How Can I Control Lighting From My Mac?

We see posts on a weekly basis in the forums and on Facebook groups where people will ask what lighting software can I use on my Mac? 

While there aren’t nearly as many options as for PC, there still are some good options:


Enttec DMXIS lighting softwarePerhaps you are a musician in a band or the sound guy at a church and you’re looking to purchase a few LED pars and a few small movers. Look no further than DMXIS from ENTTEC.

You can program great effects and even use your laptop’s microphone to have your lights run with the sound. You can use the DMXIS plug-in to control your lights with your DJ software.

Plus, the USB to DMX interface you need comes in the box!


If you’re a lighting designer or programmer that needs a new platform or maybe you are looking to upgrade? ENTTEC has a more advanced option called the D-Pro.

D-Pro offers a great variety of effects, multi-layered cuelist playbacks, scripting and the creating of palettes. D-Pro can suit your needs for big and small lighting rigs. D-Pro can control up to 8 Universes (That’s 4096 channels).

To be totally honest, D-Pro isn’t my favorite, but it can work well, especially for situations where cost in a big concern.

To output DMX you can use the Enttec open-DMX box or the Enttec Pro-DMX box. D-Pro also supports Artnet and this allows you to use numerous Artnet-capable hardware to output DMX.


Next, on the list we have LightkeyLightkey offers virtual light beams to allow you to see where your fixture will be when you program it or if you are running the show from the wings and not being able to see all the fixtures.

Lightkey has a built-in stage editor. The stage editor allows you to create your dance floor or venues on the software, You can add your fixtures, shapes, trusses and custom images, this allows you to design your whole set from home. You can even copy and paste effects between fixtures, This is not limited to similar fixtures, You can copy and paste from any fixture to any fixture.

The effects engine is one of the most powerful effects engines in its league. You can choose from 50 built-in effects or create your own, You can overlay effects and apply it to almost any attribute.

Lightkey can sync with Ableton Live, Drag your cues to the Ableton timeline and you can sync your lighting perfectly with your music!

To output DMX you can use any Artnet, sACN or ESP-Net device.  Click here to check out David’s full review of LightKey!


Chamsys MagicQ MacThen, we have ChamSysChamSys consoles can be seen on countless shows and tours around the world and is a big competitor in the workhorses of lighting consoles.

ChamSys has a wide variety of consoles and DMX dongles starting off with the MagicDMX single universe dongle and going up all the way to the MagicQ MQ500.

MagicQ supports morphing, this is similar to other platforms swap and allows you to transfer your programming from the old fixture to the new fixture seamlessly. MagicQ also has cloning, this allows you to add more of the same fixtures to the rig without having to program them, it basically copies and pastes the fixture and gives it a new address.

MagicQ includes a powerful Pixel Mapping engine that enables images, movies, text, and live video feeds to be mapped onto grids of LED fixtures, dimmers or movers. If your amount of fixtures changes, MagicQ gives you the ability to change this instantly without having to re-program. If you not able to be with the rig, or are on tour, MagicVis is there to help you and comes free with the software.

MagicVis is a powerful visualization system fully integrated with ChamSys MagicQ software, It enables you to pre-visualise your show, to program blind and to automatically generate rigging paperwork including plots and patch lists.


Last but not least we have a new player that has entered the lighting industry by our friends over at Equipison called the LightShark.

LightShark is a cross-platform lighting control system, that allows you to control up to 8 DMX universes, which has an ultrafast web-based User Interface, LightShark supports Art-Net, sACN, MIDI, UDP, OSC, and HTTP.

LightShark currently offers 2 consoles, the “Core” and the LS1″, which each have 2 hardwired DMX ports and up to 8 universes over sACN

LightShark does need a phone, tablet or laptop to function as it’s screen, basically, anything that has a web browser can control LightShark without any additional app.

Learn Stage Lighting Labs Member Extras

Master LightKey with my guide LightKey – The Complete Guide

Learn DMXIS, and how to make a killer band lighting show in From Zero to Lighting Hero.

Does D-Pro suit your fancy?  Grab my basic and advanced guides to D-Pro in the Labs!

Grab the complete guide to LightShark here as well inside of the Labs!

About the author 

JP Ridgard