Daily Tip: Trimming QuickTime files

Apple’s QuickTime Player can handle basic trimming, so you don’t have to open software that’s overkill for such a simple task. Here’s how to quickly trim a video clip in QuickTime Player.

  1. Open the clip you’d like to trim.
  2. Select Trim… from the Edit menu, or hit Command-T
  3. The timeline appears (below). Now it’s time to perform the edit. But first a look at the controls.


On the far left is the Play/Pause button. Next is the timeline. This will disappear after a few seconds of playing, and return when you stop playback. As your video plays, the red playhead (which actually acts as a scrubber, meaning you can click and drag it back and forth) moves from left to right.

A yellow highlight surrounds your clip with a handle at each end. This is used for defining the portion of the clip you’d like to save. Finally, the Trim and Cancel buttons appear on the far right. The Trim button executes your edit while the Cancel button exits trim mode with your video untouched. Now, here’s how to trim the clip.

  1. Play your clip (or drag the playhead) until you find the spot at which you’d like your video to start.
  2. Click and hold the yellow handle until it meets that same spot. A timestamp appears to aid your precision.
  3. You can trim the end the same way: click and drag the yellow handle at the end of your clip.
  4. Once you’ve got the portion you’d like to keep within the yellow highlight, click Trim.

If you’re not happy with the result, select Undo Trim from the Edit menu (or hit Command-Z). Note that this method is non-destructive, meaning QuickTime Player asks you to save the trimmed result as a new file.

This post is part is one of 31 tech tips I published in March, 2013You’ll find the rest here.