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How to use Mode and Shift functionality

John Carney's picture by John Carney last updated Jun 20, 2018


What are Modes?

Put simply, Modes enable you to give each input on your MIDI Controller multiple functions.
To illustrate this better, here's an example.
You have a midi controller, lets take Korg's "Nano Pad 2" for example, it has 16 pads which means you can perform 16 actions with it.

korg nanopad 2 midi controller

You could do something like create a set of 8 mute buttons on one side and 8 volume controls on the other. That’s great and is totally satisfactory.


Wouldn’t it be a lot more useful if you could give every pad multiple functions and have the ability to switch between them?!
If this was possible, you could use the same set of 8 pads to control 8 mutes, 8 volumes, 8 arms, 8 solos and so on. Making your controller more powerful and essentially getting more for your money.

This is what Modes are for. In your MIDI remote script you can create groups of mappings which we call “Modes”. Whenever you create a mapping in the Remotify App, you’ll see a drop down menu labelled “mode”. Here is where you decide which mode number this mapping should be available on.

the mode dropdown menu in Remotify

Think of each mode as a separate page in a book. Each page contains a list of mappings and when you turn to a different page, a completely different set of mappings are displayed.

Diagram of mode functionality

For example, you could use mode 1 for all of your mixer functions, mode 2 for session box control and mode 3 for device controls.

Note: This is only available in Remotify Pro. In the free version, mappings can only be added to 'mode 1'.

Rather than needing a gigantic midi controller to access all of the controls you need in Ableton Live, utilise Modes!
You can set upto 16 separate modes in Remotify, which means you can add upto 16 different functions for each input on your controller.
Now you can get a lot more out of your equipment!

How do I switch to different modes?

To do this you have 2 options, you can use either a “mode activation” button or a “shift” button. They both do the same thing (access another mode) but they do it in slightly different ways.

How does the mode activation button work?

Mode button in the Remotify App

This does what you would expect, when you press the mode activation button, it instantly removes all of the current mode’s mappings and activates a different mode.
When creating the button inside Remotify, you will select the mode which will be activated.

How does the shift button work?

Shift button in the Remotify App

The shift Button essentially does the same thing but works in more of a momentary way. 

When the shift button is pressed, it removes the currently active mode and replaces it with another. Then when you release the shift button, this new mode is removed and it switches back to the previous mode, giving you the ability to quickly switch between 2 modes with just one button.

Diagram of how the shift button works

Think of it like when you use the shift on a regular computer keyboard, you press the number 1 key and 1 is output (as expected), press shift then 1 and it outputs an exclamation mark. When you release shift and hit 1, it outputs the number 1 again… it’s the exact same principle.

tip: make the shift button a toggle if you would like to stay in your shift mode without having to hold a button down at the same time.

As an example, I like to use this for switching between “tempo control” and “tempo fine control”. 
I use the same encoder for both but hold a shift button down for when I want to increase or decrease the track tempo in smaller amounts.

tempo and tempo fine control buttons

One thing to note about shift & mode activation buttons is that they are automatically added to a the global mode: mode 0.

What is Mode 0?

Mode 0 is different to all of the other modes. This is the mode that's always active and runs alongside whichever other mode you have active.
This allows you to add controls that you don't want to change when you switch modes. A good use for Mode 0 is to set your Mode Activation and Shift buttons to Mode 0 so that they're always available.
One drawback to note is that as Mode 0 is always active, you will only be able to assign 1 control to an input that uses this.

diagram displaying mode zero separately to the other modes

"If you’re new to scripting in Ableton, this tool is a must.

It will not only save you a massive headache, but also allows you to learn how it works as you go since Remotify also gives you an uncompiled “.py” version of the files so you can have a look at the code.

This app will make basic mapping tasks a breeze."

DJ Techtools

"Controllers are great! But sometimes you wish to customize a few knobs.
Before Remotify, you had to be a programmer to create an Ableton script.
Today, us mere mortals can go online to Remotify and use their dead simple, drag and drop script creator.

It literally takes a few seconds to have custom control of Ableton!
In the time it took you to read this, you could have created your own custom Ableton Script for that controller sitting in front of you!"

Antonio Sage,
Certified Ableton Instructor & Creative Director at AudiOutlaw

"Thanks again. It is working great! I'm running 2x DS1s to extend control over 16 channels and your Remotify app has enabled me to tailor the functionality and workflow in a way that I couldn't achieve otherwise. Thank you!"


"Thank you so much for your support! It's nice to see how active you are and willing to help out customers on an individual basis. Can't wait to see how this project will evolve with all those exciting possibilities coming up. It has already evolved a lot since a few weeks ago when I discovered Remotify."


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