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Best Of: FCPX Hacks

Posted by Iain Anderson on

Final Cut Pro X is great, but like any app, it’s not perfect. Many users have requested additional features or enhancements that they’d like to see, and as you’d expect, some are added and some are not. Richard Taylor of maintains a long list, and he’s been asking for a scrolling timeline (that moves along with the playhead) for years. Scott Simmons wanted an easy way to spot the browser playhead, and blogged about it. But this time, the request wasn’t ignored.

The FCPX Hacks menu

Chris Hocking of LateNite Films (seriously, go watch Wizards of Aus right now if you’ve not seen it) decided to hack in some support for this, using a third-party app with a strange name: Hammerspoon. A script was written and FCP X Hacks was born, adding a bewildering number of new features to FCP X. It’s still under active development, but right now, you can get your scrolling timeline, you can absolutely highlight the playhead, and you can even copy and paste timelines between different Macs. Here’s the blog post with all the details.

Yep, that’s right, turns out that an independent, professed non-developer can add collaboration support to a major NLE, on his own, because somebody asked nicely. There’s tons of other stuff too: control over the frequency of automatic backups, shortcuts for commands that don’t normally have shortcuts, and new ways to apply transitions and effects. Lots more besides.


How to get started? Download and install Hammerspoon, and give it the accessibility access it needs. Download FCPX Hacks from the Download section of the blog post, then install FCPX Hacks by dragging its components to the icon on the right-hand side of its installer image. Quit and restart Hammerspoon. Quit and restart FCP X. Enjoy your new menu bar item, FCPX Hacks.

You’ll need time to poke around, because a number of the built-in features require quitting and restarting FCP X. Definitely enable its custom shortcuts, then take a peek at what’s now buried when you hold Control-Option-Command — many new options built in, and many more that you can assign keys to. Enable the Scrolling Timeline, and gaze in wonder as it scrolls automatically.

Command Editor with added shortcut keys

If it hangs or stalls, be patient, but ready to kill it with Command-Option-Escape if needed. It’s still very much in development, after all. Finally, if you can, send Chris a donation through his blog page. FCPX Hacks is free, but it’s worth much more than that. Chris, we salute you.


Iain Anderson is an Apple Certified Trainer, videographer, editor, animator, writer, designer and occasional coder based in Brisbane, Australia. and @funwithstuff on Twitter.

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  • WOW!! Just WOW! There are implications on both sides of this article that both Apple and Hammerspoon need applauding for! It opens up almost endless possibilities for FCPX to become the most powerful NLE ever!

    Craig Shamwell on

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