Have you decided to finally take the plunge into streaming and want a full step by step guide to setting up Streamlabs for the best possible stream performance?

In this guide, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about setting up Streamlabs for the first time. Within 30 minutes you will be ready to push the Go Live button with a great-looking stream.

Let’s jump in and get started. If you have any questions please feel free to drop them in the comments section at the end of the article.


Understanding Streamlabs Interface

The first thing we need to do is download the Streamlabs program to our computer. To do this head to Streamlabs.com and download the application for your system. The site should default to the system you are using.

Once you open the program you can login/create an account using your Twitch or Youtube account. You will be greeted with the below screen. For now, selecting the Free/Starter plan is more than enough. However if you want to add some amazing themes later, Streamlabs Prime is a great place to get them.

Streamlabs will then ask you to add your Microphone and Webcam to Streamlabs. Make sure to add the correct Mic & Webcam that you want to use for your stream.

You can then choose one of the Free Streamlabs themes to use. If you like one of these you can select however I would recommend skipping for now as I will show you where to get some better themes below.

Streamlabs will now optimise to the best settings for your specific PC.

Once you have completed those initial steps you will be greeted with the screen below.

Here we have three main tabs Scenes, Sources and the mixer. Let me explain in a little more detail what these are.


Scenes allow you to have differently designed screens to show at different stages on your stream. For example you may have one scene for your gameplay with a facecam in the corner and then a second scene with your facecam as the whole screen for “Just Chatting” to your viewers. This is more than enough to get started. However if you want to take your production to the next level you can have lots of scenes in your Streamlabs which you can switch between during streams.


Sources allow you to add different elements to a scene. This allows you to add graphics, webcam borders, alert boxes, cameras and loads more. This is also where you will add your gameplay footage whether that’s from a capture card or capturing from your computer.


The mixer is where we control all of our audio settings from. Here we can add different audio sources such as microphones, game audio and system audio. This is global and will not change when you change your scene.

These 3 parts of your interface allow you to quickly and easily make modifications on your stream. The more you stream the more you may want to up your production by adding more scenes and having more sources.

Streamlabs General Settings

Before we even get into setting up your scenes there is some general settings inside Streamlabs that we want to setup first, to ensure our stream runs smoothly.

To access these settings click on the settings COG in the bottom left hand corner of Streamlabs and this will open a settings panel.

In the General settings it may be useful to turn on “Automatically record when streaming”. This will make sure that all your streams are recorded so you can use them later as content on other platforms.

If we then go down to the Advanced tab a useful feature is the Stream Delay. If you are streaming something like poker or you don’t want to be stream sniped you can add a delay.

Go to Advanced –> Stream Delay –> Enable. Here you can set the time of the delay. Be aware that if you set it any higher than 30 seconds or so it will make it hard to talk to chat as it will be delayed.

How To Change Text Size In The Chat Box

The default text size of your chat can make it quite hard to see. If you want to make it bigger go to Settings –> Chat Text Size –> adjust the size. I like to set mine to around 1.2 however this may differ depending on your setup.

How To Show Chat With One Monitor

If you are streaming from a single monitor you may want to enable In Game Overlay so you can see your chat while playing. To do this go to Settings –> Game Overlay –> Enable.

You will then choose where you want the chat to appear on your screen. You can also adjust the Opacity so you can still see what’s going on underneath your chat.

Now let’s jump in and take a look at your stream settings.

Best Stream Settings For Streamlabs

Depending on your specific PC you may need to adjust your stream settings. Below I have outlined a basic setup that should work well on most machines, giving you a great looking stream. However I have also included two links to setup guides for High End and Low end PCs.

Streamlabs High End PC Stream Setup (Maximum Quality)
Streamlabs Low End PC Stream Setup (Maximum Performance)

Streamlabs Video Settings

In the video settings tab, set your settings to the same as below. Your base canvas is the size of your scene (Usually set to the same resolution as your game). The Output Resolution is what gets sent to Twitch/Youtube.

Setting your output to 720p will reduce resources used on your computer as well as allowing more people to watch your stream without lag as it takes less data to watch a lower resolution stream. We do not recommend going any lower than 720p as quality will really start to suffer.

Base (Canvas) Resolution1920×1080
Output (Scaled) Resolution1280×720
Downscale FilterBicubic
FPS TypeCommon FPS Values
Common FPS Values60
Streamlabs Video Settings

Streamlabs Audio Settings

We now need to setup your Microphone and Audio Device. To do this go to Settings –> Audio.

