How to Stream on Twitch From a Computer

What you need to do before broadcasting your gameplay

What to Know

  • Open Twitch Studio, log in, click Get Started and follow the prompts to adjust your settings, then click Done. Then click Start Stream.
  • You need a Twitch account, a computer, and broadcasting software. Twitch Studio is the official Twitch desktop app.
  • Third-party software like OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS can enhance your broadcast.

This article covers how to stream on Twitch from a Mac or PC using Twitch Studio, OBS Studio, and Streamlabs OBS.

What You Need to Stream on Twitch

Twitch is the most popular online streaming platform in the world with thousands of users broadcasting footage of themselves talking, singing, playing video games, and using apps every single hour.

Building a Twitch streaming setup doesn’t require much investment though you will need a few things before you can get started.

Necessary

  • A free Twitch account. This is where all your content will be hosted and broadcast from.
  • A computer for broadcasting. You can use the same computer that you’re playing videos games on or a separate device if you wish.
  • A broadcasting app. Twitch Studio, the official Twitch desktop app for Windows and Mac, is the easiest to use.

Optional

  • A capture card. If you’re planning on streaming footage from another computer or an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch console, you will need a capture card.
  • A microphone. Any headset you have lying around will do the trick though there are also high quality microphones available that can take your Twitch stream to the next level.
  • A webcam. You can use the built-in one on your computer if it has one but it’s worth investing in a stand-alone webcam so that you can change its angle.
  • Lighting. You don’t need to invest in lighting but doing so will make your streams look a lot better. A cheap ring light is a good place to start.

Creating and Managing a Twitch Account

A Twitch account is essentially a social media profile where you’ll be streaming and posting videos from. Other users will be able to follow your account (referred to as a Twitch channel), comment on your streams via the chat, and even support you financially when your channel grows more down the road.

You will need to create a Twitch account to stream on Twitch.

  1. Creating a Twitch account is completely free and can be done via the official Twitch website by clicking Sign Up in the top-right corner.

    The Twitch website.

    Make sure to choose a username that reflects who you are yet is also easy for casual viewers to remember.

  2. Once you’ve created your new Twitch account and have logged in, click your profile image in the top-right corner, and click Channel to view your profile page.

    The channel setting highlighted on the Twitch site.

    This is where people will be watching your streams from both on the Twitch website and on the various Twitch apps on smartphones, smart TVs, and video game consoles.

  3. Click Customize Channel to add information about yourself in the Bio field and links to your social media accounts. You can also change your username on this screen if you like.

    Twitch channel settings with the Customize channel button highlighted.
  4. There are a large number of settings that can be changed or adjusted on the left menu but for now the only other settings that you need to worry about are those within the Stream page.

    The stream button highlighted on the Twitch settings page.

    Click Stream.

  5. On the Stream page, you will see a variety of preferences relating to your Twitch stream’s privacy and the storage of broadcasts after they finish. Change as many of these settings as you like though leaving them at their defaults is also completely fine.

    Twitch stream key location.

    At the top of the Stream page, you should see your Primary Stream Key. This is incredibly important as it’s needed to link third-party streaming software to your Twitch account.

    We’ll come back to the stream key later. For now, you’re ready to move on to the next stage of getting your Twitch stream set up.

Choose and Set up a Broadcasting App

While you can stream to Twitch directly from PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X consoles, if you want a broadcast with a fancy layout and alerts, you’ll need to stream from a computer using a dedicated streaming app. You’ll also need to stream from a computer via an app if you’re planning on streaming PC or Mac video games or titles played on a Nintendo Switch.

Here are three of the most popular Twitch streaming apps.

  • Twitch Studio: Twitch Studio is the official Twitch desktop app for Windows and Mac users. Compared to its third-party rivals, Twitch Studio is very beginner-friendly with a simple UI and built-in guides for customizing scene overlays and broadcast settings. Twitch Studio is completely free.
  • OBS Studio: OBS Studio is arguably the most popular app for Twitch streamers due to its comprehensive settings that can be adjusted for any type of broadcast project. OBS Studio is also free.
  • Streamlabs OBS: This Twitch streaming app is a custom version of the main OBS Studio app featuring a streamlined interface and built-in support for Streamlabs’ various layout and alert services. Streamlabs OBS is free to download and use though a paid upgrade plan is required to access its various custom overlay and alert designs.

How to Set up Twitch Studio and Customize Your Twitch Stream 

Setting up the Twitch desktop app for streaming on Twitch is very straightforward and be done in less than five minutes.

