How to Setup Your Twitch Chat Overlay

by Streamplay in Guides on December 13, 2019

Streamers are nothing without their viewers. While it seems pretty obvious, your role as an entertainer, teacher and expert are supported entirely by the people who enjoy spending time in your stream.

Twitch chat is the best way to interact with a streamer, which means keeping up with your chat is essential to having a successful stream! Displaying Twitch chat has been a common extension on streams since the beginning of streaming. But how do we set up said chat, and what are the purposes for doing so?

There are really only two ways to display Twitch chat in a way that isn’t just on Twitch.

Show Twitch Chat On Stream

You can display chat on your stream, allowing everyone to see it, including you! This method is great for creating a bigger community feeling while also giving you an easy route to keep up with chat.

Twitch Chat for Single Monitors

The other way involves displaying chat in a separate window so that only you can see it. This is the perfect way to see chat if you have a single-monitor setup! You can easily interact with your chat without alt-tabbing back and forth or using your phone.

In this article, you’ll learn an easy and optimal way to set-up both of these methods of displaying Twitch chat!

How to Display Twitch Chat on your Stream Using Streamlabs OBS

After the merging of Streamlabs and OBS, setting up Twitch chat has never been easier. Along with many features, plenty of source code and links are integrated into the software so that you no longer need additional resources in order to set-up whatever you need!

For this set-up, we’ll assume that you have your Streamlabs connected with your Twitch account and are on at least a beginner-level understanding of your stream.

The primary way of setting up additional features on Streamlabs is through widgets. The line between what is and isn’t a widget is becoming more blurred, but it’s basically extra code in a software to give or take features!

This is the bottom half of Streamlabs in its newest update as of this article! There was a pretty big change in regards to setting up widgets, so you might need to revisit some things if you’re used to the previous method of widget-ing.

In ancient times, you would need source code to add any widget to your stream. Since the merging of Streamlabs and OBS, features became widgets that could be added with the click of a button. The only thing that really changed was the placement of said widgets.

If you click on the “+” next to Sources, you’ll come to this pop-up window. Before, you wouldn’t see the widgets tab here. Now, all of your additional features are in one comfy box!

After admiring all of the extra things you can add to spice up your stream, click on the Chatbox and Add Source under widgets and another window will pop up, asking you to name the source.

After adding source, you’ll be met with a window filled with plenty of options. At this point, your chat box is already integrated into your stream! However, let’s go over the features you can edit to customize your stream.

Under Visual Settings, you’ll mostly find things involving what actually shows up in your chat box. The default features are great, as they allow your viewers to show off their flair and badges. If you don’t want so much in your chat, you can disable this.

There’s a Theme setting that shows off a few default customization options for the chat. If you see one you like, great! If not, no worries. There is a wide array of options in the widget shop, but more on that later.

Under that is the Extra emotes tab, which is an essential thing to add to your stream! All of the most recent emotes created by the community are added here, so if you see someone spamming “KEKW” in your stream, you’ll understand what all the hype is about.

The Background color is nice to change to match your stream. The default is transparent, which we find to be the ideal background unless you have something special in mind.

A nice feature to filter your chat is the Always show messages section at the very bottom. You’ll be able to change how many messages show up at once, meaning you can avoid clutter and allow for a comfortable limit based on how active your chat is!

The next section are the Font settings. This place doesn’t have much aside from font size and style. I’d avoid going overboard with changing font, since many viewers are used to the default font from Twitch.

The Chatter section lets you avoid showing automated messages that might show up from bots, including commands. We suggest checking this off, as no one really cares about your chat bots!

The final section is titled Source, and we suggest avoiding messing with it unless you’re familiar with CSS and HTML. You can customize everything in the code if you wish here, so tinker away if you have the knowledge!

And that’s it for setting up your chat box within Streamlabs! As a bonus, let’s look at the Widget themes inside the Streamlabs shop. Here, you can ways to customize all of your widgets, chat box included!

Under the second tab at the top left, you’ll find multitudes of themes and overlays that are working with Streamlabs. We’ve checked off the Chatbox under widgets to show themes that include chat boxes! Explore some of these themes, and if you find one you like, you can incorporate it into your stream.

How to Display Twitch Chat for Personal View using Restream

While displaying your Twitch Chat on stream is useful, it doesn’t really help with a problem that many starting streamers come across; How do I see chat without alt-tabbing? 

Not everyone has the money or space for two monitors, making it difficult to view your chat in games that require a lot of your CPU usage. Plus, if you’re playing on full screen, you’ll have long wait times when moving between screens.

Luckily, there are ways to see your chat in-game and only for you!

Restream is a great piece of software that will allow you to display any chat, including Twitch Chat, in a separate window. Let’s take a look at how to set it up!

First things first, you’ll need to sign up and create an account with Restream. After that, you’ll be able to sign into the software. Make sure you download the correct version from the site!

Here’s what you’ll see once you’ve successfully signed in with both your Restream account and your Twitch account. Our next steps are figuring out how to pop out Twitch chat. Click on the gear in the top right to open the settings.

Right now, our goal is to create a window that is transparent and appear over every other window. The second part is really important! We need to make sure that the chat window shows up no matter what we’re playing so we can avoid switching tabs.

In the settings menu, the Appearance tab is where we’ll work our magic. Just check off the very first box with “Window always on top” and we’re golden.

The rest of the appearance tab has a bunch of customizable options. Most of the are similar to Streamlabs or are intuitive, so it is best to mess with the settings until you’re at a comfortable place.

For reference, here is what your chat appearance can look like. The opacity section is rather important for making sure our chat window isn’t in the way of our gameplay, so make sure it is exactly how you like it!

Closing thoughts

We’ve gone over two easy and optimized ways for setting up Twitch chat on your stream! If you have two monitors, using the default Streamlabs chat box is the best way to incorporate your viewers into a community experience.

If you’re struggling with reading your chat consistently because of your set up, Restream is an awesome answer that solved many problems. It’s hard to pass up on it, even as a streamer with two monitors!

No matter the method, who doesn’t love to see their name pop up on stream in a highlight video? Look into incorporating your chat into your stream and you’ll have plenty of things to share with everyone.

Categories: Guides