Cue Properties

Some features only available with SCS-Standard and/or higher license levels.


Click on a cue 'node' of the cue list tree to view and edit the Cue Properties. The upper panel to the right of the cue list tree will contain properties that are common to all cue types. For example:

Normally the lower part of this panel (Standby Control etc) is hidden as it is rarely used, but you can scroll down to see these extra properties, or drag the 'splitter bar' below the panel to permanently see more properties (as has been done for the above screen shot). SCS remembers the splitter bar position across sessions.

Properties and Controls

Some properties and controls displayed in this panel will vary depending on other properties or options. Also, some properties may only be available if you have an SCS Standard and/or higher license.


Cue: Enter your required identification for the cue, eg Q3 for 'Cue 3', FX 5 for 'Effect 5', or just the number of the cue, eg 27. You can also append decimals or alpha characters to the number, eg Q3.1, FX5A, etc. This field is also referred to as Cue Number and Cue Label.

When you add a cue SCS creates a default Cue Label which you can change if required. For example, if the previous cue label is Q3 then SCS will set the new cue label to Q4 unless that label is already in use. If the previous cue label is alphabetic-only, eg M, then SCS will set the new cue number to the next available alphabetic label.

If you want to re-number several cues you can use the Re-Number Cues option available under the Cues button in the toolbar.

Description: This is a free-format field into which you should enter a description of the cue. The details you enter in the Description will appear in the cue list in the upper part of the main screen. Note: You can leave this field blank and have it auto-populated from the Description of the first sub-cue.

Page: This optional free-format field is intended for entering the script page number, preferably prefixed by 'p' (eg p12 as shown above) to distinguish this from other fields when displayed. (Note: prior to the addition of the Page field, the recommendation was to include the page number in the Description, but the disadvantage of that recommendation is that other cues that pick up the description, eg SFR or Level Change cues, would include the page number of the origin cue as it was part that cue's Description. Having Page as a separate property keeps the Description 'clean' and more suitable for picking up for the default Description of SFR and Level Change cues.) Note that Page can be set or changed in Bulk Edit Cues, which is useful for adding page numbers to a cue file that doesn't currently have page numbers.

MIDI/DMX Cue: This field is only displayed if you have selected the Production Property Enable 'MIDI/DMX Cue' field in Cue Properties, or if you have selected a MIDI or DMX Cue Control device in Production Properties.

For MIDI control, enter the MIDI Cue Number that will trigger this cue from an incoming MIDI message. For DMX control, enter the DMX Cue Number that will map to a DMX channel in the range set in Cue Control Devices - DMX.

If you want this cue excluded from MIDI/DMX triggering, leave the MIDI/DMX Cue field blank. If you are using MIDI control then remember that for MIDI Control Message Types of Note On and Program/Controller Change then the MIDI Cue Numbers must be whole numbers in the range 1-127. This also applies to the MSC Fire Macro. For other MSC messages the MIDI Cue Numbers may have dot numbers, such as 1.2.3. The MSC format obviously supports far more cues than the other formats.

When Required: This is an optional free-format field into which you may enter details of when the cue should be started. Examples are: "3 seconds after blackout"; "When Leonard exits OP"; "Kipps: Thank you, Mr Bunce!"

Various Control Properties 

Cue Enabled: This field indicates if the cue is currently enabled, ie the cue is to be included in the main window. All new cues are enabled by default. Clear the checkbox to disable a cue. A disabled cue will not appear in the main window and will be ignored during production runs. Unlike deleting a cue, disabling a cue leaves the cue available in the Editor and so can be re-enabled later if required.

Exclusive Cue: Making a cue 'exclusive' makes sure your operator does not accidentally start another audio or video/image cue while this one is still playing. It is really just that - a way of reducing unintentional cue starts. If an exclusive cue is running then the 'Go' button is disabled if the cue displayed on the 'Go' button is or contains an audio or video/image cue. When the exclusive cue completes, the 'Go' button is then enabled if applicable.

Tip: If you want the option to override the Exclusive Cue property, ie if you want the option to be able to activate the 'Go' button even if an exclusive cue is playing, then the Ctrl (Control) key may be used for this purpose provided you have set the option 'Ctrl' overrides exclusive cue for 'Go' methods. This option is on the Shortcuts node of Options and Settings. See Options and Settings - Shortcuts for details.

Hotkey cues may be started while an exclusive cue is playing, but in keeping with the goal of the 'exclusive cue' property being a way to reduce unintentional cue starts, if a Hotkey cue itself is marked as 'exclusive' then this means that the Hotkey cue may not be re-started while it is playing. So if the operator accidentally presses the hotkey twice instead of once then the second press will be ignored if the cue has the 'exclusive cue' property set.

Warn Before End: This checkbox is only displayed if in your Production Properties you have nominated a Give Visual Warning... time. This checkbox enables you to turn on or off the visual warning for this cue. The default setting is 'on'. For more information, see Production Properties - Run Time Settings.

