Introduction to the Harmony User Interface

Using Toon Boom Harmony Premium will be significantly easier if you first become familiar with its user interface. The following chapter gives you a basic introduction to the most important elements of the user interface. As you go through the ensuing chapters, you will learn more detailed information about each of these elements.

When you start Toon Boom Harmony Premium for the first time, the default workspace is displayed. The workspace is divided in rectangular user interfaces which are referred to as views, each of which has its own specific purpose. The top and left side of the user interface, as well as some views, also contain toolbars, each with specific functions.


Views are small user interfaces that each have a specific purposes. They can be added to the main application window, in which case they are “docked”, or can be opened as separate windows.

Each views has a tab on top of it which contains its name. Not only this can be used to identify the views you’re working with, tabs also allow you to stack several views in the same area of the user interface. For example, in the default workspace, most of the area is occupied by the Camera view. At the top of the camera view are two tabs, one that says Camera and the other that says Drawing. This is because the Drawing view is stacked with the Camera view, and you can quickly switch between both by clicking on either tab.

Right of the tabs of each division in your workspace are the Add View and Close View buttons, which allow you to stack more views or to remove the currently selected view from this area of the workspace.

Adding a View

You can add, remove, move and stack views all over your workspace to optimize your workflow.

Here is a short introduction to each of the most commonly used views in Harmony.

Camera view

The Camera view is the centre of operations in Harmony. In this view, you can draw, paint, animate, set up your scene, manipulate objects, open symbols and preview your animation.

The Camera view also has a top and bottom toolbar that you can use to navigate in the view, change the display mode or go up your symbol hierarchy.

Drawing view

In Harmony, you can draw in both the Drawing or Camera views. Although the two views are similar, there are some differences when it comes to drawing.

Only the selected drawing is displayed by default in the Drawing view. You can use features, such as the light table to display the current drawing of all the enabled layers of your scene in washed-out colours, or the Onion Skin to display the previous and next drawings of the currently selected drawing layer.

Tool Properties view

The Tool Properties view contains the most common options and operations related to the currently selected tool. When you select a tool from the Tools toolbar, the Tool Properties view updates.

For example, if you choose the Select tool, the Tool Properties view will display the options and operations related to it, such as Snap to Contour, Apply to All Drawings, Flip Horizontal, and Flatten.

Colour view

The Colour view is where you create colours and palettes and import existing palettes into your project. The Colour view is also necessary for drawing, painting and creating colour styling.

Timeline view

To set your animation timing, you will mostly work with the Timeline and Xsheet views. It's extremely useful to become familiar with the Timeline view, how it works, and its interface.

The Timeline view is the main view used when adjusting the timing of drawings, adding keyframes and ordering layers. The Timeline view displays layers, effects, sounds, keyframe values, scene length, layer names, drawings, keyframes, timing, and frames.

The Timeline view allows you to read your timing from left to right. It represents the scene’s elements in their simplest form. You can also see the layers and their names, as well as the drawing’s exposure. The drawing name is displayed when you place your pointer over the drawing’s exposure.

Timeline View Drawing Name

Drawing Substitutions View

The Drawing Substitutions view allows you to view all the drawings in the selected layer in a list of thumbnails, as well as to quickly select which drawing should be exposed at the current frame.

Xsheet view

The Xsheet view lets you read the timing vertically by displaying it in a grid, with each drawing layer represented by a column, each frame of your scene represented by a row, and each exposed drawing displayed by its name in the cells. It is meant to work like a traditional animation exposure sheet.

Using the functions panel, you can also view the functions and keyframes of the motion paths for the selected column, with the value of those functions for each frame listed in the cells.

Contrary to the Timeline view, the Xsheet view does not display pegs, effects or layer hierarchy. Hence, it is optimized for traditional and paperless animation, whereas the Timeline view is optimized for digital or cut-out animation.

Xsheet View

Library view

The Library view is used to store elements such as animation, drawings, backgrounds and character models so as to reuse in different scenes and projects. You can also use the Library view to create and store symbols, as well as to store and import images, sound files and 3D models.

To reuse elements from a scene in other scenes, you must create a template so that you can import it into different scenes. Templates can contain anything from a single drawing to a whole scene structure. You can create a template by creating it in a scene, then copying the elements you want in your template into a library. The resulting template is structured like a mini-scene that contains only the elements you copied into it. A template does not have any dependencies on the scene it was originally created in. Hence, it can safely be imported in any other scene.

Additionally, the Library view's Drawing Substitutions panel allows you to quickly change the current frame's exposure to one of the existing drawings in a layer. This is especially useful for animating a cut-out character's mouths, hands, eyelids and other such body parts which typically contain several drawings to choose from.

Library View

Node view

In the Node view, you can connect effects and compositing nodes to form a network, also known as a node system. This view is very useful for rigging puppets, creating advanced effects and having a clear view of complex scenes. The organization and order of the nodes determines the flow of data during the compositing process and how your animation elements will be composited.


The Harmony interface contains toolbars that quicky give you you access many useful tools. You can add, move and remove toolbars in your workspace.

