Add live captions in OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a popular program used to stream to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. Learn about adding captions to a live stream using OBS Studio and Web Captioner.

Note that for both of these options you may need to keep the Web Captioner window visible on your screen while you are captioning, even if it's small and in the corner of your screen. This is because Google Chrome may throttle the performance of background tabs or hidden windows, causing Web Captioner to stop processing captions during that time it is off-screen.

Option 1: Closed Captioning

Closed captioning allows you to encode caption data into your stream, and viewers on streaming platforms like Facebook, Twitch or YouTube can toggle the "CC" button in their players to optionally turn on captions.

  1. Make sure you are using OBS Studio version 26.1 or later.
  2. Download and install the OBS Websocket plugin (version 4.9.0 if on OBS 26.1 to 26.1.2, or version 4.9.1 if on OBS 27 or later).
  3. Restart OBS if you currently have it open.
  4. In OBS, go to Tools > WebSockets Server Settings.
  5. Enable the WebSockets server and set the port number and password. The password is optional but recommended.
  6. Go to the channels page in Web Captioner settings, select OBS Studio, and enter your server port and password from the last step.
  7. Add the channel and start captioning as usual.

You won't see captions in OBS, but if you stream to a service like Facebook, Twitch or YouTube that has a "CC" button, you will be able to toggle captions on and off there.

Option 2: Screen Capture

  1. Open Web Captioner and start captioning as usual.
  2. In OBS, create a new window capture source. Name it something descriptive like Captions, and click OK.
  3. In the window list, select the window that mentions Google Chrome and Web Captioner.
  4. You should now see captions in OBS. (If the Google Chrome window you're capturing appears black in OBS, you might need to temporarily disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome in order to allow OBS to capture the window. Open Chrome settings, search for "hardware acceleration," disable the "Use hardware acceleration when available" setting, and then relaunch Chrome.)
  5. Use OBS's tools for cropping and positioning your captions on your stream.

Troubleshooting Closed Captioning

Currently, OBS will show no indication that closed captioning is working. If you are having trouble with captions being displayed on a service you are streaming to from OBS like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch, you can use these steps to determine if the issue is between Web Captioner and OBS or OBS and your service by checking the OBS websocket logs.

  1. Follow the "option 1" instructions above for setting up closed captioning between Web Captioner and OBS.

  2. In OBS, go to Tools > Websockets server settings.

  3. Check "Enable debug logging" if it isn't already checked. Click OK.

  4. Go to Help > Log Files > View Current Log.

    As speech is recognized in Web Captioner, you should see log entries in OBS confirming that OBS is receiving the text successfully from Web Captioner:

If OBS is successfully receiving captions from Web Captioner, but the captions are not appearing in the service you are streaming to (like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch), then the issue is somewhere between OBS and the service.