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Cover image for How to add your PowerPoint presentation to your camera with OBS

How to add your PowerPoint presentation to your camera with OBS

Jason St-Cyr
Dad, Blogger, Speaker, Head of Developer Advocacy @Sitecore , and Stopper of Slapshots. Opinions expressed are my own, of course.
Originally published at jasonstcyr.com ・3 min read

Have you ever wanted an “over the shoulder” feel to your video presentation? Like a broadcast news style, right in your web camera? You can add your PowerPoint presentation to your camera feed using OBS software and a few easy steps. You can watch the video to see how, or read about it below.

Watch video on YouTube

Why “over the shoulder”?

For some of my presentations, what is on my slides is actually very graphical, or not the important piece of the talk. It’s a supporting device that allows me to talk over it. For those types of talks, I don’t really want somebody staring at a picture of a Batman toy for 2 minutes. The focus should be on the speaker.

This is where I started playing with the idea of using a more “camera first” presentation style, with the slides embedded. What I needed was to figure out how, and learn some basics of OBS. So here’s what I learned!

What is OBS?

OBS(Open Broadcaster Software) is software you run on your computer that has the capability of pulling in multiple sources/devices to create a combined video output. You can then use this as a virtual camera, instead of the physical video device or web camera you currently have, either for calls or for recording.

It’s free, and does a lot, way more than I know how to do right now, but recently I wanted to do a presentation with only my camera and some visual slides, so I started learning how to use OBS a little.

How to capture PowerPoint slides in OBS

After launching OBS, the first thing that I needed to do was to capture my full screen slide presentation with a new input source. Following these steps, you can capture your slides:

NOTE: These steps are for the Windows version of OBS

  1. In your ‘Sources’ pane, click on the ‘+’ button to add a new source
  2. Select “Window Capture” as the type of source.
  3. Create a new source by giving it a name (something like “PowerPoint”).
  4. Press “OK” to confirm the device creation and launch the Properties screen to set up your capture. (By default, it grabs a recently run application when the Properties screen pops up, which may or may not be PowerPoint.)
  5. In the Window Capture properties screen, change the “Window” dropdown to select your running presentation.
    The display in OBS should update to show you the new window capture, but usually it won’t look like PowerPoint even if you select PowerPoint until the next step.

    Screen capture of OBS Window Capture properties dialog

  6. For “Capture Method”, change from Automatic to *Windows Graphics Capture (Windows 10 1903 and up). Your OBS display should now show the PowerPoint slide correctly.

  7. Press “OK”.

You now have a PowerPoint video source!

Image of an OBS configuration screen showing a powerpoint window being captured as a source

Combining PowerPoint and video sources

At this point, your slides are taking up the whole video output. You may want to keep this as a scene for when you want your slides to go full screen. However, I mentioned I was trying to do an “over the shoulder” look with the slides smaller and mostly camera. That means I need my camera as part of the scene. These steps will let you mix a video capture with your window capture:

  1. Like before, you’ll need to add a source, but this time do a Video Capture Device.
  2. Configure it to your camera and desired video settings. I usually leave this on the default configurations. At this point, you have two sources, both full-screen, and if you try it out you’ll only see the video camera, not your slides.
  3. In the sources pane, select the PowerPoint Window Capture source.
  4. Click on the “up” arrow to bring it to the top layer.
  5. Use your mouse to resize your PowerPoint Window Capture source so that your slides are not taking up the entire screen.
  6. Use your mouse to slide the Window Capture source to the position that gives you the mixed layout of video and slides that you want.

And you’re done! Happy streaming!
Image of camera feed with person speaking, while slides display over their shoulder in the top left of the screen

Discussion (2)

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nicoray86 profile image
NicoRay86 • Edited

Great article, thank you. I often come across working in PowerPoint and therefore want to know the maximum possibilities in working with this tool. In my presentations, I often use charts and tables, and therefore I need to arrange everything in such a way that it looks organic. I recently found information on the best flow chart in powerpoint, and now I'm following these tips. The tables and charts are looking much more natural, and therefore the overall presentation quality has improved as well.

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finistratbob profile image
finistratbob

This is a useful feature for academic conferences or business meetings because people can make edits to your presentation. Choosing scientific powerpoint templates are an important aspect of your presentation. The presentation should be concise and structured without unnecessary details. I found a cool option for scientific conferences and it seems to me that a ready-made bundle may be useful to you.