License Types

QLab licenses come in two basic categories: permanent licenses and rental licenses. Permanent licenses last forever, whereas rental licenses have an expiration date set at the time of purchase.

Within both these categories, there are five types of licenses:

  • Basic Audio
  • Basic Video
  • Pro Audio
  • Pro Video
  • Pro Bundle (Pro Audio and Pro Video licenses rolled into one and sold at a discount)

Please note:

  • With the release of QLab 4, QLab 3 licenses are no longer for sale. You can buy a QLab 4 Audio or Video license, and use it with QLab 3.2 or newer. You can no longer purchase QLab 3 licenses.

Multiple licenses may be installed simultaneously within a single copy of QLab. You could, for example, own a permanent Basic Audio license and then rent a Pro Video license for just one week. Installing that Pro Video license will not affect your Basic Audio license at all.

Installing New Licenses

Installing licenses is most easily done if the Mac that’s running QLab can be connected to the internet. (If your QLab Mac is offline, skip to the section below called Offline Activation.)

First, you need to make sure your copy of QLab is updated to version 3.2 or newer, which you can do by opening QLab and choosing Check for Updates… from the QLab menu.

Once you’re updated, choose Manage Your Licenses… from the QLab menu. You will be presented with the Licenses and Activations window. Click Log in to install a license… and enter your email and password, or enter only your email and click Get Link.

Using your password

If you enter your password, QLab will present you with a list of licenses associated with your account, along with buttons to install the license.

Once you choose a license, you will be presented with another choice; which seat to install. Each QLab license can be installed on up to three Macs at a time, with three specific uses:

  1. Main. The Main computer is used to run cues during your show. A show that uses one Mac for playing back Audio and another Mac for playing back Video has two Main computers.
  2. Backup. The Backup computer is there in case something goes wrong with the Main computer. You might have your Backup computer hooked up to your playback system, with a system in place to seamlessly switch over from the Main (this is often called a “hot spare” or “hot backup”), or you might have your Backup computer disconnected, but ready to plug in at a moment’s notice (called a “cold spare” or “cold backup.“) In either case, the Backup doesn’t do anything that’s audible or visible to the audience during the show unless it takes over for the Main computer.
  3. Edit. The Edit computer is used to work on your QLab workspaces in rehearsal, at your studio, or at home. If you have a visiting artist working on your show, you might loan your Edit seat to her so that she can work on her cues using her own laptop, rather than having to sit in the technical booth to work on cues. The Edit computer never does anything that’s audible or visible to the audience.

Once you choose a seat, the Licenses and Activations window will show you the license and seat that you installed.

If you click Get Link, we will send you an email containing a temporary license link which you can click to automatically log QLab in to your account. This makes it easy to install your license without having to remember your password, as long as you have access to your email on the same Mac that you’re using for QLab.

Installing Preexisting QLab 3 Licenses

When you first purchased the license, received a license file via email along with your receipt. To install that license, first download QLab onto your computer (from, then double-click on the license.

Occasionally, email servers (particularly Outlook servers) mangle the attachment. The file name of the license should look like this:


If it does not, first try changing whatever suffix follows the dot in the filename to “.QLab3License” and then double-click it. Sometimes licenses come through with the suffix “.QLab3License.XML” and all you need to do is delete that “.XML” to make it work. If it still does not work, contact the support team and we’ll help you out.

You can also install a license from inside QLab, by choosing Other License Actions > Install a Legacy License File from the QLab menu, and then selecting the license file and clicking Open.

Offline Activation

Adding and removing QLab licenses is typically done over the internet, and that’s the fastest and easiest way to do it. If your Mac cannot be connected to the internet, maybe because you’re on a boat, or your IT department is grouchy, you can still install a QLab license by using offline activation. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install QLab on your offline Mac. You’ll need to download it on a computer that is online, and then you can transfer it to the offline Mac via a local network, a USB key, or any other kind of external drive.
  2. Launch QLab and choose Other License Actions Save Offline Activation Request… from the QLab menu. You will be prompted to save the request file.
  3. Take that file and email it to us at, and let us know which license and seat you wish to install. For example, you might say “I want to install the Main Audio seat of my Pro Bundle” or you might say “I want to install the Main Lighting and Backup Video seats of my Pro Bundle.”
  4. We’ll take the request file, hand it to our team of license-processing elves, and email you back with the activation file.
  5. When you receive that email, copy the file to the offline Mac (again using a local network or a USB key or some similar method.)
  6. Finally, in QLab, choose Other License Actions Import Offline Activation… from the QLab menu, and select the activation file. Presto, change-o, the license will be installed!

Rental licenses

Rental licenses operate according to the same policy as permanent licenses. This is a change from how rental licenses operated in the past, and this change reflects our evolving understanding of the ways that rental licenses are used, and how that reflects the costs of developing and supporting QLab.

If you install a rental license before its start date, it will sit there patiently doing nothing until its start date comes along, at which point it will spring to life. You can install multiple rental licenses, each with different start dates, and they will each activate on their start date and deactivate on their expiration date, all without interfering with each other.

Modernizing licenses

QLab 4 introduced a new method of licensing which is account-based, rather than being based on a license file. The account-based system allows more exact tracking of which Mac has a license installed, and will bring more advances over time. If you own a QLab 3 license, you can “modernize” this license and bring it into the account system if you wish, but you do not have to.

If you want to modernize a QLab 3 license, you must first deauthorize it on all computers, and you must have a QLab account which you can create here. You can then write to us at and we’ll migrate your license into your account.

You do not need to modernize a license in order to use it for an upgrade discount.

Removing licenses

To remove a permanent license, connect your Mac to the Internet, choose Manage Licenses… from the QLab menu, and click Deauthorize and Delete this License. It’s important to do this before doing things like erasing and re-initializing the computer or selling the computer, because simply removing QLab will not deauthorize your license, and thus the Mac will still count towards your total of three installations.

Please note that we cannot remotely deauthorize licenses which have not been modernized. If your Mac is damaged or stolen and deauthorization is impossible, contact the support team and we can note this fact in our license database.

If you’re using a QLab 4 license or a QLab 3 license that has been modernized, you can also remotely remove a license from any Mac by logging into your QLab account on our website. To do this, click on the See details link next to the license you want to remove, and then click Deactivate for the seat you want to deactivate. The link will change to say Cancel pending deactivation. If you click again, it will change back to Deactivate and nothing will change. If you leave it alone, the seat will be released the next time QLab is launched on that Mac. Please note that the Mac must be connected to the internet when QLab launches for remote deactivation to work.

In between the time that you click Deactivate and the time that QLab is relaunched, the seat will remain unavailable for reinstallation.

Still have a question?

Our support team is always happy to help.

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