System Requirements

  • Mac computer with macOS 10.13 or later
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 360MB of disk space
  • Screen size of at least 1200 × 700 pixels
  • One of the supported USB or network interfaces for DMX output
  • Live Triggers require Ableton Live 9 or newer on the same computer (optional)

Key Features

  • Live preview with 3D virtual light beams
  • Direct manipulation of fixtures within the visualization
  • Preview can show multi-beam fixtures, including LED strips, bars, matrixes, and PARs (grid, ring, or hexagon layout)
  • Effect generator with over 50 fully editable effect templates
  • Built-in fixture editor allows on-the-fly changes
  • Extensive keyboard control and support for multi-touch gestures
  • External control through DMX-In, any standard MIDI controller, and customizable keyboard shortcuts

User Interface

  • Single Window and Dual Window modes
  • Supports full-screen mode and Split View
  • Extensive support for Touch Bar
  • Toolbar provides quick access to many features
  • Lock projects and preferences with a password or Touch ID1  NEW
  • On-screen controls optimized for touch-screens
  • Haptic feedback on Force Touch trackpads
  • White-on-black user interface optimized for usage in dark environments
  • Optimized for Dark Mode in macOS Mojave
  • Adaptive background color
  • Supports high-resolution Retina displays
  • Localized in English, German, Italian

1 Requires Mac with Touch ID sensor.


  • Engineered from the ground up as a native 64-bit macOS application
  • Virtual light beams rendered through Apple’s Core Animation and Metal 2 technologies
  • Highly efficient DMX output engine, decoupled from user interface
  • Abstract control model based on logical values—defers DMX generation to the final stage
  • Device communication through the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA)
  • Project files and fixture profiles support macOS’s auto-save technology
  • Full undo support
  • Automatic download and installation of app updates

DMX Output

  • Up to 4 DMX512 output universes (2048 channels), depending on license
  • 2 DMX512 input universes (512 channels)
  • Variable output rates from 30 through 44Hz
  • Supports numerous USB interfaces and output protocols through the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA)
  • Can integrate with an existing OLA server (optional)
  • Automatic detection of connected Art-Net nodes through Art-Poll
  • Blind mode allows making changes without affecting the DMX output while cuelists, sequences, and effects continue to run
  • Freeze DMX output and seamlessly resume cuelists, sequences, and effects
  • DMX output window shows live channel values for universes or individual fixtures
  • Conditional fixture properties through Operation Mode property
  • Supports 16-bit output values

Interfaces and Protocols

USB Interfaces1
  • DMXking ultraDMX Micro
  • DMXking ultraDMX Pro
  • DMXking ultraDMX RDM Pro
  • DMXking ultraDMX2 PRO2
  • DMXking eDMX2 PRO2
  • Eurolite USB-DMX5123
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO MK23
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO Cable3
  • Jese DMX-TRI
  • Jese RDM-TXI MK2
  • Jese RDM-TRI MK2
  • Robe Universal Interface
  • Robe RUNIT WTX
  • USB-DMX Stage-Profi MK2
  • USB-DMX Stage-Profi MK3


Network Protocols

Any device which supports one of the following protocols:

  • Art-Net versions 1, 2, and 3
  • sACN (streaming Architecture for Control Networks)/E1.31 multicast
  • ESP Net (Enttec Show Protocol)

1 All required device drivers are included. To output more than one DMX universes we recommend to use an interface with multiple output ports. 2 Lightkey can only use a single port on the DMXking ultraDMX2 PRO or eDMX2 PRO when connected via USB. Both ports are available through Art-Net or sACN. 3 These USB interfaces require that an admistrator password is entered at startup.