The only thing we need to set in here is Desktop Audio Device 1 and Mic/Auxiliary Device 1 unless you are running a more complicated setup. For most beginner streamers you will want game sound and Microphone.

When you open this tab these will both likely be set to default. If the mic and speakers you want to use for streaming are already set as the default on your computer you can leave it as is.

Alternatively you can click the drop down menu and select your mic and speaker. For me this is my Yeti Microphone.

This will add these devices to your mixer as we mentioned before. In your mixer you can adjust the volumes by moving the sliders. You find that your chat is saying game volume is too loud and your mic is quiet. If that’s the case adjust the mixer until the audio is balanced.

You can also add filters to your microphone to make it sound much better. If you want to make your audio sound much better check out How To Add Three Filters To Improve Your Audio.

Output Settings

This is the most important tab when it comes to setting up your stream and making sure it runs smoothly. Again this the settings below are a good place to start but if your having problems check out the articles linked below for High End & Low End PCs.

Streamlabs High End PC Stream Setup (Maximum Quality)
Streamlabs Low End PC Stream Setup (Maximum Performance)

To access the Output Settings go to Settings –> Output. Here you want to change your output mode to Advanced.

Below I have included a screenshot of the settings that I use. If you do not use a newer Nvidia graphics card you will not be able to use NVENC. If that’s the case use the settings further down.

Nvenc Streaming Settings

Output ModeAdvanced
Audio Track1
EncoderHardware (NVENC)
Rate ControlCBR
Keyframe Interval0
Psycho Visual TuningOn
Max B-Frames2
Streamlabs NVENC Streaming Settings

Software x264 Stream Settings

Output ModeAdvanced
Audio Track1
EncoderSoftware (x264)
Rate ControlCBR
Keyframe Interval0
CPU Usage Presetveryfast
Streamlabs Software x264 Streaming Settings

We have now officially set up the technical side of our stream. We can now jump in and start adding our overlays, cameras etc to our stream. Let’s jump into it.

How To Add An Overlay To Streamlabs

If you want to have a high quality professional looking stream then having a nice looking stream overlay is a good idea. Below I am going to link to some free sources for Theme templates as well as some paid sources for higher end themes.

Free Stream Overlays For Streamlabs & OBS

Below are links to a few reliable resources for a free overlay to get you started on stream. For the tutorial below I am going to be using a theme from Own3d.tv however the set up process is very similar with any other theme.

Nerd Or Die Free Overlays

WD-Flat Stream Overlays

Best Paid Overlay Sources For Streamlabs & OBS

Below are some of the best places to get premium stream overlays that look great. My personal favourite is Own3d.tv but Fiverr is also a great place if you are looking something custom.


Own3d has hundreds of different stream overlays for sale on their site and normally have a large discount running if you check the banner when you click the link above.

These packs come with multiple pre made scenes such as; Start screen, Live Scene, Just Chatting etc

Fiverr Custom Graphics

Fiverr has hundreds of designers offering stream overlay creation services. If you want something with your own custom branding and ideas then I would recommend checking out some of the gigs on offer. Make sure you pick a designer that already has lots of 5 star reviews so you know that they produce high quality work.

Streamlabs Prime

We seen Streamlabs Prime earlier in this tutorial when setting up our account. It costs $12 a month and gives you access to a few features including Streamlabs Prime themes.


Placeit allows you to customise your own overlays from preset templates they have on their site. This means you can add your logo or name to your scene.

Now you have quite a few places to choose themes from we can go ahead and get your chosen theme setup inside Streamlabs.

How To Install A Theme In Streamlabs

Below I am going to show you how to install a simple overlay to your stream and then show you how to import a more complex theme from somewhere like Own3d. If you are just starting a simple one scene with a webcam border is completely fine.

Installing A Simple Overlay

When you download your overlay from whatever source you get it from, locate it in your downloads.

You will then want to drag this into your scene into the sources section in Streamlabs.

Once it is in the sources tab you can use the boxes in the corner of the image to resize the overlay to fit your scene. That is essentially all you have to do if you want a simple overlay. In the next section I will show you how to add your camera, recent subs etc.

Installing A Custom Overlay Pack From Own3d.tv

If you have purchased an overlay pack from somewhere like Own3d.tv follow the steps below to install it.

Step 1 – Locate The Download

Locate the stream pack you have downloaded and move it to a folder where you want to keep it. Now you want to right click on the Zip file –> Extract All –> Extract.