Display/Hide Cue: This drop-down list enables to hide cues either just from the Cue Panels in the main window, or to hide the cue completely in the main window (ie Cue Panels and the Cue List). Hiding cues in the Cue Panels (using the Hide Cue Panel selection) can be particularly useful for hotkey or non-linear cues that are fired repeatedly, as hiding the cues avoids the need to re-draw the cue panels when the cue starts and ends. Hiding cues completely (using the Hide Cue selection) is useful for auto-start cues that you do not want displayed on the main window, since displaying them could be confusing. The default selection in this drop-down list is Display Cue, which causes the cue to be displayed in both the cue list and the cue panels. Note that hiding a cue does not disable the cue. If you want to disable the cue, select the Cue Enabled checkbox as described above.

Activation (How the Cue is Started)

Activation Method (first field in this section): Normally a cue will be started by you clicking the Go! button or right-clicking the mouse. This is a manual start of the cue and is indicated by selecting Manual (Go button) as the activation method. However, other Activation Methods are also available.

Activation Method


Manual (Go button)

The cue will be started by you clicking the Go! button or right-clicking the mouse. You may also assign a keyboard key (such as the space-bar) to the 'Go' function. See Key Mapping for details.

Auto Start

The cue is to be automatically started a given time relative to the start or end of another cue, or to be started automatically a given time after the cue file has been loaded. You will need to enter the following fields:

Auto Start Time (before the word 'seconds'): The time in seconds, eg 3.5, relative to the start or end of another cue that this cue is to be started.

Activation Point (the next field): Select after start of cue, after end of cue, before end of cue or after cue file loaded from the drop-down list. The before end of cue option will start the current cue the specified time prior to the expected end of the controlling cue. The after cue file loaded option is used to start your cues automatically when the cue file has been loaded.

Controlling Cue (for cue-related Activation Points): Select from the drop-down list the cue that is to control the activation of the current cue. Note that you can select Previous cue which is useful if you may be moving cues around.

Hide this Auto-Start Cue in the Main Window: Select this checkbox if you don't want to see this auto-start cue displayed in the main window. If you select this checkbox for all your auto-start cues (which you can do using Bulk Edit) then in the Main Window you will only see your Manual Start cues (and any Time-Based cues).

Example: If for Q4 you select Auto Start 4 seconds after start of Q3 then Q4 will automatically start 4 seconds after Q3 is started. Note that the duration of Q3 has no bearing on when Q4 is started.

Sometimes you will want a cue to be activated immediately another cue stops or is stopped. In this case enter something like this: Auto Start 0 seconds after end of Q3.

A cue may alternatively be started by pressing a nominated key on the keyboard. This is known as a Hotkey. Hotkeys are useful for cues you want to start many times during the show, especially if the timing is fairly random. Four hotkey modes are available: trigger, toggle, note and step.

Hotkey (Trigger)

With a trigger hotkey, when you press (and release) the nominated key the cue will start playing, and it will continue playing until the end of the cue, or until the cue is ended by another cue. If you press the key again while the cue is still playing, the cue will restart from the beginning.

For all Hotkey modes you will need to enter the following fields: 

Hotkey: Select an available hotkey from the drop-down list. Although the number keys 0-9 are available in the list, be aware that the keys on the numeric pad may not activate a hotkey if numeric lock is off. It is safer to stick to the alphabetic keys (A-Z) and the function keys (F1-F12). The caps lock key does not affect hotkey recognition. The 'Page Up' (PgUp) and 'Page Down' (PgDn) keys are also available as they are the only keys supported by some wireless presenter clickers. However, if you use PgUp or PgDn then this will override the corresponding action on the main cue list.

Hotkey bank: Multiple hotkey banks are available with SCS Professional Plus and higher licenses only. See Hotkey Banks for details.

Hotkey label: Enter a label to be displayed in the Hotkey panel on the main screen. You should keep this label fairly short so you can read it easily.

Hotkey (Toggle)

With a toggle hotkey, the nominated key 'toggles' the play state of the cue. Press (and release) the key to start the cue, and press the key a second time to stop or fade out the cue. So when you press nominated key, if the cue is not currently playing then the cue will be started, but if the cue is currently playing then it will be stopped (or faded out if the cue has a fade out time). For Lighting Cues, if the cue is not currently playing then the lighting cue will activate the designated DMX channels, etc, but if the cue is currently playing then the designated DMX channels will be set to 0.

Hotkey (Note)

With a note hotkey, the key is treated like playing a note on a synth. Press and hold the nominated key to start the cue. The cue will continue playing while you hold down the key. When you release the key, the cue will be stopped (or faded out). For Lighting Cues, when you press and hold the nominated key then the lighting cue will activate the designated DMX channels, etc. When you release the key designated DMX channels will be set to 0. This could be useful for audience blinders, lightning effects, flashes from explosions, etc.

Hotkey (Step)

A step hotkey is similar to a trigger hotkey except that it is intended for scenarios where you need a different cue to be played for each activation of the hotkey. This enables you to have multiple cues assigned to the same hotkey, and SCS will 'step' through those cues one at a time for each press of the hotkey.