Supported Fixtures

Controls any type of DMX512-compliant fixture, including:

  • fix-par
  • fix-movinghead Moving Heads
  • fix-scanner Scanners
  • fix-blinder Blinders
  • fix-laser Lasers
  • fix-ledstrip LED Strips & Matrixes
  • fix-ledbar LED Bars
  • fix-strobe Strobes
  • fix-pararray PAR Arrays
  • fix-mharray Moving Head Arrays
  • fix-fog Fog Machines

Fixture Properties

Natively Supported Fixture Properties
  • Cap-Movement Position (8 or 16 bit pan/tilt, infinite pan/tilt, support for moving lights with multiple heads)
  • Cap-Speed Movement Speed
  • Dimmer (8 or 16 bit, optional master channel, beam level control)
  • Cap-ColorComponent Color Mixing (RGB or CMY with 8 or 16 bit, optional master channel; Warm/Cool White, Amber, Ultraviolet; beam level control)
  • Color Wheel (one or multiple color wheels, split colors, rainbow effects with variable speed)
  • Cap-ColorFilter Color Temperature (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-GreenSaturation Green Saturation (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-GreenSaturation Xfade to Color (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Gobo-2 Gobo Wheel (predefined or custom gobo images, one or multiple gobo wheels)
  • Cap-Gobo-2 Gobo Indexing (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Gobo-2 Gobo Rotation (clockwise/counterclockwise, bounce, variable speed)
  • Cap-Gobo-2 Gobo Shake (variable speed)
  • Cap-Focus Focus (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Zoom Zoom (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Iris Iris (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Frost Frost (on/off, 8 or 16 bit linear, pulse effects)
  • Cap-Prism Prism (various prism types)
  • Cap-Prism Prism Indexation (8 or 16 bit)
  • Cap-Prism Prism Rotation (clockwise/counterclockwise with variable speed)
  • Cap-Strobe Shutter (beam level control)
  • Cap-Strobe Strobe (constant speed, random speed, sound-active; beam level control)
  • Cap-Strobe Shutter Pulse Effects (beam level control)
  • Cap-Lamp Lamp
  • Cap-Fog Fog
  • Cap-Command Command (channel value is applied for a specified time)
  • Cap-Mode Operation Mode (conditional properties)
Custom Fixture Properties
  • Discrete options (e.g. built-in macros)
  • Variable values (e.g. speed)
  • Default option and/or value
  • Display as percent or DMX value
  • Support for 16-bit output

Hardware Control

  • Input from up to two DMX universes
  • User-definable triggers and actions
  • Automatically adds trigger when a channel in an input universe changes
  • Automatic detection of control type (button vs. fader)
  • Save, import, and export DMX-In configurations
  • Compatible with any standard MIDI controller through Core MIDI
  • Supported MIDI commands: Note On/Off, Control Change (CC), Program Change, Pitch Wheel
  • Support for 14-bit CC messages and feedback
  • User-definable triggers and actions
  • “MIDI Learn”: Automatically adds trigger when a button, fader, or rotary knob on the MIDI controller is operated
  • Automatic detection of control type (button vs. fader/rotary knob)
  • Support for Shift key on some MIDI controllers
  • MIDI feedback (for controllers with LEDs, motorized faders etc.)
  • RGB color feedback for Novation Launchpad MK2 and Pro, and Akai APC40 mkII
  • Dual-color feedback for Novation Launchpad Mini, Akai APC mini, APC20, and APC40
  • MIDI input port for connections from software applications
  • Save, import, and export MIDI configurations
  • Extensive keyboard control throughout the application
  • Context-sensitive shortcut display
  • User-definable keyboard shortcuts
  • Save, import, and export keyboard configurations
Multi-Touch Gestures1
  • Control Intensity, Master Intensity, color hue and saturation through scroll wheel or swipe gestures
  • Control Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris through pinch gesture or force click
  • Multi-touch gestures are user-configurable
Touch Screen
  • Main user interface optimized for touch screens
  • Controls have large click regions for comfortable touch control
  • All essential functions accessible without a right mouse button or scroll wheel

1 Scroll gestures require Apple Magic Mouse, trackpad, or mouse with scroll wheel. Swipe and pinch gestures require multi-touch trackpad or Apple Magic Trackpad. Force click requires trackpad with Force Touch.

