How to Set Up Streamlabs OBS for Live Stream Video Broadcasts (Quickstart Guide)

Streamlabs OBS is an intuitive, well-designed, popular streaming video program. Based on the open-source OBS Studio, Streamlabs is free to download.

Let’s take a look at how you can get up and running, and ready to
stream or broadcast, with Streamlabs OBS. Note, Streamlabs’ Prime subscription includes a number services and add-ons that appeal to professionals and advanced users, but is not required (and not covered in this tutorial).

1. Download and Install Streamlabs OBS


When you first open Streamlabs OBS, you’ll be asked to
connect any existing streaming accounts. You can do that if you have them already set up, or you
can add them later.

connect stream channel

Import OBS Studio Profile (Optional)

The next step will be great for users of OBS Studio who have a lot
invested in profiles, Scenes, settings and so on. Streamlabs OBS will let you
import all of those, if you want to. If not, you can choose to start fresh.

import obs settings

I’ve got a ‘test’ profile set up in OBS which appears
automatically in the options. Click Start with that profile selected to import.

import profile

2. Get Set Up

Camera and Microphone

Like most broadcasting suites, Streamlabs will automatically
detect the kit you’re using, but if you’d like to adjust that, you can do it in Settings, the cog symbol on the bottom left of the screen.


This menu is also where you can connect your streaming
accounts if you chose not to do it during setup – just look under Stream.


The windows-looking icon on the bottom left is a nifty
layout editor. If you’re used to having your workspace a particular way, this
is a great drag-and-drop way to rearrange everything without having to awkwardly
resize windows. You can choose the style of layout, and which elements or
panels to have easily accessible.

layout editor

3. Add Sources

If auto-detected, or manually set up as described above,
your audio and video sources will automatically appear under Sources.

You can add additional ones by clicking the plus button next
to Sources and choosing from the menu provided.

add sources

You’ll see the usual options like Browser Source, to let you
stream a browser window, Media Source to add pre-rendered graphics and video,
Game Capture and so on.

4. Widgets

We’ll go into specific widgets and their benefits in another
tutorial, but for now here’s how you can enable them in Streamlabs.

For this, it’s best to connect an account (Twitch, YouTube,
Facebook) and log in. You can do this by clicking Log in above the settings
cog, bottom left. You’ll have to authorise the account you want to connect
with, so read the terms carefully.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see an icon to open up a dashboard
is now visible in Streamlabs OBS in the bottom left menu. It’ll open a browser
window above your software with this dashboard.


In the browser, under Features, click All Widgets.

This will give you a lot of options of
things you can potentially add. Even though Streamlabs OBS has this
functionality built-in, it’s often easier to look through available options on
a browser like this.

Add a Stream Label

 Stream Labels are text overlays displaying things like donations,
followers, etc., and they update in real time. Back on your Streamlabs main screen, if
you click the Plus next to Sources, you’ll see there’s a Widgets option.

add source widgets

Click on Stream Labels and then Add Source. Name your label
something relevant, I’ve called mine ‘New Follower’ as that’s what the label
will be. You’ll then get a list of options

add source new follower

Under Label Type, scroll down to Most Recent Follower (or
whichever label you’d like to add). You can then make adjustments for how you’d
like the label to look, things like changing the font, the background colour of
the label, the opacity, and so on.

 I’ll leave these on the default for now.
Click done when you’re finished and your New Follower label will appear in Sources.

new follower source

If nothing is showing up for you on your main screen (but is under Sources), don’t panic. One of the
slight flaws in this is that you can’t even test your label without at least
one ‘event’ i.e a real follower. 

Once you have a follower, you’ll see the
label, which might make it easier for you to then go back and adjust its appearance!

new follower label

5. Themes

Making your stream or recording look nifty is part of the
fun. To get started with a theme, click the icon in the top left of Streamlabs


You’ll see you can look through scene themes, widget themes
and site themes. You’re able to refine your search by the type of live stream
you’re doing too, including some generic options in case the others don’t quite

Most of the options are limited to Prime members which has a
monthly subscription cost attached, but there are some free options, try
searching ‘free’ in the key words.

free borderline theme

Here’s a nice generic free pack with ‘starting soon,’ ‘be
right back’ screens and a few other options. Hit Install to install it to your

theme installed

The themes install in a way that’s really easy to make sense
of if you’re a beginner. Your types of screen (stream starting, in-game, BRB)
are listed where your scenes are, and then each has a breakdown of sources so
that you can move things around or adjust them – like changing the social media
prompts to your own. You’d do this in the exact same way as when you added them
in the steps above – double-clicking on which source you wanted to adjust and
following the options that appear. 

Have Fun and Start Broadcasting!

We’ve really only scratched the surface of what Streamlabs OBS can do, but hopefully you’re now equipped with enough information to get started with your broadcast, stream or recording.

We’ll look at more Streamlabs OBS features in upcoming tutorials but in the meantime, you can check out some more streaming tips and templates, below.

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