Premiere Pro tutorial: Customizing the interface in Premiere Pro in Premiere Pro

What you’ll learn in this Premiere Pro Tutorial:

  • Opening, closing, and moving panels
  • Creating custom workspaces

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with the Adobe Premiere Pro interface. It is the second lesson in the Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Digital Classroom book. For more Adobe Premiere Pro training options, visit AGI’s Premiere Pro Classes.

Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorial: Customizing the interface in Premiere Pro

The five pre-installed workspaces that come with the application are a starting point so you can begin working immediately. However, 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.


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 (MacOS) 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 the 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

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, locate the Resource Central panel and click it to make it active.


When panels are grouped together, only one can be visible at a time. Clicking a panel makes it active and brings it to the front of other panels.

2 When the panel is active, you can close it. Click the small x to the right of the panel name in the tab at the top of the panel.

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

3 After closing the Resource Central panel, close the Effects Controls, Audio Mixer, and Metadata panels. When done, your interface will appear as the image below.

Remember that only the currently active panel can be closed because this is the only time the Close button is visible.

4 Now you will move the Media Browser panel so it is grouped with the Project panel. This will free up additional space and allows you to have a wider Timeline panel.

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

Drag the panel to the middle rectangle on the drop-zone and release it. This groups it with the Project panel.

When moving panels, you can use drop-zones to control their positioning
in relation to the destination panels.

5 Close the Info, Effects, and History panels. The Timeline panel expands to fill the available space.

To make it easier to work in the Timeline panel, it should be as wide as possible.

6 The Audio Master Meters panel is now the only panel preventing the Timeline from expanding to the full horizontal space of the screen.

Press and hold the Control (Windows) or Command (MacOS) key on your keyboard, click the tab of the Audio Master Meters panel and drag it toward the middle of the interface, and then release it. Holding the keyboard key causes the panel to become a floating panel, instead of becoming re-docked in another location.


Using floating panels is more helpful than a docked interface when working on a workstation with multiple monitors.

Floating panels can be freely positioned anywhere on your screen and can overlap and conceal one another.

7 When working with floating panels, expand their size by clicking and dragging the lower right corner of the panel.

After you expand the panel, you can see the close button. Click the small x to close it. Your interface should now appear as the one in the figure below.

The interface of Premiere Pro can be configured to meet a wide range of needs.

8 Choose File > Save or press Control + S (Windows) or Command + S (MacOS) to save the project file. The interface changes are saved with the file.

In the next part of the lesson, you will save your changes as a custom workspace.


Creating custom workspaces

You can save custom workspaces so you can return to a favorite panel configuration later.

In this part of the lesson, you will save the workspace you created as a new workspace, and then reset the default editing 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.


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 to return to the default Editing workspace. Notice that it still reflects the changes you made when you were customizing it in the previous exercise: as you customize any workspace, you automatically append it, thus making your changes part of the current state. To return the 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 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.

6 Choose File > Save or press Control + S (Windows) or Command + S (MacOS) to save the project file.

Setting application preferences

Application preferences control the overall functionality of Premiere Pro, and you can edit them at any time. The application preferences allow you to change nearly any aspect of the program, from the default length of transitions and still images, to the interface color and the frequency and number of automatic backups made for your projects.

In this section, you will configure the auto-save feature to make more copies of your project file at shorter intervals.

1 Choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > General (MacOS) to open the Preferences dialog box.

2 From the list of categories on the left, choose Auto Save to view the preferences for how Premiere Pro automatically backs up your files.

There are two settings for the application’s Auto Save functionality: Automatically Save Every and Maximum Project Versions.

3 Change the value of the Automatically Save Every property to 10 minutes, and then change the value of Maximum Project Versions to 20 and press OK. This increases the frequency of the Auto Save function, while creating more project versions so you have a greater choice of file back-ups.

Auto Save is helpful when the application closes unexpectedly or you need to return
to an earlier version of your project.


The Auto Save function does not save over your project file; it creates instead backups of your project file and saves them to the Adobe Premiere Pro Auto-Save folder. This folder is created automatically by the application and stored in the same location as your original project file.

4 Choose File > Save or press Control + S (Windows) or Command + S (MacOS) to save the project file.

Using the Project panel

As mentioned previously, the Project panel contains references to all the footage files (video, audio, and images) that you have imported into Premiere Pro. As such, it is the creative hub for all you will create with this application. In addition to references to your imported footage, the panel holds the Sequences and Titles that you can create with the application, and is where you can first locate the items you want to add to the Timeline.

Continue to the next Premiere Pro Tutorial: Understanding media management in Premiere Pro >