Live Triggers

  • Drag lighting cues as clips to the Ableton Live timeline
  • Lighting cues are activated/deactivated in sync with the music
  • Communication through MIDI messages
  • Works with cues from both control panels and cuelists1

1 Lightkey can create up to 128 clips per control panel or cuelist.


  • Arrange, resize, and rotate fixtures according to their physical locations
  • Add built-in or custom images, shapes, trusses, and text labels
  • Resize and rotate multiple objects at once
  • Smart alignment guides allow precise placement of objects on the same horizontal or vertical axis
  • Smart spacing guides allow equidistant spacing of objects
  • Commands for aligning, distributing, and layering objects
  • Virtual beams simulate pan/tilt angles, intensity, color, gobo and gobo movement, focus, zoom, iris, frost, shutter/strobe
  • Fixture position (pan/tilt) control uses polar coordinates to reflect actual beam positions
  • Customizable perspective for stationery and moving lights
  • Customizable limits for pan and tilt ranges
  • Maintain relative pan/tilt distances when positioning multiple fixtures
  • Display multiple instances of a fixture (for identical fixtures with the same DMX address)
  • Visualization adapts itself to screen size

Design View

  • Intelligent selection commands
    • “Type selection” quickly selects fixtures with a common prefix or individual fixtures
    • Groups allow selecting multiple fixtures with a single click
    • Keyboard shortcuts to select fixtures by position (Arrow keys) or name (Control-Tab)
  • Copy and paste values and effects between fixtures, including fixtures of different types
  • Change properties relative to current state (supported by Dimmer, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris)  NEW
  • Define per-fixture default values for fixture properties  NEW
  • Unlimited undo support for all fixture property changes
  • Individual beam control for multi-beam fixtures (intensity, color, shutter/strobe)
  • Use fanning to spread fixture property values across a range of fixtures or beams (supported properties: Dimmer, Color, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris, Frost, Fog, custom properties)
  • Design view adapts itself to the patched fixture’s properties for optimal use of screen space  IMPROVED
  • Rearrange fixture properties and hide unused properties
  • Color mixing for RGB and CMY with hue, saturation, and brightness controls  IMPROVED
  • Synthetic Dimmer control for RGB fixtures with no Dimmer channel

Preset Palette

Presets and Groups
  • Store arbitrary combinations of fixture properties as presets
  • Auto-assigned preset names and icons, depending on content
  • The selected preset’s contents are displayed in the visual preview
  • Add the contents of a preset to the overridden properties by drag and drop
  • Quickly add the overridden fixture properties to a preset
  • Organize presets in nestable groups
  • Find presets by name
  • Sequence order options: repeat, forwards/backwards, autoreverse, freeze on completion
  • Hold and crossfade times can be defined for entire sequence or individual steps
  • Edit hold and fade times for multiple steps at once
  • Control overall sequence speed factor
  • Create pan/tilt movements through defined points (either at defined times or with uniform speed)
  • Beat-controlled sequences with definable beat multiplier
  • Smart icons reflect the sequence order options
  • Reverse of shuffle sequence steps
  • Adjust sequence speed from Live view

Live View

  • Store an unlimited number of cues comprised of an arbitrary selection of presets and sequences
  • Set fade-in/out times and priority for each cue
  • Modifiers allow changing various aspects of a cue during a show: Speed, Dimmer, Hue, Color Temperature, Green Saturation, Xfade to Color, Pan Angle, Tilt Angle, Focus, Zoom Angle, Iris Size, Frost Amount
  • Auto-activating cues at application start
  • Auto-activating cues before application quits (e.g. to turn fixtures off)
  • Copy and paste cues between control panels and cuelists
  • Quickly add the overridden fixture properties to a cue
Control Panels
  • Fully customizable with buttons and faders to control cues during a live show
  • Switch between multiple control panels
  • Toggle or flash buttons
  • Arrange and resize buttons freely
  • Resize multiple buttons at once
  • Smart alignment guides and “magnetic” grid allow precise placement of buttons
  • Attach buttons to create a group where only one button can be active at a time
  • Button color is automatically set according to the cue’s contents or can be chosen manually  IMPROVED
  • Text labels
  • Create named frames to group related buttons
  • Successively step through the buttons in a frame with Previous/Next buttons
  • Recall cues in a specific order
  • Switch between multiple cuelists
  • Organize cues in nestable groups
  • Automatic cue numbering
  • Automatic crossfades between cues with a predefined duration  IMPROVED
  • Manual crossfades with Xfade slider
  • Advance to next cue manually or after predefined hold time
  • Edit hold and fade times for multiple cues at once
Beat Control
  • Synchronize sequences and effects with music
  • Set speed through tapping, by entering an exact BPM (beats per minute) value, or synchronize with MIDI Clock

