Best Chat Box Overlay For Twitch Streamers

One of the most important aspects of streaming is engagement. Creating a stream that encourages viewers to interact and engage is sure-fire way to build up a strong community and follower base. One popular method of creating engagement is using a chat box overlay. They’re one of the many different kinds of stream overlays used used for streaming on Twitch. This puts a channels chat on top of a stream, rather than off stream to the side somewhere. This is great for viewers who like the full screen experience but don’t want to miss out on chat. Additionally, viewers who can’t watch your live streams and instead watch VODs or YouTube clips, can still enjoy chat’s reaction and sentiment.

There’s quite a few ways in which you can overlay your stream chat on Twitch, YouTube or Facebook. We’ll guide you through this process and help you find the best solution for adding this great engagement tool to your stream.

Contents

Chat Box Overlays For Streamlabs & Streamelements

Here are some of the best chat box overlays for the platforms Streamlabs & Streamelements. These widgets have 12 customisation options, so you’ll be able to fine tune each one to your unique specifications. If you’re using Streamlabs they have quick import links so you’ll be up and running in no time. We’ve also got a guide that takes you step by step through the set up.

Lofi City

lofi city chat box overlay for Twitch

Challenger

challenger chat box overlay for Twitch

Free Chat Box Overlays

Free Streamlabs Chatbox Overlay

free twitch chat box overlay widget for stream

If you use Streamlabs for streaming then this free Twitch chat overlay is perfect for you. This widget is part of a full package which is also free. Set it up with quick install links and you’ll have this chat box on your stream completely hassle free.

Free Streamlabs & Streamelements Chatbox by Nerd or Die

free chat box overlay from nerd or die

Nerd or Die offers a free variation of their borderline package which includes a chat box for Streamlabs and Streamelements. Set it up with easy import links which are included in the download. Simply select their Free Extras variation before checkout.

Add Twitch Chat Overlay To OBS

When it comes to adding a Twitch chat overlay to OBS you have a few options available. Streamlabs and Streamelements both provide a solution for this. However, today we’re going to be focusing on another method using Kapchat. 

  1. Head over to Kapchat. Select Get It to initiate the set up process.

    start kapchat set up process from their landing page

  2. From the new set up window, enter your channel name. Enable whichever options suit you. We’re going to leave them disabled and select the Chat Theme dropdown.

    setting up kapchat options

  3. Select Dark BTTV from the chat theme dropdown. This will enable bttv emotes for your chat overlay. Now Select Generate.

    kapchat dark theme selection

  4. You’ll be shown a new window which contains a unique URL based on your channel and settings. Copy this URL and move on to the next step.

    kapchat's generated URL

  5. Launch OBS studio. Create a browser source by selecting the + icon in the sources section. Then select Browser from the selection dialog.

    creating a browser source in OBS

  6. Now paste the URL you copied from step 4 into the URL section. Set the Width : 300 and Height : 600. Finish off by pressing OK. The chat overlay will now be added to your scene in OBS. It might take a moment to start displaying. Confirm everything works by typing in your channels chat.

    setting browser source properties in obs

If you’re not happy with the dimensions of your chat feed, simply right click the browser source from the Sources section of OBS and select Properties. You can change the width and height from this window. 

How To Make A Free Chat Box Overlay For Twitch

Adding a chat feed to OBS can appear a little bit basic. We’ll show you how to create a stylistic border that will go around your chat feed to give you stream a more professional edge. This is a great and easy to follow method using all free tools and software.

Before we start creating the chat box frame, firstly follow our method for adding Twitch chat to your stream. Keep a note of the dimensions you used for setting up the chat feed. This is important to know before we start creating the frame. For this tutorial we’re using the Width : 300 and Height : 600.

  1. Go to Photopea. This is a completely free browser based photo editing application. In the top left select File -> New.

    creating a new project within photopea

  2. Within the New Project pane set the Width and Height. They should correspond with the width and height used for setting up the chat feed. In this case we’re using 300×600. Finish off by selecting Create.

    setting resolution for a new project in photopea

  3. Create a new layer. This button will be located in the bottom right of the application within the Layers tab.

    creating a new layer in photopea

  4. With the new layer selected, go to the main menu within the application Select -> All. This will make a selection around the canvas boundary.

    select all within photopea

  5. Now select the pain bucket tool. You might need to long press this button if the gradient tool is currently enabled. Once you long press this button a small drop down will appear so you can select the pain bucket tool.

    selecting paint bucket tool within photopea

  6. Now choose a color for overlay. Locate the color panel on the right side of the application. If you don’t see this panel, select Window -> Color from the main menu.

    color selector photopea

  7. With your color selected, click anywhere within the canvas to fill it with your chosen color.

  8. Make sure the selection is still made from step 4. You can confirm this by checking for a dotted black and white border around the canvas. Now from the main menu go Select -> Modify -> Contract.