Toolbars are separated in two main categories:

  • Workspace toolbars are toolbars that have a general purpose. For example, the File, Edit, Workspace, Advanced Animation and Deformation toolbars at the top, as well as the Tools toolbar on the left, are workspace toolbars. Those toolbars can be placed at the top, bottom, left or right edge of the application window. They can also be placed at the edge of specific views if preferred.
  • View toolbars are toolbars that are useful for a specific view. For example, the Camera view has a Camera toolbar at its top. View toolbars can only be displayed inside their respective view. They can be placed at the top, bottom, left or right edge of their view.

Adding Toolbars

Tools Toolbar

The Tools toolbar contains the main tools you need to work in Harmony. In the default workspace, this toolbar located on the left edge of the application window.

Some of the buttons in the Tools toolbar have a triangle in their bottom-right corner. This is to indicate that several tools are stacked on this button. To access these tools, either click and hold on the tool button, or select the tool then click on it again.


Many toolbar buttons have a keyboard shortcut associated to them. You can check which keyboard shortcut is associated to a button by leaving your mouse cursor over the button for a second. If the button has a keyboard shortcut, it will be indicated in the tooltip that appears.

File Toolbar

The File toolbar contains buttons for common file operations such as New, Save and Open. These commands can also be found in the File top menu.

File Toolbar

NOTE The New, and Save As buttons are only available in Harmony Stand Alone. With Harmony Server, Control Center must be used to create scenes.

Edit Toolbar

The Edit toolbar contains common operations such as Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy and Paste. These commands can also be found in the Edit top menu.

Edit Toolbar

Playback Toolbar

The Playback toolbar allows you to play your animation as well as to set some playback options such as looping, audio playback, playback range and playback speed.

Playback Toolbar

Interface Navigation

With the help of menu commands and keyboard shortcuts, some views let you navigate their content by zooming in, zooming out, panning and rotating them. You can also reset the zoom level, pan and rotation angle of these views as needed.

The navigation commands in the table below can be used in the following views, with some exceptions:

  • Camera
  • Drawing
  • Perspective
  • Timeline
  • Xsheet
  • Node View
  • Function
  • Side and Top
  • Model

Keyboard shortcuts can be customized. You can view, search for and change keyboard shortcuts for Harmony in the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. To access the Keyboard shortcuts dialog:

  • Windows or GNU/Linux : In the top menu, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.
  • macOS: In the top menu, select Harmony Premium > Keyboard Shortcuts.
Command Action Access Methods

Zoom In

Zooms in the view.

View > Zoom In

Press 2

Roll the mouse wheel up (except in the Timeline and Xsheet views)

Zoom Out

Zooms out the view.

View > Zoom Out

Press 1

Roll the mouse wheel down (except in the Timeline and Xsheet views)

Zoom In or Out

Zooms in or out of the view.

Roll the middle mouse button up or down.

Hold down the Spacebar and the middle mouse button while dragging the mouse up or down.


Moves the view horizontally or vertically.

Hold down the Spacebar and drag in the direction you want to pan the view.

Reset Pan

Resets the view’s pan to its default position.

View > Reset Pan

Press Shift + N

Reset View

Resets the view to its default position.

View > Reset View

Press Shift + M

The Reset View button at the bottom of the Camera view.

Reset Rotation

Resets the view’s rotation to its default position.

View > Reset Rotation

Press Shift + X

Reset Zoom

Resets the view’s zoom to its default position.

View > Reset Zoom

Rotate View Rotates the view left or right. While holding Ctrl + Alt (Windows/Linux) or Ctrl + ⌘ (macOS), click and drag the rotating disc to rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise.
3D Rotate View Rotates the view in any direction. This is only available in the Perspective view. While holding Ctrl + Shift (Windows/Linux) or ⌘ + Shift (macOS), click and drag the stage to rotate it in any direction.

Rotate 30 CW

Rotates the Camera view 30 degrees clockwise, like an animation table.

View > Rotate View CW

Rotate 30 CCW

Rotates the Camera view 30 degrees counter-clockwise, like an animation table.

View > Rotate View CCW

Mirror View Temporarily flips the Camera or Drawing view horizontally, allowing you to view and edit your artwork as if it was being mirrored. View > Mirror View

In the Camera or Drawing toolbar, click on the Mirror View button.

Toggle Quick Close-up

Instantly multiplies the view's Zoom Factor by 4. For example, if the Camera View's Zoom Factor is at 100%, this will make it toggle between 400% and 100%.

Shift + Z

Toggle Full Screen

Cycles through the following display modes:

  • Normal Full-Screen: The main application window becomes full screen.
  • View Full-Screen: The selected view becomes full screen and all other views are collapsed.
  • Normal: The main application window is restored to its original size and collapsed views are expanded.

View > Toggle Full Screen

Press Ctrl + F (Windows/Linux) or ⌘ + F (macOS)

Touch Interface

If you are working with a touch screen, a trackpad or a tablet that supports touch input, you can also use standard two-finger gestures to zoom, rotate and pan the Camera and Drawing Views. To be able to do this, you must first enable the Support Gestures preference.