For years, OBS has been one of the most popular pieces of live-streaming software. It’s the go-to choice for most new streamers, given how easy it is to use and understand. There are plenty of apps out there for streaming, but OBS boasts one of the biggest market shares, despite being a relatively basic piece of software. If you’re looking to get started with the app, check out this guide – we’ll let you know how to setup OBS for streaming in just a few simple steps.

It doesn’t matter if you’re streaming Call of Duty or if you’re planning on hosting a cooking show, OBS can give you what you need. It may be basic on the surface, but it’s a relatively powerful app that’ll enable you to push a broadcast to Twitch or YouTube in a matter of seconds. It’s one of those apps that’s as complicated as you make it, and if you want a complex stream, then you certainly can tweak OBS to deliver on that requirement.

So, here’s our guide on how to setup OBS for streaming.

how to setup obs

Why is OBS So Popular?

OBS is one of the best pieces of live-streaming software for several reasons, many of which are tailored towards the new, small streamer. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best reasons why OBS is such a popular app:

  • It’s totally free to use and doesn’t feature any hidden costs.
  • It’s less resource-heavy than its competitors, meaning it can be run on a lower-tier PC or laptop.
  • It’s still quite a powerful piece of software that can push out an HD stream with ease.
  • It can also be used to record gameplay, hitting two birds with one stone.
  • It’s highly customisable, both the layout of the app itself and the settings.

If you’re just learning how to become a streamer, OBS is likely the best place to start. It’s a free, easy-to-use alternative to some of the other streaming apps out there, and in this guide, we’ll show you how easy it is to learn how to setup OBS.

How to Install OBS

If you’re using a PC or a laptop as a part of your streaming setup, you can simply navigate to the OBS website and download the right files for your platform, either Windows, MacOS, or Linux. Once you’ve downloaded the file, you can install the app, following the basic installation wizard and ticking any necessary boxes as you go.

There really are very few requirements for this step. It’s not even necessary to create any kind of an account or profile to use OBS – you simply install it and get started.

Alternatively, you can download OBS through Steam, but the process is basically the same.

If you want to make the process even easier, then once you’ve installed OBS you can run the Auto-Configuration Wizard. This will take into consideration your streaming setup and equipment and it’ll apply what the system thinks are the best settings for streaming. It’s advised to manually tweak the settings at some point to fine-tune OBS for your own desires, but for the moment, the Auto-Configuration Wizard is good enough for our purposes of learning how to setup OBS.

Start Creating Scenes in OBS

OBS is driven by ‘scenes‘ – collections of inputs and assets that make up a stream. These scenes can include microphones, cameras, alerts, a chat function, graphics, and of course, the game itself. It’s a way of layering your setup in such a way that it flows on screen and becomes much easier to manage. With scenes, you can also set up several scenarios to accommodate what’s happening on the stream at any given time.

For instance, you could have a scene named ‘Be Right Back’, and when you switch to it, it’ll display a looping graphic that tells viewers that you’re away from the desk. They can be switched during the stream itself, and if you have a third-party device like an Elgato Stream Deck, you can pick between your scenes at the press of a button. As you add assets and inputs to your scenes, you’ll notice more options opening up.

For example, if you add a microphone to the scene, you’ll also see it added to the audio mixer table present by default.

OBS scenes

© Esports.net

How to Stream Gameplay Using OBS

Let’s be honest, if you’re learning how to stream on Twitch, you’re probably using OBS to stream gameplay. There are hundreds of games out there that people stream on Twitch and YouTube, and many of these games are streamed using OBS. If you’re trying to stream a game, there are two main ways that you can actually bring the image into OBS:

  • Add a Game Capture source to your scene.
  • Add a Window source to your scene.

OR

  • Add a Display Capture source to your scene.

As a streamer, the best option will be Game Capture, as this streams nothing but your game. If the game crashes for any reason, OBS will simply output a black screen and won’t reveal anything underneath the game, such as other apps or your desktop. If you’re only streaming with one screen, which isn’t recommended, then using Game Capture helps, because even if you tab out of the game, it’ll remain on screen.

Otherwise, using Display Capture works well – but this’ll capture your entire monitor regardless of what’s on it. So, if you accidentally open a sensitive app or file, it will be revealed to your stream.

how to setup obs title

Image Credit: Steam | OBS Studio

Can You Edit OBS While Live?

Yes, you can – and there are two ways to do it. If you’re just starting your first stream and have realised that something is wrong with your setup, you don’t need to switch your stream off. There’s a live edit function built into OBS that lets you move assets around while streaming, but it goes even deeper than that.

If you use the Studio Mode built into OBS, you can bring up a split screen feature that’ll allow you to make changes and then push them live all at once, meaning the flow is less disrupted on a visual scale. It’s worth mentioning that you won’t be able to change certain settings while live, though. For instance, the base video or stream settings, where you’re streaming to, or the file path that determines where your recordings are saved.

And on that note…

How to Record Gameplay Using OBS

If you want to record using OBS, we’ve got good news – it’s a dramatically simple process.

  1. Complete the download and installation process.
  2. Use our guide to learn how to setup OBS.
  3. If necessary, read our full OBS Studio guide.
  4. Instead of hitting ‘Start Streaming’, hit ‘Start Recording’ instead.

That’s it!

In the back end of OBS, you’ll need to determine a file path – this is where your recordings will be saved.


We hope that, with this guide, you’ll have learned everything you need to know about how to setup OBS. Be sure to check out our other guides for more top-tier streaming tips.

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