Using the Undo Shortcut in Premiere Pro
Everyone makes mistakes, even video editors.
Thankfully, Premiere Pro gives you the ability to quickly and easily undo your last steps, but there are a few things you should know before you start undoing everything.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to quickly undo in Premiere Pro, as well as some of the basics of using the History panel.
Let’s get started!
1 – How to Undo in Premiere Pro
By using a quick keyboard shortcut, you can easily undo the last action you’ve taken in Premiere Pro.
The keyboard shortcut for undo in Premiere Pro is “Command + Z” (mac) or “Control + Z” (PC).
You can also navigate up to “Edit > Undo” to revise any changes that you’ve made. By default, Premiere Pro enables you to undo up to 32 actions that you’ve taken. I’ll show you how to alter this setting in just a moment.
If you need to go back even further than the default 32 steps, the History panel and/or Premiere Auto-Save Folder can be lifesavers.
Let’s explore those next.
2 – Things to Keep in Mind When Using Undo and Redo
Work In Small Sections at a Time
If you’re working on a complicated project with many different layers, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller sections. That way, if you make a mistake, you can quickly undo it without affecting the rest of your project.
Save Your Work Often
It’s always a good idea to save your project regularly. That way, if you do make a change that you don’t like, you can always revert back to an earlier version. More on the specifics of this later.
Replay Your Work Regularly
Replay your edits often. If you get into the habit of playing back your edits on a frequent basis, you are more likely to catch any big mistakes early on, before you’ve made lots of changes.
How I Learned My Lesson
One time I was editing a big wedding film, only to find out hours into my work that I had accidentally moved some audio tracks out of sync with my video. It would have been a simple fix, but since I didn’t notice it right away, it took me hours to re-sync my tracks without losing my more recent edits.
I could have realized this mistake easily if I’d just taken the time to scan my timeline and see my mistake early on.
3 – How to Undo Previous Steps in Premiere Pro Using the History Panel
The History panel keeps track of all the changes that you make to your project, and it’s a great way to quickly undo multiple steps.
To open the History panel, go to “Window > History“
Then, click the “History” tab.
The History panel will show you a list of all the changes that have been made to your project.
To undo a step, simply click on it in the list and your project will automatically jump back to where you were when you created that step.
When you click on a previous action, the rest of the list will turn grey, indicating that those actions had no yet occurred and will be deleted if you are to go back to that step. I’ll show you some work arounds for this in case you need it in a moment.
To redo a step or jump forward to any previous changes that you’ve undone, you can click on the greyed out version of that step in the history panel.
Things to Know About the Premiere Pro History Panel
1 – The history panel resets each time you close and reopen your project.
2 – The oldest action appears at the top of the list, and the most recent at the bottom.
3 – When you select a certain action, the previous actions below will be dimmed. This tells you which changes are removed if you jump to that action.
4 – Selecting a specific alteration in the history panel jumps you to that action and removes all subsequent actions.
3 – How to Redo in Premiere Pro
If you accidentally undo an action, or if you change your mind and want to redo it, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Command + Shift + Z” (mac) or “Control + Shift + Z” (PC).
You can also find the ‘Redo’ option by going to “Edit > Redo“.
Remember, you can only redo the last action that you’ve undone.
You can also select any greyed out step in the History panel to redo a number of steps all at one time.
4 – How to Undo All Changes Made Since the Last Time You Saved the Project
If you’ve made changes to your project that you later decide you don’t want, you can easily undo all of them by going to “File > Revert“
This will revert your project to the last saved version, and all the changes you’ve made since then will be undone.
If you need to go back even further, you can do so by finding older versions of your project in the Premiere Auto-Save folder.
Let’s explore how to find these older versions of your project next.
5 – How Restore A Previously Saved Version of Your Premiere Pro Project
Let’s say you made a big change (or several changes) and need to restore an older version of your project before you saved it.
Thankfully, Premiere Pro saves a record of your previously saved versions for each project.
To find a previously saved project, you’ll need to open the Premiere Auto-Save folder. By default these auto-saved project files are placed in the same folder location as your main project files itself.
Navigate to the most recent version of your project that exists before the edits you decided you don’t want. Click to open that project.
Merge a Previously Saved Project with Your Latest Edit
This is a helpful work around if there’s a complicated portion of your project that you need from a previous project file and want to combine it with a newer version of your edit.
You can open that previous project, copy the section you want to preserve, and paste it into your newest project sequence.
This can be a lifesaver in those situations where you’ve ‘messed something up’ and realized it too late, after you’ve done hours of additional work that you don’t want to lose.
6 – How to Customize the Premiere Auto-Save Folder Settings
If you want to change how often Premiere Pro saves your project or where it saves it, you can do so by going to ‘Premiere Pro > Preferences > Auto Save.’
Here, you can choose how often you want Premiere Pro to save your project (every minute, every two minutes, etc.), and where you want the saved projects to be stored.
By default, Premiere Pro saves projects in the same folder as the current project, but you can change this to any location on your computer or an external hard drive.
Check out my recommendations for the best Auto Save settings in Premiere Pro, as well as some helpful tips on how I think you should save and organize your project files.
I highly recommend saving to an external location, other than your hard drive, just in case something happens to your computer or drive. Having a version in two locations is always a smart idea.
7 – How to Adjust the Number of Undo Steps in Premiere Pro
If you want to change the number of undo steps that are available in Premiere Pro, you can do so by going to clicking on the three little lines next to your History panel window.
In the History Settings window, you can quickly adjust the number of ‘History States’ or actions you’ve made in Premiere Pro.
I usually keep mine set to 100, just to be safe.
And that’s it! These are the basics of how to undo and redo in Premiere Pro.
Do you have any tips or tricks for using the history panel? Share them in the comments below!