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Digital Signage

What is Digital Signage?What is ScreenCloud?HardwareAppsProduct UpdatesSecurityDashboards




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How to Change Digital Signage With Stream Deck or iPad

When you’ve got something important to tell your team, all you need to do is press a button—on a Stream Deck or iPad, or a keyboard shortcut on your computer—to automatically change your ScreenCloud signage.

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You can slam on the brakes in your car without a second’s notice, or turn on the lights without even thinking about where the light switch is or which direction to flick it. The most important tasks need to be the easiest to accomplish so you can do them without thinking when the time comes.

Which is where a Stream Deck or other dedicated buttons to control your office signage can come in handy.

Most of the time, your ScreenCloud playlists and channels will run your digital signage on their own, no intervention needed. A few digital signage automations can keep your team updated with the latest info. Once you’ve set up your signage, you’ll have more time to focus on your work without worrying about what to share with your team and how to share it.

That is, until something breaks and you urgently need to tell everyone. Maybe it’s something coming up—like upcoming construction outside or an incoming storm—that’d be nice to let everyone know about in advance. Perhaps it’s something more critical, like a fire or severe weather warning when you need to get everyone out of the building, fast. That’s when you want a handy way to change up your signage quickly without thinking about it.

Here’s how, with a custom Stream Deck, iPad workflow, or keyboard shortcut to change your ScreenCloud digital signage in a second.

Stream Deck and Custom Keyboard Keys for Productivity

Ever watched a movie with a bank robbery, where a teller presses a panic button on the floor to call the cops and perhaps set off an alarm? That’s what we’re going to build, for your digital signage.

All you need is your existing ScreenCloud digital signage, a slide with an emergency announcement, a Stream Deck (or a custom keyboard shortcut on any computer, or an iPad or phone), and a bit of GraphQL code to change up your sign.

If you’ve never used one before, a Stream Deck (the upraised buttons in the header photo above) is an extra keyboard for your computer with programmable buttons. Set what you want to do with the button—open an app, play a sound, copy text, and more—then when you press the button, the Stream Deck app will run that action. It’s a popular way for Twitch and YouTube live-streamers to start soundtracks, switch camera angles, and more while streaming. And it’s equally useful in the workplace to launch your most-used apps or run workflows like this emergency signage idea.

But you don’t have to have a Stream Deck. You could use any programmable keypad, or even a spare button on your existing keyboard or mouse if you have programmable ones. You could also use Stream Deck’s apps on your existing mobile device, or use Apple Shortcuts on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch to run many of the same automations. Or, you could make a custom keyboard shortcut on any computer to change up your signage.

Here’s how.

Make an Emergency Announcement Sign

Use ScreenCloud Noticeboard to make a warning sign.
An emergency sign, built in ScreenCloud Noticeboard

Start out by making an emergency announcement screen in ScreenCloud. If you already have a slide, image, or PDF for such announcements, upload it to ScreenCloud’s Media folder. Otherwise, use a built-in app like Noticeboard for a quick announcement sign, or Canvas for a more detailed slide.

Add your emergency message, pick an icon if you want, and add a background image to highlight your message. Then name and save your slide.

If you’d prefer, you could make a full playlist or channel of info—perfect if you want to use your Steam Deck or iPad to switch up the content on your signs on demand for less critical moments. But for this tutorial, we’re going to cast a single Noticeboard app to our screen to build an emergency warning button. 

Now, let’s get the GraphQL code to cast this slide to our screen.

Use ScreenCloud’s GraphQL API to Change Your Screens

ScreenCloud’s GraphQL API lets you change almost anything with your signage. You can add new screens, turn off existing ones, upload media, and more with a few lines of text from Terminal. It’s the best way to cast any ScreenCloud app to your screen in a second.

