Stream Deck – My Quick Tips!

CDubs quick Stream Deck take…

Recently (July 2020) I made some enhancements to my home office setup and configuration. One of the notable and personal favorite upgrades so far was the addition of the Stream Deck by Elgato. The 15 key variation currently retails for $149.99 USD on Amazon. Elgato currently markets the device at YouTube vlogger, streamers or eSports maniacs – well have I got pleasant news to offer the regular office worker…the Stream Deck will benefit you too 🙂 !

At its core, the Stream Deck is a fully customizable control pad with an easy to read LCD key display. The device allows you quickly switch between applications, run specific key sequences, play your favorite tune on Spotify, send out a Tweet, change audio inputs, mute/unmute your microphone during Zoom calls.

The device supports both Windows and MacOS operating sytems and is powered over standard USB 2.0 interface. The Stream Deck is controlled and managed by an easy to use and intuitive interface (download from Elgato here). In all it’s a pretty snazzy little device in which I give 10 / 10 so far.

Stream Deck User Interface

Below are some quick tips I’ve learned in using the Stream Deck. I will continue to add more over time as I use the device! Feel free to leave your favorite Stream Deck tips in the comments below!

Tip 1: Customize the button icons!

Stream Deck allows you to fully customize the button actions as well as the button images. There are out of the box icons provided however @ArtificialCreations has put together a nice icon library. Elgato provides a Key Creator and the recommended image size is 72 x 72 pixels.

15 Key Elgato Stream Deck

Tip 2: Use to bring focus to an application!

This one took me some fumbling with and Googling around to figure out. I’m a Windows user so for you MacOS folk – sorry…I love to ALT + Tab between apps – well that’s not really ideal as a button action. What if I want to quickly switch to Outlook for email or Slack to read an important message – and I want to use my Stream Deck? Simple…

Pin the applications to the taskbar starting left to right…The first application is Windows + 1…below Slack is Windows + 5 and Outlook is Windows + 6. Simple! The first button push brings focus to the application and the second button push hides it back in the task bar neatly.

You will want to use the Hotkey option within the System section, hit Win + 5 – Apply or search for a meaningful icon – Voila!

Tip 3: Mute and Un-Mute in Zoom

How many times have we been on conference calls (Zoom’s mainly) and Paul or Jane cannot find the damn mute button! Too many. Please mute if you are not talking, we do not want to hear your dog barking or the keyboard hammering (LOUD TYPERS).

It’s super easy and there’s a few ways to add in Mute / UnMute capabilities with Stream Deck.

1.) Use the Audio Mute Plug-in by Fred Emmott

The Custom Audio Mute Plug-In is pretty self explanatory…

2.) Use Zoom’s native mute and unute keyboard shortcuts. In Tip #1 above we discussed the Hotkey – Hotkey can be used for any key sequence. For example Zoom’s default mute and unmute maps to ALT + A. The recommendation I would offer is to make sure that you enable Global shortcuts. This means that even though your cursor (focus) is not on Zoom you can still mute and unmute – otherwise you will need to have the meeting in focus for the hotkey to function.

The benefit of using method 2 (ALT + A) is that you can also see your mute status in the Zoom interface. Method 1 could lead to the dreaded double-mute situation.

4. Folders, Folders AND FOLDERS!

The Stream Deck model I purchased has 15 keys on it. What if I want to program more than 15 actions…? Well Stream Deck supports folders. Super easy – treat it just as you would a folder in Windows or on your Mac. Drag. Drop. When you click into a folder on the device, you can go up a level by hitting the top left button (you cannot move this button).

Tip 5. Give it meaning

You can drag and drop items on the Stream Deck around. You will want the device to be easy and intuitive to navigate. Last thing you need to be doing is fumbling around during an important call, webinar, stream or eSports competition and miss the opportunity. So, be organized.

Wrap Up

As I use the Stream Deck more, get more accustomed and create more advanced actions I’ll be sure to update this post. Share your Stream Deck tips in the comments section below so everyone can benefit! Until next time….Cheers!

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