How to use a stream overlay [Updated 2020]

(Updated: October 20th, 2020) Posted: November 11, 2015

how to use a stream overlay

This is an extensive guide on how to use a stream overlay, tailored to those of you who’ve just downloaded from the site. This guide explores each step, from basic to more advanced, and is focused around Streamlabs OBS, OBS Studio, and xSplit.

Download & Unzip Your Stream Overlay

Some people out there are probably wondering if I’m for real, but when I say cover the basics I mean it. You’d be surprised how many emails I’ve gotten from people who are not familiar with ZIP files, or how they work.

If you’ve purchased an Instant Download what you’ll find in your order email, or the purchase confirmation you page you hit, is a link to download your stream overlay. This will appear under the Your Downloads heading, and normally be a link ending in .zip – download this.

A ZIP file is like a storage file, all of your graphics are in there, waiting to be unloaded. Windows & Mac both have built-in methods of handling this. On Windows you right-click the ZIP file and select “Extract All…” while on Mac you simply double-click the file.

Alternatively, you can use a program like 7Zip. It’s free, and something I use personally.

Install The Associated Font(s) BEFORE Opening Anything

If you want to keep the look consistent, it’s recommended you install the font(s) used in the design. Otherwise programs like Photoshop or Streamlabs OBS will substitute in default fonts, and not look as good.

All fonts used in Twitch overlay designs are free to download, and you’ll find info on what fonts are used on product pages under Download Details in the top-right section. If the fonts are not linked, simply Google them – no weird or obscure fonts are used, so they’ll be easy to find.

How to Use Your Stream Overlay

There’s a few methods on how to use your stream overlay, and depending on the platform you’re using this could either be as simple as importing a single file (Streamlabs OBS), or manually dragging stream overlay files into place (OBS Studio, xSplit).

Why is Streamlabs OBS the only place I can import the setup file included?

If you’re a Streamlabs OBS user wondering how to use a stream overlay from this site, then you’ve got it pretty easy, as 90% of our Premium Downloads feature setup files to make it a breeze.

Streamlabs OBS is, at the time of writing this, the only streaming software that exports Scenes by gathering up all the files involved and storing them in the export file (an .OVERLAY file).

Software like OBS Studio & xSplit does not export like this, instead they kinda locally bookmark the location of the files used on export, and count on them being in the same place when you import later on – this makes sharing an export file with you, as part of the download, borderline impossible.

Importing your stream overlay into Streamlabs OBS

As mentioned, it’s as simple as importing a single file. Here’s a video demonstrating how to use a stream overlay with a Streamlabs OBS setup file:

Importing your stream overlay into OBS Studio, xSplit, etc.

The reason these are grouped together is because beyond Streamlabs OBS it’s largely the same process – dragging and dropping.

A slightly quicker way of doing this, rather than dragging in every single individual element is to drag a folder in (where supported). This will add the entire contents to your Sources, and (hopefully) keep them organised by folder. You’ll still be required to place these elements manually, but this at least gets them into play quicker.

Why is nothing showing in the latest donation & latest sub panel?

This is normally because there is nothing to show. If you’ve yet to have any subs, or donations, these will remain blank until there is info to display.

If you do however have subs and donations, and there’s still nothing appearing, try opening up the stream label properties (right click on the label, select Properties) and changing the Label Type, then changing it back. Sometimes the software needs a weird kick start like this.

If you’ve done all this, and are still seeing nothing where there should be info, it’s perhaps time to get in contact with Streamlabs.

Adding Stream Alerts

Streamlabs OBS (why didn’t my alerts get added with the setup file?)

Once again, this is more straightforward than with OBS Studio or xSplit, but not one-click like the rest of the overlay. Alerts are account-tied, so you’ll be required to add the alerts included in your download to your Streamlabs account in order to use them. Follow the steps below to do so.

  1. Click the + icon above the Sources panel
  2. Select “Alertbox”
  3. A settings window will appear, with a number of tabs running down the left – select a common one like Follows
  4. Now select the Media tab from the right of the window
  5. Click Change Media under the Image/Video file section
  6. Select your alert from the overlay folder
  7. Repeat step 3 onwards for each alert type you want!

I’ve done the above, but it’s not adding/updating alerts

Some customers, especially those using Streamlabs OBS on Mac, have reported issues with adding alerts through Streamlabs OBS. There’s still hope, though, as you can get them to appear in the app, but you’ll need to bypass it for now.

Simply close Streamlabs OBS, then head to the Streamlabs Dashboard (you’ll need to be using the same credentials for both the app and the website). Upload your alerts via the interface on the website, and once completed, re-open your Streamlabs OBS app. Hopefully your app will recognise your uploads via the website, and sync them across to Streamlabs OBS, where they’ll be selectable in the Alertbox widget.

This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but a number of people have said this solves their issues.

Adding stream alerts to OBS Studio, xSplit, etc.

These are grouped together again as they’re ultimately similar steps. Whatever alerts service you choose, be it Streamlabs, or Stream Elements, will provide you with a URL for you to use. This acts as like a stage, to show all alerts through.

You add this URL to OBS Studio by clicking the + icon at the bottom of the Sources panel and selecting Browser. You then post the link provided into the URL box.

Still unsure of how to use a stream overlay? Contact Twitch Overlay

Perhaps you’ve got an issue on how to use a stream overlay you’re not seeing answered above, get in contact with the site.

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