Once extracted you should see all your theme files. Own3d make it really easy to install your theme quickly.

Step 2 – Import Overlay Into Streamlabs

Before importing your overlay into Streamlabs you need to install any fonts required for your theme. This should be in the Overlay pack you got. In the Own3d packs you can go to the theme folder –> Quick Start –> 1. Step – Fonts

Double click on the fonts in the pack and click install.

Once you have done this you will be able to move to the next step and install your overlay.

To import your overlay into Streamlabs open it and go to Settings –> Scene Collections –> Import Overlay File –> Find your Stream Pack and go to 2. Step – Streamlabs Import (If you bought your pack elsewhere find the .overlay file) –> Click Open

Once open you will see all of your new scenes imported with graphics and Stream labels such as Recent Followers, donations etc. (This data automatically gets pulled from your account when your logged in with Twitch/Youtube). You can delete the welcome screen.

Now you have all of your scenes, we can start to setup your camera and game footage.

Adding Sources To Your Stream

Below we will add all of the main sources to our scenes. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a simple graphics overlay or a custom stream pack.

Adding Your Camera To Your Scenes

To add your camera select the scene you want to add your camera to and go to.

We can then select our camera from the Device Dropdown.

Click done and your camera will appear in your scene. You then want to use the corners to reposition and re-size your camera to fit where you want in your scene. You can also drag the layers in the Sources tab above above or below each other if you want the camera to go behind your border.

Your camera should now be in your scene looking good. Your stream is really starting to come together.

If you need to crop your camera you can right click on the camera source –> Transform –> Edit Transform and then adjust the crop from Left, Right, Top & Bottom.

Using Your Camera In Multiple Scenes

If you are adding the same camera to a second scene make sure to select add Existing source –> Main Camera.

This means that your camera will seamlessly switch between scenes.

Adding Your Game To Your Scene

No you have your camera in your scene you will likely also want to add your game capture. There are multiple ways to do this depending on how you are capturing your footage. Below is the two methods depending on if you are capturing from your PC or your console with a capture card.

Capture Gameplay From PC With Streamlabs

Go to Sources –> + –> Game Capture –> Add Source

Give your sources a name –> Add Source

You will then see the screen below. You can select Auto as the mode however it may not pick up the game. If that is the case you can select the drop down –> Capture Specific Window

You can then select the specific window of your game and it will appear in your scene.

You can then drag the game capture layer under your stream overlay and now you have a completed scene.

Capturing Gameplay From Your Console With A Capture Card

If you are using a capture card the process is very similar. You should have installed your capture card as per the instructions that came with it. You can then add your capture footage to your scene by going to Sources –> + –> Video Capture Device –> Give your Device A Name –> Add Source

You can then select your capture card from the Device dropdown. You can see I have the Game Capture 4k60 Pro MK.2 Video. Select your capture card and leave everything else as Default and click done.

You should now have your capture card footage in your scene. Drag it down below the overlay and you should now see your game perfectly on your stream.

How To Setup Donations On Streamlabs

Step 1 – Set Up A Streamlabs Account

If you haven’t already got a streamlabs account you will want to set one up. Even if you are using streaming software such as OBS you will still need a streamlabs account.

Set up a Streamlabs account by logging in with your Twitch.

You will now have your own Streamlabs account where we can create a donation page.

Step 2 – Link Your Paypal To Streamlabs

To link your Paypal to Streamlabs go to settings in the bottom left of your Streamlabs.com dashboard and click on Settings.

In settings go to Donation Settings and under methods select PayPal[Legacy].

Enter your Paypal email into this section. This will now enable anyone with a Paypal account to donate to your stream and you will receive the money to your paypal account.

Step 3 – Select Your Donation Settings

Under Donation Settings select Settings. Here you will be able to customise your donation page with settings such as , Minimum and Maximum donations, Suggested Amount, Message length and more.

Once you have set your preferred settings, your donation page will be setup with Paypal ready to take donations.

You can see your tip page by copying the ‘Your Page‘ Link. This is how your donation page will look by default when your viewers go to it. We will look at how to customize this page later in the article.

Step 4 – Add The Donation Link To Your Stream

Copy the ‘Your Page’ link and add it as a panel to your Twitch Stream. This means when viewers look in your about section they will find your donation panel, click on it and be sent to the Donation page.

How To Accept Donations On Twitch With Credit Cards

You can now also accept donations on Twitch with credit cards via Streamlabs. Steps 1,3 & 4 are the same as the Paypal Tutorial above. You just need to sign up for credit card donations on Streamlabs and your viewers will then have the option to donate via card or Paypal on your donation page.

How To Enable Credit Card Donations On Streamlabs

To enable credit card donations on your stream open up your Streamlabs dashboard and go to the settings page.

Under Donation settings click on credit cards. Here you will have to enter some information such as your name and date of birth and address.

Enter this info and click submit.

Your information will then be sent to a processor (Stripe) for verification. Once your account gets verified you will be able to enter your banking information to receive donations from credit cards.

Viewers will now have the option to pay with credit card on your Streamlabs donation page.

How To Customise Your Donation Page On Streamlabs

You can customize your donation page on Streamlabs by going to streamlabs.com/editor.

In the editor you can move around elements on your donation page to your liking. There is also some pre-made themes that you can select from if they match your brand.

Personally I just leave mine as the default Streamlabs page as that is what most people are familiar with. This should in theory increase your conversion rate as they know it is through Streamlabs and is safe.

You may also want to Accept CryptoCurrency Donations on Stream.

How To Set Up Alerts On Streamlabs

You may want to enable alerts on your stream which means a notification will pop up on screen every time someone follows, subs or donates on your stream. This can be great to get some momentum going on stream.

Let’s take a look at how you can add them to your stream.

Go to Sources –> + –> Alert Box –> Add Source

This will then add the alert box to your scene. You won’t see anything on your screen right now however once you get an alert your graphic and sound will appear.

To test our actions we can double click on the Alertbox source in the sources section. In the top right hand side you should see Test Widget.

Click Test Widget then select the event you want to test (Follow, Subscription, Donation Etc).

When you trigger an event your Alertbox should play inside Streamlabs. This is the same thing that will happen once someone actually triggers an action on stream.

If you have purchased an Overlay pack from Own3d and installed it you should automatically have the theme pack alerts installed. These will show up and play the audio when triggered.

If you are using your own simple overlay you will have to add/create your own alerts.

How To Change Alerts On Streamlabs

To change your alerts double click on Alertbox in your sources panel. A box will appear that looks like the below.

To change a specific alert go to Global settings on the left hand side and select the alert you want to change. Click the + to dropdown more options.

Here you will see your default alert graphic for that alert. Click on the Pencil/Edit button to change the graphic. This will open a box on the right hand side where you can adjust Title Message, Media and Animation.

To change the Graphic and sound open the Media tab and select the URL button to paste a link to your graphic.

If you want to get unique sounds for your stream My Instants has lots of popular sound bites. Just be aware of copyright on certain sounds.

You can also use Giphy to get some Gifs that you want to use on stream. Just copy the link of the gif and paste it in the Image/video file section.

You now have alerts set up on your stream.

Push Go Live

If you have made it this far you are ready to push Go Live and get your first stream under way. There is 100’s more things you can do on your stream and as you go along in your streaming journey you’ll probably start adding more features. We hope you check out our tutorials for some of them.

However for now if you start streaming like this you will have a more professional looking stream than most other streamers out there.

Push that go live button and enjoy your first ever stream! Below I am also going to add a few other features that you may want to utilise in your stream but they are definitely not necessary .

Other Useful Features In Streamlabs

Hot Keys

In Streamlabs you can use hot keys to quickly change between scenes, mute your mic etc. Essentially anything you do in your stream can be done with a hot key. A hot key allows you to execute tasks by binding the task to a key on your keyboard.

To do this go to Settings –> Hot Keys

Here you can see all the different actions you can perform with hot keys. To add a key E.G. NumPad9 to switch to this specific scene just click in the box and then click the key you want to bind as the hot key.

Now when you want to switch to that scene you would just push Num Pad 9 on your keyboard and the scene would change.

You can also do this with a Stream deck which is an external device you can use to bind tasks to.

How To Stream On Twitch And Youtube At The Same Time

If you want to maximise your growth on both Youtube and Twitch you can stream on both of these platforms at the same time. To do this you will need a Streamlabs Prime membership.

If you are not an affiliate on Twitch you are allowed to stream on both platforms at the same time. Personally I would recommend doing this as Youtube can be great at pushing your stream to get much more exposure helping you grow even faster.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully this guide has helped you get your Twitch or Youtube stream setup as fast as possible with Streamlabs. Now on to the fun part. Growing your stream. I have linked a couple of articles below that you may want to check out to help you grow your Twitch stream as fast as possible.


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