In the hotkey panel in the main window, step hotkeys will be listed with their respective 'step number', eg X#1, X#2, etc for hotkey X. Step numbers are dynamically assigned at runtime based on the physical order of these particular step hotkey cues. The step numbers are not stored in the cue file.

If the step hotkey (eg 'X') is pressed more times than there are steps then excess activations are ignored. They will, of course, be reset next time you open the cue file, but you can also manually reset them at any time using the Reset 'Step' Hotkeys menu item under Navigate in the main window. This reset feature is useful for rehearsals where you may wish to repeat the steps.


The cue will be automatically started at a nominated time of day. See Time-Based Cues for details.

Callable Cue

The Callable Cue Activation Method is similar to the Hotkey (Trigger) activation method except that the cue is started by another cue, not by the keyboard. These 'callable cues' are designed for situations where you may have the same sequence of events to be triggered several times in the show, where all those events can be set up as sub-cues of a single cue. The cue type that is used to activate a callable cue is the 'Call Cue' Cue. See also Callable Cues.

On Cue Marker

If you have an Audio File Cue that has Cue Markers or Cue Points then you can use these to trigger other cues. When you select On Cue Marker as the Activation Method then a drop-down list of available Cue Markers and Cue Points will be displayed. Just select the required entry from this list. When the cue for that marker or point is played and that selected marker or point is reached, this cue will be activated.

MIDI Time Code

For MIDI Time Code activation you will need to enter the required Time Code that will activate the cue. Note that if a cue with Activation Method 'MIDI Time Code' has multiple sub-cues then you can set individual sub-cues to start at a 'Relative MTC'. See the description of Relative MTC at Audio File Cues. (This description applies to all cue types.)

Cues may also be started using a two-step process, where a cue is intended to be started by a remote operator (such as an orchestra conductor) but only when the cue has first been set to a 'waiting for confirmation' state by the principal SCS operator or by an auto-start cue. See Cue-Start Confirmation for details.


The cue state is set to 'waiting for confirmation' manually, ie by any of the methods available for Manual (Go Button).


The cue state is set to 'waiting for confirmation' as for an Auto Start cue.

External (Trigger)

This is basically the same as Hotkey (Trigger) except that the cue is expected to be activated by a Cue Control command, such as an incoming MIDI message. More significantly, External (Trigger) is similar to Manual (Go button) with this important exception:

With Manual (Go button), if you try to re-activate the cue while it is currently playing (eg when using non-linear run mode), SCS ignores the re-activation request.

With External (Trigger) and also with Hotkey activation methods, if you re-activate the cue while it is currently playing then the re-activation request is accepted and the cue is restarted.

External (Toggle)

Basically the same as Hotkey (Toggle) except that the cue is expected to be activated by a Cue Control command, such as an incoming MIDI message.

Please note that SCS remembers the toggle state, so when you first send the 'Note On' for the particular cue the cue will start playing, and the next time you send the 'Note On', SCS will stop the cue. However, if the cue has already stopped then SCS still treats this as a 'Stop' request even though it does nothing. The reason for not resetting the state automatically after the cue naturally ends is to avoid the situation where the operator sends the 'stop' toggle request at around the same time as the cue naturally ends. If the operator's 'stop' request arrived after the natural end and if SCS had reset the state, then SCS would restart the cue, which is not what was required. So by having a consistent approach, always requiring both 'start' and 'stop' requests, we avoid embarrassing situations of a cue being started accidentally.

External (Note)

Basically the same as Hotkey (Note) except that the cue is expected to be activated by a MIDI Cue Control 'Note On' command. When the 'Note On' MIDI message for the cue is received, the cue will be started. When the corresponding 'Note Off' MIDI message is received, the cue will be stopped (or faded out if a fade-out time is specified).

External Fader

This activation method is currently designed solely for Lighting Cues. This activation method enables the associated Lighting Cue to be faded up and down manually under the control of a fader on a MIDI controller such as a nanoKONTROL, Behringer BCF2000 or BCR2000. See Lighting Control by External Fader for more information.

It is recommended that hotkeys and callable cues be defined after the last scheduled cue. Also, you cannot use a scheduled cue as a hotkey cue. If you want to use a sound file for a scheduled cue and also for a hotkey then enter two cues - one scheduled cue and one hotkey cue.

Tip: Hotkeys are a useful way of supplementing an atmos cue with random extra sounds. For example, if you require a 'forest atmos' cue to run for a few minutes, you could have a suitable forest ambience audio file as a scheduled cue, set to loop continuously until you stop the cue. You could also set up a couple of animal or bird sounds on separate hotkeys, and play these randomly during the 'forest atmos' cue. Just make sure the levels of the hotkey cues are set appropriately for the cue they are going to supplement; use the pan control so that you don't have all the animals and birds in the center (assuming you're running a stereo mix); and finally make sure that the animals and birds selected are native to the geography of the setting! And don't go overboard with hotkeys - normally the audience should not consciously notice the detail of an atmos cue.


Standby Control: This feature is primarily designed to provide a Repeat Last Cue capability. See Standby Cues for details.