  1. Open Twitch Studio on your Mac or PC, log into your Twitch account via the prompt, and click Get Started.

    Twitch Studio app on Windows 10.
    Twitch
  2. The app will automatically detect your microphone. If the incorrect mic is being detected, click Change Mic to select the right one. Otherwise, click Continue to Webcam.

    Twitch Studio app's mic settings.
  3. You will be shown some layout designs for your Twitch stream. You’ll be able to change these later so for now click Continue to Settings.

    Twitch Studio layout settings.
    Twitch
  4. Twitch Studio will now analyze your internet speed and computer’s hardware to determine if each can support a Twitch stream. Once the test is complete, click Continue to App.

    Twitch Studio stream quality test.
    Twitch
  5. To add a video game or program to your stream, click Change Capture from the top-left menu.

    Capture settings in Twitch Studio app on Windows 10.

    If you’re planning to use media from a capture card, turn on the connected device, connect the capture card, and it should automatically appear within Twitch Studio. 

  6. Highlight the name of the app or game from the list and then click Next.

    Twitch Studio settings.

    Your game or app will need to be running for it to appear.

  7. Fill in the name of your stream, its category, and related tags. Also select the language which you’ll be primarily speaking on stream.

    Stream settings in Twitch Studio app.
    Twitch

    If you’re streaming a video game, the category should be the video game’s title.

  8. Click Done to save your settings.

    Because you’ve logged into your Twitch account to use Twitch Studio, you don’t need to enter your stream key.

  9. If you want to change your layout's colors or images, click Edit Layout.

    The edit button highlighted on Twitch Studio app.
  10. Browse your layout's elements via the left menu and move them with your mouse. You can also change various colors and upload a new background image if you like.

    Twitch Studio layout settings.
    Twitch

    Once you've finished making changes to your Twitch overlay layout, click Save.

  11. When you’re ready, click Start Stream to immediately begin streaming on Twitch.

    The start stream button highlighted on Twitch Studio app.

How to Customize Your Twitch Stream With OBS Studio

OBS Studio is an incredibly comprehensive streaming app that boasts a massive amount of settings and features. Due to this, we’ve created a dedicated guide for streaming on Twitch with OBS Studio that covers all aspects of setting the app up, connecting it Twitch, customizing your overlay, and starting your first Twitch stream.

To stream on Twitch with OBS Studio, you will need your Twitch stream key which we mentioned earlier on in this article.

OBS Studio may seem intimidating at first but it's considered by many to be the best streaming program available and is genuinely easy to use after the initial, admittedly complex, setup process. If you're planning on making a career out of being a streamer, you should definitely give it a look.

How to Set up Streamlabs OBS and Customize Your Twitch Stream 

While based on the tech that powers OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS’ interface is very different with streamlined controls and integrated support for Streamlabs’ own features.

  1. Open Streamlabs OBS and click the purple Twitch icon to connect the app to your Twitch account.

    The Twitch button highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.

    You can also connect to YouTube, Facebook Gaming, DLive, or NimoTV if you like though note that the free version of Streamlabs OBS can only stream to one service at a time.

  2. Proceed through the setup screens until you get to Add a Theme. Click a theme here to use it during your stream.

    Themes on Streamlabs OBS.
  3. Click Install to download and install the theme.

    The install button highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.
  4. On the Optimize screen, click Start. Streamlabs OBS will now scan your hardware and internet speed to determine the best settings for your Twitch stream.

    Streamlabs OBS
    Streamlabs
  5. Your Streamlabs OBS stream layout should now be set up. To add video game footage to your stream, click the + symbol to the right of Sources.

    The plus button under sources highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.

    Make sure that Live Scene is selected on the left.

  6. Click Game Capture and then Add Source.

    Streamlabs OBS settings page.

    If you want to use footage that's being imported via a capture card, select Video Capture Device instead.

  7. Click Add Source again.

    The add source button highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.

    You can change the name from Game Capture to something else if you like.

  8. From the Mode dropdown menu, select Capture specific window.

    The capture specific window highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.
  9. From the Windows dropdown menu, select the video game you want to use in your stream and then click Done.

    Settings on Streamlabs OBS.

    The game will need to be running to appear.

  10. Your game will now appear in your stream layout. To make sure that all of your other content is viewable, grab the Game Capture layer in the Sources menu with your mouse and drag it to the bottom of the list.

    Settings on Streamlabs OBS.

    You can resize the game footage by clicking on its corners and dragging the mouse cursor across the screen.

  11. When you’re ready to stream, click Go Live.

    The Go Live button highlighted on Streamlabs OBS.

What Next?

There's an almost endless list of ways to enhance your Twitch stream, build your audience, and take your broadcasts to the next level. Here's a few ideas to get you started: