interesting question. Send me a screen shot directly – larry at larryjordan dot com – and if I can figure it out, I’ll add it to this article and let you know.


      • Jay says:

        Thanks for the response Larry. I figured it out although it created a new question! The icon appears on the audio clip along with the expanded primary storyline- when I select “expand audio components” as opposed to “detach audio” or “break apart clip items.” Do you have a video where you cover the difference between “expand audio” & “expand audio components?” And also “detach audio” and “break apart clip items?”

  7. Rollin Swan says:

    Larry, My timeline has a ‘pink baby-birthday-wrapping-paper’ covering/obliterating the entire field. What is it? Why did it hapoen? HOW do I get back to editing?

    • Larry says:


      I don’t recognize that description. Send me a screen shot to: larry [at] larry jordan [dot] com.

      Once I see it, I should be able to help.


  8. Scott says:

    Thank you for the great list.

    Here’s one more: I have an icon (badge?) in the upper left corner of some of my clips in both timeline and browser. It looks like a “comic speech bubble”.
    thanks in advance


    • Larry says:


      Send me a screen shot [ Larry at LarryJordan dot com ]. I’ll figure it out, post it to the article and send you an answer.


  9. JR Drew says:

    Here’s something to add to your list of “How do I get rid of that annoying little yellow alert on my event when I have checked every piece of media/title/generator/transition, looked inside every compound clip created in the entire library, and they are all present and accounted for???”

    I don’t know why this worked for me, but it did: SHARE (export) the timeline in each file type available (.m4v, .mp4, .mov). Again, no idea what was probably created during the writing, but it magically made the alert icon disappear.

  10. tricia says:

    I was successful in turning my vertical clip into a horizontal clip on final cut pro. then my husband slowed the clip down bc it was too fast a time lapse. but now, in viewer, there is a black and gray arrow strip and I am not able to expand the clip fully. I can’t seem to get back to that transformer button which enabled me to change it from vertical to horizontal! I need to go back bc I realize now I hadn’t fully expanded it and there is a black line around the movie! HELP!

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