Premiere Pro Tutorial: Customizing the interface

What you’ll learn in this Premiere Pro Tutorial:

  • Customizing the Premiere Pro interface

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with the Adobe Premiere Pro interface. It is the first lesson in the Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Digital Classroombook. For more Adobe Premiere Pro training options, visit AGI’s Premiere Pro Classes.


There are a series of pre-installed workspaces that come with the application to be used as a starting point so you can begin working immediately. However, since it is impossible for the application’s developers to predict the needs of every user, we recommend you customize and adjust the interface to fit your specific needs and style.

In this section, you will adjust the Editing workspace to fit the needs of the project you will work with in this lesson. The first procedure is to remove panels you will not be working with at this time.

1 Choose File > Open Project. In the Open Project dialog box that appears, navigate to the pr02lessons folder that you copied to your hard drive and open the file named pr0201.prproj. This file contains a single sequence in the Project panel named Travelogue-Boston.

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An alternative way to open a project is to use a keyboard shortcut. To open the Open Project dialog box, press and hold the Control key (Windows) or the Command key (Mac OS) and press the letter O on your keyboard.

2 Choose File > Save As. In the Save As dialog box that appears, navigate to the location on your hard drive where you saved the project files folder and then to the Lesson 2 folder. Rename the file pr0201-working and click the Save button. This file will be your working file for the remainder of this lesson.

Opening, closing, and moving panels

To customize the application interface, you should close, open, and reposition panels that are not necessary for the type of work you will perform in this work session.

In this section, you will customize the interface to remove some of the default panels and create a new custom editing workspace where there is more space for the Timeline. We recommend you have as much space as possible for the Timeline and monitors, since most of your work is carried out in these panels.

Using drop-zones

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Drop-zones help you work with the docked panel layout by providing you with visual cues as you drag panels to rearrange them.

As you drag a panel, a drop-zone overlay appears above the current panel group that your cursor is hovering over. Different sections of the drop-zone become highlighted to show you what your new panel configuration will be. If either section on the sides (labeled “A” in the figure) illuminates, the panel that you are repositioning is placed to the side of the currently highlighted panel, creating a new, independent panel group vertically. The same is true for the top and bottom of the drop-zone (labeled “B” in the figure), except this creates a new panel group horizontally. The third possibility is to release your mouse while hovering over the center of the drop-zone (labeled “C” in the figure); this groups the panel that you are moving with the existing panel group, creating a new tab.

1 With the pr0201-working.prproj file still open, choose Window > Workspace > Editing (CS5.5). This workspace layout sets the Premiere Pro CS6 interface to resemble the default workspace of the previous version.

2 Locate the Media Browser panel in the lower-left of the interface. Click on the small x to the right of the panel name to close it.

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Once a panel is active, you can close it by clicking the small x to the right of the panel name.

3 After closing the Media Browser panel, close the Info, Effects, Markers and History panels in the same way. When done, your interface will appear as the image below.

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Only the active panel in a group can be closed.

4 Now you will move the Tools panel so that you can free up even more space for the Timeline. Right-click on the top of the Tools panel just above the Selection tool and choose Dock in Options Panel from the menu that appears. This relocates the tools to the absolute-top of the application’s interface and frees up additional space, and allows you to have a wider Timeline panel.

The Project panel is currently located at the absolute-left of the application interface taking up space that would allow for larger Source and Program monitors to display. You will now move the Project panel so that these monitors can have more room.

5 Click the Project panel’s tab (where the panel’s name is located) and drag it toward the Program Monitor. As you do this, a colored overlay appears over the destination panel. This overlay, called a drop-zone, allows you to control how the moving panel is placed in relation to the destination panel.

6 Drag the panel to the middle rectangle on the drop-zone and release it.

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When moving panels, the drop-zone overlay is used to control the resulting panel grouping.

This action creates a new group in which the Project panel and the Program monitor share space.

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While drop-zones are unique to the Adobe video applications, once you become familiar with them you will see they are very useful tools.

7 Click on the Program Monitor to make it active. Your interface should now resemble the figure below.

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There may be some variation in the appearance of your interface caused by your monitor’s screen resolution.

8 Choose File > Save or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS) to save the project file. The interface changes are saved with the file and will override the current workspace setting when this file is reopened.

Do not close this file, you will need it in the next section of this lesson, where you will save these interface changes as a new custom workspace.

Saving a custom workspace

As you have seen, it is very easy to customize the Premiere Pro user interface. You can also save custom workspaces so you can return to a favorite or helpful panel configuration later.

In this part of the lesson, you will save the workspace you created as a new workspace, and then reset the Editing (CS5.5) workspace to its original configuration.

1 With the pr0201-working.prproj file still open, choose Window > Workspace > New Workspace to open the New Workspace dialog box.

2 Change the default name of the workspace to Digital Classroom-Editing and click the OK button to save the workspace. This also makes your new workspace the active one. This new workspace saves with the application and will be available to you, even if you reset the application’s preferences.

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You can delete Workspaces by choosing Window > Workspace > Delete Workspace. This opens the Delete Workspace dialog box, where you can choose the workspace you want to delete from a drop-down menu. You can delete any workspace except the currently active one.

3 Choose Window > Workspace > Editing (CS5.5) to return to the Editing (CS5.5) workspace. Notice that it still reflects the changes you made when you were customizing the workspace in the previous exercise: as you customize any workspace, you automatically append it, thus making your changes part of the current state. To return this workspace to its original configuration, you must reset it as explained in the next step.

4 Choose Window > Workspace > Reset Current Workspace. In the confirmation dialog that appears, choose Yes to reset the Editing (CS5.5) workspace and return the Workspace to its original appearance.

5 Choose Window > Workspace > Digital Classroom-Editing to return to the custom workspace that you created. For the remainder of this lesson you will be using this custom workspace.

6 Choose File > Save or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS) to save the project file.

Continue to the next Premiere Pro Tutorial: Setting application preferences >