If you haven’t used it yet, start first with our beginner’s guide to GraphQL for an in-depth guide to using ScreenCloud’s GraphQL API. Copy your ScreenCloud API key from your Account Settings, and try a few of the examples in that article to learn your way around. Then, you might want to keep ScreenCloud’s GraphQL API documentation open in a new tab, if you want to experiment more with GraphQL while building out your emergency signage.

Use Postman to get data from GraphQL APIs (ScreenCloud pictured).
Find your screen name and app ID in Postman

We’re going to use ScreenCloud’s CreateCastsByAppInstanceId Mutation to cast the emergency screen you just made to your signage.

To do that, first we need to get your screen’s ID, and the emergency sign’s app ID. The easiest way to do that is to run the following query in Postman, a free API tool:

query AllScreens { {
  allScreens { {
    totalCount {
    nodes { {
      id {
      name {
    } {
  } {
  allAppInstances { {
    totalCount {
    nodes { {
      id {
      name {
    } {
  } {

In Postman’s response box, search for your screen’s name and copy the ID (or note down multiple screens, as a single query can change as many screens as you want). Then search for the emergency sign app’s name, and copy its ID as well.

Automate digital signage with ScreenCloud's GraphQL API
ScreenCloud changing to the emergency signage with a tap

Now, let’s try switching your screen to show the emergency sign, using GraphQL. This time, run the following mutation, replacing SCREEN_ID and APP_ID with your screen’s and app’s ID, respectively:

mutation CreateCastsByAppInstanceId {
    input: {screenIds: "SCREEN_ID", appInstanceId: "APP_ID"}
  ) {

Keep an eye on your signage—or on ScreenCloud’s preview window—and a second after you press the Query button, your signage will show your emergency warning.

Want to resume your regular programming? Run the ScreenCastStop GraphQL mutation to stop casting, replacing SCREEN_ID again with your screen’s ID:

mutation ScreenCastStop {
  screenCastStop(input: {screenId: "0062f47d-3f88-4254-86be-55a213fe474c"}) {

Run that, and your signs will be back to normal.

Change Your ScreenCloud Signage With a Keyboard Shortcut

All that’s left is to set a hotkey or keyboard shortcut to run your GraphQL code to change your signage when you need it the most.

The easiest ways to do that are with:

  • Shortcuts on a Mac
  • AutoHotKey on a Windows PC
  • Zapier, from any device (ideal to change your signage from your phone or smartwatch with Siri or Google Assistant)

The Mac and PC versions are similar. To show the emergency sign, you’ll run the following code in Terminal or Command Prompt, replacing YOUR_TOKEN with your API key from ScreenCloud, SCREEN_ID with your screen ID, and APP_ID with your App ID, as before: (note: On macOS, you don’t have to use backslashes to escape the quotation marks, but we included them here so the code will work on both Mac and Windows):

curl -s -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer YOUR_TOKEN" -d "{"query":"mutation CreateCastsByAppInstanceId { createCastsByAppInstanceId(input: {screenIds: \"SCREEN_ID\", appInstanceId: \"APP_ID\"}) { clientMutationId } }"}"

Run that, and your screen will switch to show your emergency sign. Then, run the following code (adding your token and screen ID) to stop casting and switch back to your normal programming:

curl -s -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer YOUR_TOKEN" -d "{"query":"mutation ScreenCastStop { screenCastStop(input: {screenId: \"SCREEN_ID\"}) { clientMutationId } }"}"

With the code in hand, you can now set up your automations.

macOS Shortcuts running a GraphQL Query
The Mac Shortcuts app is an easy way to run a command with a keyboard shortcut

On a Mac, open the built-in Shortcuts app, click + to create a new workflow, then in the sidebar search for Run Shell Script and drag it into your workflow. Paste in your CURL command from above to activate your emergency screen. Then click the i button in the sidebar, click the keyboard shortcut button, and add the shortcut you want (I used fn + → but anything that’s easy to remember works).

