An Elgato stream deck is an amazing tool that many streamers dream of adding to their setup. Who wouldn’t want to be able to switch scenes or mute their mic at a convenient push of a button? Of course, that’s not all that stream decks can do — and it’s truly no wonder why so many purchase one or work with an alternative whether or not they stream.
You probably already know what a stream deck can do for you and your stream’s production quality. Aside from making your life easier, you can improve your production by adding one-button shortcuts to everything. You can do shoutouts, run ads, change your chat’s mode, switch your scenes, and so much more.
But what else can a stream deck do?
11 Best Stream Deck Uses
1. Control Your Zoom Calls
Whether you’re a streamer or not, you can find great use out of a stream deck for controlling your calls. If you use Zoom frequently, you can install an unofficial plugin created by Martijn Smit found here that can make it easier for you to control everything without fumbling through menus.
With this plugin, you can mute yourself, share your video/webcam, record, share, leave meetings quickly, and much more.
2. Make Using Discord Easy Peasy
You probably use Discord every single day — and if you don’t, then you’ve probably heard of it at the very least. Discord is practically embedded into so many people’s lives as a way to stay in contact with friends, network, and join many communities, and Elgato knows this. They even made an official Discord plugin.
Elgato’s official plugin allows you to control many of Discord’s core features. One of the biggest, of course, is the ability to deafen your headphones or mute your mic. Another fantastic feature is the push to mute or push to talk button — which are both things that can be extremely helpful when you’re a streamer (or even when you aren’t!). There are even presets to make it easier to jump into a preset voice or text channel.
3. Open Your Daily-Use Apps with One Press
Humans are creatures of habit. You probably have a set of apps you open every single time you sit down at your computer. Stream decks allow you to open all of them with a single press if you want. Alternatively, you can have shortcuts for separate apps so you only open the ones you need if you’d like.
If you’re a streamer, this becomes even more helpful because you can then set up a multi-action (through Elgato’s stream deck app) that will allow you to open all your stream-related apps in one press. You can set it to open OBS, Stream Labels, your music player, game, and more.
4. Run Timers
You can use a timer for tracking something while you’re streaming or playing a game, such as when you are trying to track your personal best speed run. You can also use a timer to help you follow the Pomodoro method more easily.
No matter your reason for needing a timer, your Elgato Stream Deck can start and run one for you. The best part is, you can start your timer with a single button press!
5. Integrate and Control Voicemeeter
Voicemeeter, Voicemeeter Banana, and Voicemeeter Potato are all fantastic streamer tools. They are excellent for helping to improve your stream’s audio quality. You can also use these apps to improve your microphone’s quality for your stream. Many streamers also use the Voicemeeter apps to separate their audio into different sources so they can mute individual sources if they want to.
Elgato has a plugin for their app that allows you to control it from your stream deck. You can start out with basic push to mute or toggle to mute buttons for your audio sources. Then, if you want to add more controls, you can learn more about all the plugin’s features.
6. Use a Stopwatch
Just like the stream deck can run a timer, there is also a plugin for using a stopwatch. This plugin, available on GitHub, is simple to install and use. This stopwatch provides hours, minutes, and seconds. You can pause or resume the stopwatch and configure the appearance of the stopwatch.
7. Display Your CPU Usage
If there’s one thing that streamers often have to worry about, it’s how their system is managing during their stream. Streaming can be very rigorous and demanding on a computer — especially if you’re using a single-PC setup and you’re trying to run a spec-heavy game.
Often, people use their task manager to track CPU usage. Knowing this percentage allows streamers to adjust or close out apps if their system is struggling. The good news is, if you have an Elgato stream deck, you can see your CPU usage right on a button, thanks to this plugin. No more trying to open task manager when your PC is already struggling in the first place!
8. Play a Memory Game
Ever been so bored you couldn’t figure out what to do? There is a plugin for the Elgato stream deck that will allow you to turn it into a memory game to help you pass time.
9. Manage Your Spotify
If you use Spotify a lot, then you’ll find the unofficial plugin for controling the music media app quite handy.
10. Control Smart Plugs
You can connect your Stream Deck to smart plugs around your room to control stuff like speakers and lighting. For example, I control my whole recording setup with my stream deck. I have all of my background lights, camera lights and led strips connected to smart plugs.
I then use an app called IFTTT to connect my Stream deck to my smart plugs. This means I can control my whole studio from my Stream Deck.
11. Anything You Desire!
If you are savvy enough, you can create macros and scripts that can run off the press of a stream deck button. You can also use something like Auto Hotkey to help you create all of these macros more easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Find Elgato Stream Deck Plugins?
Elgato has a specific URL where you can find just about everything related to stream decks. You can find everything from the latest updates to links to the Elgato store for new Stream Decks and accessories.
You can also find all the plugins at this URL. The best part is the plugins are organized by category, so if you are looking for a specific type of plugin it becomes much easier to find it.
And, if you want to customize your stream deck, you can check out the Icons section at this URL. The icons are also separated into categories, although the categories are fewer here so you’ll need to do some digging to find exactly what you want.
Can I Do The Same Things on Alternative Stream Decks?
If you don’t have an Elgato Stream Deck and are using an alternative like Touch Portal instead, you may not be able to have all the same functionality. The good news is, Touch Portal is an app with many plugins available, so you might find an alternative way to have similar functions.
Stream decks are truly fantastic tools that make lives easier. You don’t specifically need the Elgato Stream Deck either — you can make your own alternatives such as programmable macro pads, or tablets and mobile phones with apps like Touch Portal. With a stream deck, you can improve your stream’s production tenfold — while also helping to make your day-to-day digital life a breeze.
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