Question / Help Resolution for non-game screen capture YouTube video


New Member
I'm new to OBS. I want to create a series of 5-10 minute YouTube videos. Each video will be a screen capture alternating between a PowerPoint slide presentation, an Excel spreadsheet, an MS-Access database, a browser (Chrome), etc. I'll run each of those in maximized (full screen) windows and Alt-Tab between them as I record the video. So, each video will be predominantly text with a few Excel charts (no photos, videos or gaming action). I'm using a 24 inch monitor with the Windows-recommended 2560 x 1440 display resolution. When I installed OBS the wizard suggested 1920 x 1080, which I accepted. I'm concerned that people watching one of my YouTube videos may not be able to see what's going on, e.g. if things look too small at their end. I could use Zoomit to zoom in on a portion of my display, but I'm wondering if there's a better option. For example, should I reduce my display resolution to 1920 x 1080 before I begin recording? I'd appreciate any suggestions (or directions to existing How Tos, FAQs, etc.) so I can minimize my trial & error phase.


All your YouTube viewers will be using a different physical screen size and resolution. Some will be using smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, and TVs all of different resolutions.

Since you are recording text in Excel and Powerpoint, it is the actual pixel bitmap being captured of the font by OBS. The font won't adapt like it will at various font sizes (not via Bezier curve generation). So if you scale up or down, the font may look blurry, pixelated, not crisp.

To prevent that, don't downscale (or upscale) when recording text applications. Choose a font size that is very readable at that resolution. So if you record at a base canvas resolution of 2560x1440, output at the same 2560x1440 and use a font size of say at least 18 points in Excel/Word/Powepoint so that people won't have to squint.

YouTube will take your 1440p output and transcode to 16:9 formats. The user will be able to choose in the YouTube video player via the cog wheel quality parameter:
  • 1440p
  • 1080p
  • 720p
  • 480p
  • 360p
  • 240p
  • 144p
You may want to use a zoom tool also for instructional purposes. Windows 10 has a built in zoom magnifier.
Type "Magnifier" in the Cortana search box.
Then CTRL+ALT+Mouse Wheel Up/Down to zoom in/out where the cursor sits.


Active Member
The only thing you can do to be sure how YOUR presentation will work out on video, is you make test recordings, upload that to Youtube, and see yourself. Set the test videos to private, so nobody except you knows their presence. With these test uploads, watch them fullscreen, watch them with the windowed player (both windowed sizes: the small player as well as the cinema player that is maximized within the browser window), change the resolution (lower right corner), watch them on a smartphone, watch them on a tablet. Then choose the app scaling best suited to your presentation.

Checking a just uploaded Youtube video is a bit tricky: Youtube processes each video to different resolutions. The smallest resolution (144p) is available first, so wait with your checking until the resolution has appeared you did the upload with in the first place.

How you scale your app depends on the app. Office apps have a zoom slider at the lower right corner, although this only zooms the worksheet but not the menus. You can zoom at operating system level, if you play with the display scaling. Fire up Windows settings->System->Display, explained here:
Vary the percent size between 100% - 200%, where you can make a 2560x1440 display look like 1920x1080 or even 1280x720 while keeping the desktop resolution at native 2560x1440.


New Member
@Sukiyucky & @koala Thank you both very much. Is there anything that I could usefully say at the beginning of each video to help improve the YouTube viewer's experience? For example, would it make sense to say something like "I’m using a large monitor, so I suggest that you use YouTube’s full screen setting to view this video"? Or perhaps "...I suggest that you use YouTube's 1440p quality version of this video"? Or are such comments counterproductive, since I'll have no idea what display the end user has?


Active Member
You don't have an idea what display the end user has. The vast majority of users has 1920x1080 or 1366x768 according to the Steam hardware survey (this is mainly from gamer PCs, the non-gamer audience has probably more lower resolutions). Only 9 percent of all computers collected in that survey have a resolution above 1920x1080.

I would design a screen setup that is comfortable for 1920x1080 fullscreen and is still watchable with 1280x720 (this is the next lower scaling Youtube is offering. 1366x768 isn't offered by Youtube). You can and should record your video with 2560x1440, but the vast majority of users will consume a downscaled 1920x1080 version and the 1280x720 version, so make your scaling big enough. Don't include text that is only readable at 2560x1440 native resolution.