Is LightKey a Good Lighting Program For You?

5 Reasons Why LightKey Isn't Right For You

LightKey is a lighting program for Mac users and it’s beginning to make a name for itself. While some users may use a blanket statement that LightKey is the best lighting software available, I have to respectfully disagree with this.

While LightKey is a good lighting program, I don’t believe it’s for everyone. When programming the lights, setting up the palettes, cues, etc I have found some flaws that can be very frustrating for users. In this post, we will discuss some reasons that LightKey may not be the best fit for you.

LightKey has just released it’s latest updated version, LightKey 3.0. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my latest review here, FULL LightKey App Review.

Preset Palettes

One of the more difficult features to work with is the preset palettes with LightKey. When using this console I only added 30 lights to work with. By the time I built basic colors, positions, and gobos the preset palette can get busy very quickly with just a few different cues.

With more professional-grade consoles such as LightShark, Onyx, or D-Pro the presets are designed differently. With those consoles, you can design a preset that would apply to all lights. But when you add it to a cue you can apply it to only certain lights. Unfortunately, with LightKey you don’t have that capability.

Ideally, LightKey would be so much easier to use if the preset palette feature was designed to function similar to a professional console. Even if we had the option to toggle on/off, it would be a great improvement.

Pan/Tilt Control

Inside of the design tab, you can access your color, dimmer, gobos, etc but the only attribute you don’t have access to is the pan and tilt control for your moving lights.

As you design and work with your lights this can actually be very inconvenient to work around especially when you can access every other attribute within the design control. Now, there is a keyboard shortcut Shift + P that will pop open your moving lights control.

When the position dialog opens you do have access to all of the pan and tilt controls but even that dialog window can get in the way of being able to see your lights on the stage design.

Group Limitations

Similar to the preset palettes personally I do wish that groups worked similar to a professional console but I do realize this would change just about everything in LightKey.

When working with groups you are limited on the functionality because LightKey will not let you have the same light in multiple groups. So for instance, if you’re working with lights on the back and front of the stage but want to just change the backlights you have to go through and double click while holding shift to select the backlights only.

While there is a workaround to the groups it’s very limiting and can be very limiting on what you can do. It would be very useful if you could define groups and break your lights apart into multiple groups.

Another way to help you with this is when patching in your lights you can actually name your lights and give them their own short names. So, if ahead of time you know how you want to group certain lights this can be a good option to work around the group limitations.


Most professional-grade consoles design their cuelist functionality to work more in favor of churches, theaters, etc. This means that when designing a cuelist there’s a tracking feature that when you copy a cue, make changes to attributes, the ones you didn’t change will remain.

Unfortunately, LightKey doesn’t have the smoothest transition but you can duplicate cues and then make changes to the new cue. There’s a lot of time that goes into duplicating and cutting attributes when if it would just track through things would be much easier.


Lastly, there is no OSC which is an option most professional console offers. Most people own a table and having the touch OSC option is an amazing way to access controlling your lights.

LightKey is amazing when working with a MIDI Controller so having the OSC option would be very similar. This is an option I would love to see available with LightKey.

Interested in trying out LightKey? Grab a demo version or buy it by clicking here!

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