Set a Windows keyboard shortcut to run a script
Windows lets you set a keyboard shortcut for any shortcut—even a command

On Windows, you have a few options. You could save the CURL command to a new text file in Notepad, save it with the .bat file extension, then right-click on that file and add a new shortcut. Open the shortcut’s properties, and you can add a keyboard shortcut to run that bat file. Or, install AutoHotkey, a free tool to run commands with keyboard shortcuts, and code a new script to run your .bat command.

Now, whenever you press that shortcut on your computer, your ScreenCloud sign will start showing your emergency screen. If you have an extra button on your keyboard, you could set that as the hotkey for a one-button setup.

Running a keyboard shortcut from Stream Deck
Set Stream Deck to run your shortcut whenever you press a button

Or, use Stream Deck. Download the Stream Deck app on your Mac or PC, then drag the Hotkey button to one of the available buttons. Set the keyboard shortcut you just created to activate, add a name, and add a ScreenCloud icon if you’d like.

Streamdeck iPad app screenshot.
Have an iPad? You can turn it into a Stream Deck with an app.

Then, either connect to a Stream Deck device, or install the StreamDeck app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Connect to your computer, and moments later your ScreenCloud button will show up on your device.

Tap that, and your ScreenCloud screen will start displaying your emergency message.

Change Your ScreenCloud Screens From Siri and Google Automator

Or, there’s one more way to change your ScreenCloud digital signage that doesn’t require a Mac or PC. You will need a Zapier account to run the GraphQL query—and then, you could change your signage on the go, from your iPhone, Apple Watch, Android tablet, and more, even if your computer is turned off.

Start off by checking out our Siri for Digital Signage piece to see how to set up Siri and Google Assistant to work with ScreenCloud.

With Google Assistant, you’ll use the same steps to send an email—perhaps have the email say to “change signage” or whatever else you want.

With Apple Shortcuts, though, instead of using ScreenCloud Playgrounds’ Webhooks integration, use Zapier’s. We want Siri or Google Assistant to send a Webhook to Zapier, then have Zapier run your GraphQL query.

Run GraphQL code from Zapier
Zapier can run your GraphQL code to update your signage whenever the Webhook is triggered

Open Zapier, create a new Zap, and add a Webhook trigger. Copy the URL, and add it to your Shortcuts workflow (and this time, you don’t need Siri to send any additional text).

Now, back in Zapier, add a Code action. Choose JavaScript, and add the following code, swapping in your API key, App, Screen ID and before:

const query = `
  mutation CreateCastsByAppInstanceId {
      input: {screenIds: "SCREEN_ID", appInstanceId: "APP_ID"}
      ) {

const token = 'API_KEY'; // Replace with your actual token

const response = await fetch('', {
  method: 'POST',
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json',
    'Authorization': `Bearer ${token}`
  body: JSON.stringify({ query })

const data = await response.json();
output = { result: data };

Turn on your Zap—and you’re ready to go.

Apple Shortcuts on iPad.
Build a custom page of buttons in Shortcuts for a personalized stream deck-type tool that works the way you want.

Now, on your iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch, open Shortcuts and tap the button for your new workflow to change your sign. Or, say “Hey Siri, ScreenCloud” or whatever you named your workflow to change signs in a second.

Or, on an Android device, say “Hey Google, email ScreenCloud” or the contact name you want, and a moment later your sign will be updated.

Automate Your Signage

Now that you’ve built out a panic button, start thinking about other ways you’d like to automate your signage with a button press. Perhaps you could build out a new playlist for celebrations and, when there’s something exciting, press a button to get the party started. Or maybe you just want a quick way to turn off screens—that’s possible too, with another GraphQL query.

Keep exploring: There are countless ways you can automate your digital signage to keep your team informed and up to date.

And if you don’t have digital signage yet, it’s the perfect time to start a free ScreenCloud trial and build out your first signage.

Image Credit: Header image by Jonathan Balderas Cabañas via Unsplash

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