    From the contract menu enter 5px for contract amount, enable Apply at Canvas bounds and hit OK. You can confirm everything worked if the dotted black and white line is now inset from the canvas boundary.

    using the contract tool in photopea

  9. From the main menu select Edit -> Cut (make sure your layer is still selected).

    deleting pixels within photopea

  10. Now disable the white background layer by pressing the eye icon to the left. Your overlay is now ready for exporting.

    disabling a layer in photopea

  11. To export, select File -> Export As -> PNG.

    export as in photopea

  12. From the export dialog make sure the format is PNG and then select save. Navigate to the location you would like the save the image file and press Save to finish.

    exporting dialog in photopea

  13. Launch OBS. Create an image source using the + icon in the sources section of OBS. Remember if you haven’t already you need to add the chat feed to OBS. Name your source an press Ok.

    adding an image source in OBS

  14. Select Browse and locate the PNG file you previously saved in Step 12. Once located Open it and then press OK.

    browse for image file in obs

  15. Reposition the chat frame so that it sits on top of the chat feed.

    repositioned chat in OBS

That concludes our guide on creating a Twitch chat overlay for free. Although the overlay is pretty basic, our goal was to take you from A-Z giving you an overview of the process. If you’d like to make more advanced overlays there’s an extensive list of tutorials available on YouTube covering techniques more in depth.

How To View Twitch Chat Overlay In Game

For streamers using a single monitor, we’ve found a solution that will allow you to overlay chat whilst in game. Interacting with chat is a vital part of creating engagement for your stream. Doing this with a single monitor however proves more difficult. We’ll walk you through this whole process and show you how to add a chat box overlay in game. You’ll then be able to keep an eye on Twitch chat whilst playing.

  1. Navigate to latest release of the transparent Twitch chat overlay project on Github. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Assets section. Select the TwitchChatOverlay-Installer.exe link to begin downloading.

    transparent twitch chat overlay downloads

  2. Once downloaded open the exe file and begin the installation process. It’s possible that windows smart defender will appear. Simply select More Info -> Run Anyway. Follow the installation process, you’ll then be prompted to restart your computer.  

  3. Once you’ve successfully restarted open up the Twitch Chat Overlay application. You should have installed a short cut to your desktop. Otherwise search for it using the search function on the task bar. Hit the settings icon in the top left to start setting the application up with your channel.

    opening transparent twitch overlay

  4. Enter your username and press Save. There’s a bunch of different settings available that are worth playing around with from that screen. However for this tutorial we’re just getting it set up with the basic settings.

    setting the transparent twitch overlay settings

  5. After some time your chat overlay will load up. To confirm everything is working, head over to your channel page on Twitch and type in your own chat. The messages should appear in the overlay application.

    chat overlay set up complete

How Chat Box Overlays Help Your Stream ?

So you’ve probably noticed that a lot of streamers will overlay their chat on their stream whether it’s Twitch, YouTube or Trovo. Are streamers simply just doing this because it’s meta or is there another reason ? Well there definitely a portion streamers who simply follow the crowd without understanding how it will benefit their stream. Well you might be surprised to know that there’s a huge psychological aspect behind chat overlays.

Humans are social beings and we tend to enjoy events more whilst in the company of others. Ever noticed how many more laughs you get out of comedy films when you’re in the company of friends ? Or why people converge together in huge masses for sporting events. Being part of a crowd or conversation really enhances the experience for a majority of people. With this understanding you can start to see why a live Twitch chat is so engaging. Even if you choose not to interact with chat, being able to see conversations, reactions and emotions in real time creates a social experience rather than just a viewing experience.

So now we know why chat is so effective, what’s a Twitch chat overlay got to do with this ? Well there are two main reasons..

    1.  Viewers who watch in full screen. The first kind of viewer could be what’s known as a lurker, they enjoy kicking back and enjoying the stream, rarely interacting. For these viewers, although they’re not actively typing in chat it’s still important they feel part of a social experience.
    2. Viewers who can’t make it to your live stream. A lot of viewers might not be available during you streaming hours. These types of viewers still enjoy your content through VOD’s or YouTube clips. Having a chat overlay on stream ensures that, chats reactions and conversations are recorded.

Conclusion

There’s certainly no shortage of options when it comes to adding a Twitch chat overlay to your stream. No matter what streaming software you’re using there’s a solution available. Streamlabs and Streamelements have both created built in solutions with their applications which is great if you’re already using their services. For anyone not using those services there’re other methods that work directly with OBS.

Even if you don’t have the funds to invest in a chat box overlay, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can create some nice overlays absolutely free.