Prompting A-Z

Our Prompting A-Z is a useful guide to the key terms used in prompting. We wrote it to help people coming into the industry, but if you’re a seasoned professional you still might find an interesting word used elsewhere in the world so take a look and brush up on your prompting vocabulary.


The glass that sits at the front of a teleprompter. Also known as a mirror or teleprompter glass. The beamsplitter reflects the text from the monitor for the presenter to read, while using a special coating that allows a percentage of light through to the camera without the text being visible. At Autocue we use broadcast standard 70:30 glass that produces a clear mirror image and allows optimal light to the camera.

Blank screen

This function enables you to remove the script from the teleprompter screen at the touch of a button. Usually used to hide the script when a camera pans around a studio.


A bookmark is a location in the script that you want to be able to quickly jump to but isn’t a heading that you want the presenter to see (see slugline). In Autocue software you can create a bookmark by placing the cursor and pressing Alt+M. Navigate between bookmarks by pressing Alt+N (next bookmark) or Alt+P (previous bookmark).

Counterbalance weight / Counterweight

Used behind the camera to balance the weight of the prompter and stop the setup being front-heavy. We include a 5kg (11lb) weight as standard with our Pioneer Series. They’re not needed for the Explorer Series because the prompter can be mounted under the monitor (to bring the setup weight more centrally over the camera support).

Cloak / Uncloak

When you cloak a story in the run order it hides the story from the prompt output. Cloaked text will be visible but highlighted in the Story Editor. Uncloaking reverses the action.

Cue marker

A marker on the edge of the prompt output, guiding the presenter’s eye to the optimum reading position (don’t read from the top of the screen because you risk getting left behind by the script!). We recommend positioning the cue marker around 1/4 down from the top although some readers may prefer slightly lower to give more room for speed changes.


A prompting software term, used to describe dropping a story to the end of the run order – eg. when more time is needed for breaking news

Float / Unfloat

Another term for cloak [see Cloak / Uncloak]

Foot controller

A foot pedal used to control the speed and position of the script. Often found under news desks for presenters to use to operate their own script.

Hand controller

Used to control the speed and position of the script. Dedicated prompt operators usually use wired controllers with a scroll wheel to easily adapt to the speed of the reader. Wireless remote controllers can be used by presenters to operate their own script.

Newsroom / Newsroom Computer System / NRCS / NCS

A broadcast system for news production. The NRCS manages the journalists’ content and outputs a run order to the prompting software.

Prompt preview

The window in prompting software that shows what is being displayed on the prompter.

Reading range

The range of distance between the presenter and the prompter in which the presenter can still read the script effectively without extra large text (because the prompter is too far away) or eye movement (because the prompter is too close).

Run order / Run down

A group of stories/sections listed in order to create a complete script for a production.


A function within the story editor that allows the operator to save frequently used words or phrases and their formatting.


A story title that is visible on the prompt output but not read by the presenter. Sluglines are usually highlighted and help presenters understand what the next section of the script will cover.


A collection of one or more stories to be read out by the presenter.

Sound on Tape / SOT

A pre-recorded segment of a programme, sometimes referred to as a VT or soundbite. In broadcast prompting software settings allow SOTs to be highlighted in a common format for the presenters’ information.


A section of the script that is headed with a slugline.

Story editor

A section within prompting software that allows edits to be made to the script.

Talent feedback monitor

A monitor used to show the programme output to the presenter. These are often fitted below the teleprompter monitor to help the presenter maintain a good eyeline with the camera.

Tally light

A light added to a teleprompter to show which camera is live. This mirrors the camera tally which is obscured by the prompter hood.


This is a common function button on prompting controllers and refers to the start of the script. Pressing the top button on a controller will automatically return the prompt output to the start of the script.

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