Effects Engine

  • Over 50 fully editable effect templates
  • Effects remain editable at any time, even when stored in presets or cues
  • Apply effects to multi-beam LED strips and matrixes
  • Synchronize effects to music
  • Copy and paste effects
  • Overlay multiple effects for the same fixture property
  • Save custom effect templates
  • Adjust effect speed from Live view
Fixture Order Options
  • Order by position in Preview, by short name, by address, or randomly
  • Order from/to center
  • Select fixtures or individual beams (LEDs)
  • Group consecutive pixels
  • Repeat pixel indexes
Pattern Effects
  • Basic patterns: Chase, Fill, Rain, Sparkle, Fire, Jellyfish
  • Apply pattern effects to Dimmer or Color (RGB) properties
  • Configure pattern values and parameters
  • Color pattern effects can include additional color components (cool/warm white, amber, ultraviolet)
Curve Effects
  • Uses repeating mathematical functions to calculate fixture property value
  • 16 basic curve types with adjustable parameters
  • Graphical curve editor for changing X/Y shift, scale, segment widths
  • Apply curve effects to the following fixture properties: Dimmer, Color, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris, Frost, Fog, custom properties
  • Colors can be split into components using three different color models: HSB (hue, saturation, brightness), RGB (red, green, blue), CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) plus additional colors (cool/warm white, amber, ultraviolet)
  • Pan/tilt mirroring allows inversion of the pan or tilt angles on one side
  • Relative position effects: Pan and tilt angles are added to the positions defined elsewhere
Movement Effects
  • Uses closed movement paths to define pan/tilt movements
  • 14 built-in, fully editable movement paths
  • Integrated movement path editor uses polar coordinate system to show actual beam positions
  • Translate and scale paths
  • Reverse and flip movement paths
  • Interpolation modes: smooth, linear, points
  • Save custom movement paths for reuse
  • Pan/tilt mirroring allows inversion of the pan or tilt angles on one side
  • Relative position effects: Pan and tilt angles are added to the positions defined elsewhere

Fixture Editor

  • Editor for fixture profiles integrated into application
  • Profile changes take effect instantly
  • Built-in, searchable library with over a thousand native fixture profiles
  • The latest fixture profiles can be downloaded from online fixture library
  • Manage fixture profiles in the application—no need to track individual files
  • Edit an unlimited number of fixture profiles at once
  • Supports multiple fixture modes (also called “personalities”)
  • Import fixture profiles in the following formats:
    • .lightkeyfxt (native format)
    • .ssl2 (Sunlite 2)
    • .fxt, .pff (DMX Freestyler)
  • Export fixture profiles in .lightkeyfxt format
  • Share fixture profiles via Mail, Messages, AirDrop
  • Assistant for creating new fixture profiles
  • Graphical editor for beam layout
  • Built-in color library includes Lee Filters, GamColor, Roscolux
  • Built-in, searchable library with over 320 gobo images
  • Live warnings as profile is edited
  • Full undo support for all changes to a fixture profile
  • Copy and paste settings between fixture modes or profiles


  • Unified user interface for patching universes and fixtures
  • Patch fixtures by drag and drop from the fixture library
  • Auto-assigned short names
  • Patch multiple identical fixtures to the same DMX address
  • DIP switch display
  • Reassign a different profile to existing fixtures
  • Print an overview of all fixtures including patching information and comments

Lightkey User Guide

Hungry for more information? Check out the User Guide to explore everything you can do with Lightkey.

Open User Guide