Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide on how to use Shotcut

New Project

Option Description
Projects Folder This is where Shotcut will look for your file for editing by default, and where it will save videos when you export them.
Project Name This creates a sub-folder within the named Projects folder, and creates the project save file when you hit start.
Video Mode Important to set this before beginning your project. Leaving this in Automatic may not produce the results you desire. Example: If you want to Export a HD 1080p 30 FPS video, set it here first.

Project File Saves

Function Description Shortcut Win/Linux Shortcut macOS
Save Saves to a project MLT file. If already saved previously, updates opened MLT project file. Ctrl+S command+S
Save As Allows you to choose a new file name (and/or location) for your current project. Open project will take on the new file name and/or file location. Ctrl+Shift+S shift+command+S
Backup & Save Performs Save with the ability to make a backup copy of named.mlt to named yyyy-mm-ddThh-mm-ss.mlt while keeping named.mlt active. Must perform function twice to get date/time saved file. Ctrl+Alt+S option+command+S


There are three modes of editing available within Shotcut.

Modes Description
Timeline The most popular. Has multiple Video/Audio tracks (or one). Needed for transitions and voiceovers. No need for the Playlist.
Playlist Arrange clips in order, apply filters if needed, and then export. No need for the Timeline.
Source Just a single file. Trim if needed and/or apply filters as needed, then export. No need to use the Playlist or Timeline.


Options Description
Presets Choose a preset that best suits your export needs. If you are a beginner Stock → Default is your best choice.
From You can export from Timeline, Playlist, Source, or Marker. If you have no clips in the playlist or the timeline, or no markers set, these options will not appear.
Hardware Encoder Graphics card encoder may aid with exporting (Read FAQ). Click Configure, then Detect to set. If nothing is detected then your graphics card is not compatible.
Export File Prompts you to name your video export file. Once named, click Save and export will start. Do not close Shotcut until the export finishes.
Reset Resets all options back to Default.
Advanced This is where you will find all of the advanced options such as Parallel Processing, Codec, Rate control, CRF, Bitrate, etc. Warning: The Advanced moded does not prevent creating an invalid combination of options!

If you’re a beginner at video editing follow these steps:
To export with the Default settings (frame rate will match your Video Mode)

  1. Click on the Export icon at the top, right.
  2. Export File
  3. Name your video file.
  4. Wait for Shotcut to finish exporting.

After the export is done, you can double clock on the job to play your finished video within Shotcut.

The longer the video project, amount of filters, and computer specifications will all be factors in how fast your video export takes to complete.


At times exporting may fail. Video filters may not perform the way you expect them to. Or some other issue that you may not understand. Video editing is a very complicated task for anyone and their computer. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

  • First start by reading the FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions). Several issues are addressed in there.

  • Search the forum for the issue you’re having. If you can’t find the answer, feel free to make an account and post your issue. The forum is made up of many volunteers who also use Shotcut.

  • Look through the Tutorials section of the forum.

  • Watch Tutorial Videos specifically chosen by the developers.

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