Screen Share in OBS Studio

Sharing your screen in OBS Studio
Home » Learn Livestreaming with John Lacey » Screen Share in OBS Studio

Whether you’re recording a local video, livestreaming or using your virtual camera, sharing your screen in OBS Studio can be incredibly useful.

Why might you want to share your screen?

Sharing your screen can be quite useful for a number of different reasons.

You might like to create short video to provide someone with feedback or explain a simple process in software.

You might like to share your screen as part of a presentation.

How to share your screen in OBS Studio

There are two methods for sharing your screen in OBS Studio.

  1. Window Capture: This will capture a specific application on your computer.
  2. Display Capture: This will capture everything on a particular screen or monitor.

Using Window Capture in OBS Studio

Window Capture will allow you to capture a specific application on your computer.

To create a Window Capture source:

  1. Click the plus sign (+) in Sources to add a new source
  2. Give your new source a name and click OK
  3. From the Window drop down menu select the open application you would like to display.
  4. You can choose whether to capture the cursor movement or not. (I would encourage most people to leave all other defaults as is.)
  5. Click OK

A few things to note about Window Capture in OBS Studio:

  • The application needs to be open to be displayed.
  • If you create your source earlier, and close and reopen the application you intend to share you may need to go into the Properties and specify it from the Window drop down again.
  • If you resize the window on your computer, your source will be resized in your scene. This isn’t usually a problem, and in fact you find the source is taking too much space in your scene this can be a quick way of resolving this, but it is important to keep this in mind.
  • The cursor will only capture from Window Capture when the window has focus. So you will need to click on the application to see the cursor movement.

Using Display Capture in OBS Studio

Display Capture will show an entire screen.

To create a Display Capture source:

  1. Click the plus sign (+) in Sources to add a new source
  2. Select Display Capture
  3. Give your source a name and click OK
  4. Select the display you would like to use
  5. You can select whether to capture the cursor or not.
  6. Click OK

Cropping and zooming into your screen capture

Cropping your screen capture source

You might wish to crop out parts of your Window or Display capture. You can do this by holding down the Alt key and dragging the bounding box in.

Often I will like to share a website from a browser, but crop out the scroll bar and resize the source to fill the screen.

Zoom into a nested scene

If you have a single scene with a window or display source, you can actually use that as a nested scene and then zoom into different areas to make certain actions you’re performing easier to see.

  1. Click the plus sign (+) in the Sources dialog
  2. Select Scene
  3. From Add Existing select the name of the scene you would like to nest. Click OK.
  4. You can now resize the capture either manually, or by right-clicking and going to Transform > Edit Transform (Ctrl + E) which allows you to use numbers to adjust how your zoomed nested scene appears.

You can switch between scenes by clicking on them, adding keyboard shortcuts or setting up buttons on an Elgato Stream Deck.

Hiding OBS Studio windows from Screen Capture

If you’re working with a single screen, you may be better off using the Window Capture option rather than the Display Capture.

That said, OBS Studio does have a setting where you can Hide OBS windows from screen capture.

  1. Go to the File Menu and select Settings
  2. Under the General tab you can click the Hide OBS windows from screen capture checkbox

If you’re actually using screen capture to demonstrate OBS Studio functionality (like I often do) it’s important to make sure you don’t select this option, even if you’re running multiple instances of OBS Studio.

Screen Share cautions

Be careful about inadvertently sharing personal or sensitive information while sharing your screen.

Be mindful of sharing the entire chat as part of your stream. If someone sees you’re doing that and writes something offensive, that’s a terrible experience for your entire audience.