Adobe Premiere: Organizing Your Media in the Project Panel

Once you have imported all the media that you need for a project into Premiere Pro, you can see all that media in the Project panel. However, if you have imported several clips, a handful of images, and so on, what you can actually have in the Project panel is a huge, disorganized mess.  

We will discuss:

  • How to use the Project panel to sort through and organize your media

  • Creating bins to make organizing your media easier

  • The List view in the Project panel

  • The Icon view in the Project panel

  • How you can use the Project panel to start editing your media

Exploring the Project Panel

Once we dragged media into the project panel, we have to organize it. 

The good news is that if you have created folders on your computer to sort files, then the process of organizing media in Premiere Pro will not seem so foreign to you. The process is very similar.   However, instead of using folders to sort files, you use bins to sort media.

By creating bins, then moving media into the bins, you can organize your media fairly quickly, but definitely easily.

Before we talk more about bins, let's explore the Project panel.

The Project panel is pictured below.

Project Panel Views

There are two views for the Project panel: List and Icon view.   We are in Icon view.

To switch to List view, click the menu in the upper right hand corner.

You can then switch from Icon to List, or vice versa.

List view is shown below.

The Preview Area

If you click the menu in the upper right hand corner again, you can select Preview Area to see previews of your media, as shown below.

One of the benefits of the Preview Area is the information provided to the right of the preview.

Navigating the Project Panel

You can scroll up and down through your media in the Project panel by using the scroll on the right side of the panel.


You can scroll left to right by using the bottom scroll bar.

Selecting Clips

To select clips in the project panel, you can:

  • Click on a clip to select it.

  • Shift+Click to select adjacent clips.

  • CTRL+Click to select non-adjacent clips.

  • Drag over clips to select them in the Project panel.

  • Go to Edit>Select All to select all clips in the Project panel.

Renaming Clips

To rename a clip, select the clip, then right click. Select Rename.

Next, click on the text area to the right of or below the clip thumbnail, whichever applies.

Type the new name for the clip, then press Enter.

Copying and Pasting a Clip

Select the click that you want to copy.

You can then right click and choose Copy, or you can go to Edit>Copy.

Go to the bin where you want to place the clip, then either right click and select Paste, or go to Edit>Paste.

Deleting a Clip

Select the clip you want to delete.

Right click on the clip, then choose Clear. You can also go to Edit>Clear.

Finding Clips

When you need to find clips in Premiere Pro, you can do so by either using the Find box or the Find dialogue box.   However, the Find box is the quickest way.  

Let's learn how to use both.

Find Box

To find clips using the Find box, locate the Find box in the Project panel. Go to the In dropdown menu (located to the right of the Find box), and choose if you want to search all metadata for all clips, only the metadata for clips visible in the Project panel, or search only the speech to text metadata field. This is a dialogue search.

Now, click the Find box, pictured below.

Type in a search term.  

Premiere Pro displays the results that match your search parameters. 

Find Dialogue Box

To find clips using the Find dialogue, click the Find button located on the bottom right of the Project panel (circled below).

You will then see this dialogue box:

Go to the Column section and choose a metadata field.

Next, go to the Operator section and choose a search condition. 

Enter a search term in the Find field.

Want to learn more? Take an online course in Adobe Premiere.

If you want to, you can enter more criteria (another search term) in the next row.

Once you have selected all your criteria, click the Match dropdown menu, and choose if you want to:

  • Find All content that matches both criteria.

  • Find Any content that matches either criterion.

You can also choose whether you want your searches to be case sensitive.

Click the Find button when you are finished.

Using Bins to Organize Your Media

We talked about bins earlier. Bins are what you use to organize and store media in Premiere Pro. In fact, bins work in much the same way as folders do in Windows. 

Let's learn how to create and use bins to organize media.

Creating Bins

Creating bins to organize your media is as easy as creating a folder too.   To create a bin, go to File>New>Bin. You can also go to the Project panel and click on the New bin button, as circled below.

You will then see a new bin appear in the Project panel.

Naming Bins

To name the bin, click in the text area (highlighted above) and type in the name. Press Enter when you are finished.

In the snapshot above, we named our bin "Example."

Putting Clips in Bins

To put a clip in a bin, click on the clip, then drag it until it is over the bin you want to put it in. Release your mouse button. 

The clip will then appear below the bin (if you are in List view), as shown below.

Viewing Content in a Bin

Double-click on a bin to see the contents inside.

When you do, you will see the following window:

As you can see in the snapshot above, you can see the clips in the bin.  

You can also create a sub-bin by clicking the New Bin button in the above window.   Sub-bins work the same as sub-folders.

Setting Bin Preferences

Premiere Pro gives you the ability to specify how bins are opened, as well as to establish other bin-related preferences.

To set bin preferences, go to Edit>Preferences>General.

Go down to the Bins section, pictured below.

As you have already seen, by default, when we double click on a bin to see its contents, the bin opens in a new window.  

In Preferences, you can change this so that the bin opens in place (in the Project panel) or in a new tab. This is in the same frame as the Project panel

You can also choose your keyboard shortcuts by specifying what action takes place when you hit CTRL+click or Alt+click.

About List View in the Project Panel

When you view your content in List view in the Project panel, Premiere Pro lets you sort the content by categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. 

We showed you how to go to List view earlier. List view looks like this:

Once you are in List view, you can choose the columns that you see. Right now, we see Name, Frame Rate, Media Start, etc. 

Click the panel menu located in the upper right hand corner of the Project panel. 

Choose Metadata Display.

You will then see the Metadata Display dialogue box:

This dialogue box shows you the metadata categories.

Click an arrow to the left of a category to see the items in it:

Put checkmarks next to the items you want in that category. In the snapshot above, we are going to choose Rating.

Click OK when you are finished.

Notice in the snapshot below that Rating is now added as a column.

You can also remove categories (columns) by clicking to remove the checkmark in the Metadata Display dialogue box.

Once you have the columns that you want to appear by using the above dialogue box, you can sort by column to organize and find your content.

To sort by column, click the column name to select it. You will see a triangle appear to the right of the column name for ascending and descending. Click the name of the column again to reverse the sort order.

To rearrange the order of the columns, click the column that you want to move to select it. Drag it to its new location. You will see a blue indicator that will tell you where the column will be inserted.

About Icon View in the Project Panel

List view is great for sorting content. However, Icon view is perfect for viewing your content. There are two modes in Icon view that you can use to view the content of source clips.

Whenever you choose a clip in Icon view, you will see a scroll bar appear that you can use to drag through the clip.   You can even set In and Out points. In and Out points are used to mark the portion of a clip that will actually be used in the video project you are working on.   This is a great way to speed up the editing process.

Icon view in Premiere Pro is pictured below:

To get to Icon view, go to the panel menu and choose Icon view.

You can sort the icons in Icon view by clicking the Sort Icons button, circled below.

Select your sort criteria from the menu:

To preview clips in Icon view, click on a clip to select it. You will see a scroll bar with a playhead below the clip.

You can use the scroll bar to drag through the clip.

You can click anywhere in the orange area to move the playhead to that location. 

You can also use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Spacebar to start or stop playing.

  •  J to rewind. Press J again to rewind faster.

  • Press L to play the clip. Press L again to fast forward.

  • Press K to stop the clip from playing.

Marking In and Out Points in Icon View

Marking In and Out points sounds more difficult than it really is.  

To mark an In point, go to the spot where you want the clip to start playing in your video. You can click in the orange area of the clip or you can play, fast forward, or rewind to find that location.

To mark that point as the In point, go to Marker>Mark In.

To establish the Out point, go to Marker>Mark Out.