The Video Editing Software Timeline

Video Editing Software Timeline

The video editing software timeline is where the "action" is when you're working on your video masterpiece!

If you are new to video editing here is some information about the Timeline feature.


Virtually all video editing software has a "Timeline" feature... You can usually find it at the bottom of the screen when you open your editing software.

It's a horizontal linear track (made up of a number of sub tracks) where you can drag-and-drop the video, image and sound files that will make up your video.

Adobe Video Editing Software Interface

In higher-end software you will have the ability to use multiple tracks for your video and audio.

Multiple tracks give you the ability to...

  • Overlay video,
  • Images and
  • Audio...

In Adobe video editing software for instance... you can work with up to 99 different tracks!

Free Video Editing Software Interface

On the other end of the spectrum, the free or low-end editing software may give you just one track for video and one track for audio.

As they say, "you get what you pay for" with these editors.

It is best, of course, to have multiple tracks to work with so that you have the freedom to get as creative and fancy as you want with your video!

Using the Timeline To Create Your Video...

Video Editing Software Media Manager

Once you drop your material (clips, images, audio files etc.) in the timeline you'll be able to see them in the order that you placed them there...

And... they will stay in that position until you...

  • Reorder,
  • Cut,
  • Move or
  • Delete them...

You will normally see (as part of this time track) what is called a Current Time Indicator (CTI) which will be represented as a vertical line that has a little handle at the top.

Video Editing Timeline

You can use your cursor to drag the current time indicator across any of the material in the timeline and be able to see that material represented in the video editing software's preview monitor.

It is also used to mark the places where you want to make precise cuts in your material and can be used to select portions of the material in the timeline for special processing.

For ease-of-use, you can normally drag the video editing software timeline to different parts of your computer screen so it is conveniently positioned for optimum viewing according to your workflow scheme and computer set up.

The Video Editing Software Timeline Is a Creative Tool!

The timeline is the place where you actually build your video. It's where the "action" is when you're doing your video and audio editing.

Timeline in the video editing software

The timeline is where you'll be able to see your story and add or delete material as needed.

As you're creating your video your video editing software timeline gives you a simple way to initially arrange your material, view it and then reorder it if it's not quite right. You can experiment with different combinations of clips, images, audio, graphics etc.

You also have the freedom to delete the material you do not want, bring in new material or rearrange sequences to better tell the story your video is trying to get across. It also gives you the advantage of not having to work in a linear sequence (like in the old days of videotape).


Which is, of course, the beauty of modern video editing software! The ability to work in a nonlinear manner! You can start at the beginning or you could start at the end and work back… Work on the middle of your video… Anyplace you want… You have tremendous creative freedom working in the timeline of your video editor.

So… Learn how to use it well and you'll be able to put out great-looking videos in no time at all!

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Have fun...!  Dan

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