Two coumarin-indole conjugate fluorescent dyes having donor-acceptor-donor (D-A-D) (CI-1 and CI-2) were synthesized, and characterized using IR, H-1/C-13 NMR and HRMS. The absorption and emission properties of the dyes were determined in different solvents. The anion sensitivity and selectivity of the dyes were studied with some anions (CN-, F-, AcO-, Cl-, Br-, I-, HSO4- and H2PO4-) in DMSO, and their interaction mechanisms were evaluated by spectrophotometric and H-1 NMR titration techniques. In addition, the molecular and electronic structures of CI-1, as well as the molecular complexes of CI-1, formed with the anions (F- and AcO-), were obtained theoretically and confirmed by DFT and TD-DFT calculations. CI-1 behaves as a colorimetric chemosensor for selective and sensitive detection of CN- in DMSO/H2O (9:1) over other competing anions such as F- and AcO-. However, only CN- interacts with chromophore CI-2 via Michael addition and the main absorption maxima shifts hypsochromically with an observed distinctive color change from orange to yellow. For using as a optic dye, the thermal stability properties of the dye's was determined by TGA (Thermal Gravimetric Analysis). Antimicrobial, antifungal and DNA-ligand interaction studies of the dyes were also examined. The dyes cause conformational changes on DNA and selectively bind to nucleotides of A/A and G/G. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.