How to Turn on and Use the Discord Overlay Easily

Have you ever wanted to easily see who’s talking while you game, or quickly check your Discord messages without tabbing out? The Discord overlay allows you to display a small Discord window over your game so you don’t have to leave the action.

Enabling the overlay is simple, but it does have some specific hardware and software requirements. In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to turn on and use the Discord overlay feature to enhance your gaming experience.

Turn on and Use the Discord Overlay

Key Takeaways

The Discord overlay provides a convenient way to stay connected to your Discord chats during gaming. Here are some key tips to remember:

  • Check hardware and software requirements before enabling
  • Launch games through Discord’s game library
  • Fine-tune overlay settings for each game
  • Use hotkeys to toggle the overlay on and off
  • Optimize performance to prevent FPS drops or crashes
  • Display your best custom status for streams and videos

With the overlay properly configured, you can seamlessly combine gaming and Discord. Never miss a clutch play or crucial callout again!

What is the Discord Overlay?

The Discord overlay displays a small Discord chat window over your game screen. It allows you to see new messages, speak with your friends, and control Discord without minimizing your game.

Some key benefits of the overlay include:

  • See who is talking in voice chat
  • View and send messages without leaving your game
  • Easily switch between Discord and your game
  • Stay connected even during intense gaming moments

The overlay makes it easy to seamlessly communicate on Discord without being fully distracted from your game. This keeps you in the action while staying coordinated with your squad.

Hardware and Software Requirements

To use the overlay feature, you’ll need to meet these requirements:


  • Windows 7 or newer
  • MacOS 10.11 or newer
  • A discrete GPU from Nvidia or AMD
  • At least 1GB of dedicated video memory


The requirements ensure your computer has the capability to run the overlay smoothly without impacting game performance. Integrated graphics generally can’t handle the overlay.

Discord’s game library shows which games support the overlay feature. Popular supported titles include League of Legends, Valorant, Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight, and Rainbow Six Siege.

How to Enable Discord Overlay

Enable Discord Overlay

Enabling the overlay only takes a few quick steps:

  1. Open Discord and navigate to User Settings > Overlay
  2. Toggle the “Enable in-game overlay” switch
  3. Select which corners you want the overlay displayed in
  4. Launch your supported game through Discord

And that’s it! The overlay window will now appear in your selected corner during gameplay.

Controlling Overlay Settings

In the Overlay tab of User Settings, you have a few options to customize your overlay experience:

  • Choose overlay corners
  • Adjust overlay size
  • Toggle frame rate counter
  • Enable/disable overlay in specific games
  • Pick overlay hotkeys

Experiment to find settings that work best for the games you play. For example, you may prefer the overlay on the left side for some games and right side for others.

Launching Games Through Discord

To enable the overlay, you need to launch supported games through the Discord desktop app itself:

  1. Click the “+” icon in the Discord sidebar
  2. Select “Add Game”
  3. Choose your game from the list
  4. Click the game icon whenever you want to launch it

This ensures Discord injects the overlay files when the game starts. The overlay won’t work if you launch games directly from Steam or other libraries.

Using the Discord Overlay In-Game

Discord Overlay

Once enabled and launched via Discord, using the overlay during gameplay is simple:

  • New messages will popup in the overlay as they come in
  • Click the overlay to expand it without minimizing your game
  • Type and send messages within the overlay window
  • See who is speaking in voice channels
  • Adjust settings and mute without leaving your game

The overlay makes chatting and coordinating feel seamless, allowing you to toggle between game and Discord quickly.

You can resize the overlay and drag it around your screen if needed. Use hotkeys to toggle the overlay on or off during gameplay as well.

Here is a video for an easy guide

Tips for Using the Overlay Smoothly

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the Discord overlay:

  • Close unused programs to reserve resources for your game and overlay
  • Disable in-game overlays from other programs like Steam
  • Keep your graphics drivers updated for best performance
  • Adjust the overlay size and opacity for minimal distraction
  • Use a headset to easily hear voice chat over game audio
  • Reference overlay hotkeys so you can toggle it quickly

With some optimization, the overlay can function smoothly without major performance hits. Take time to tweak settings until you find your ideal overlay experience.

Common Overlay Issues and Fixes

If you’re having trouble enabling or using the overlay, there are a few common issues worth checking:

Overlay won’t enable:

  • Verify GPU model meets minimum specs
  • Check for other active overlays from Steam, Origin, etc
  • Try restarting your PC and game

Overlay opens behind the game:

  • Launch game from Discord again
  • Select different overlay corners
  • Adjust Windows display settings

Overlay causing FPS drops:

  • Lower in-game graphics settings slightly
  • Close unused programs and processes
  • Try disabling GPU intensive Discord overlays like screenshare

Game crashes with overlay:

  • Update your game, GPU drivers, and Discord
  • Disable overlays from other programs
  • Launch game in borderless windowed mode

With some tweaking, most overlay issues can be solved. Be sure to check Discord’s overlay troubleshooting guide if problems persist.

Using the Mobile and Browser Overlays

In addition to desktop, Discord offers limited overlay support on mobile devices and in the web browser app:

Mobile Overlay:

  • Available on iOS and Android
  • Enabled in Discord mobile settings
  • Shows current voice channel only

Browser Overlay:

  • Accessible in Discord browser app
  • Shows incoming messages and voice channels
  • Position choices are limited

The mobile and browser overlays provide basic chat and voice visibility without a full overlay. Keep these options in mind while on the go or away from your main gaming PC.

Displaying Your Best Discord Status

With the overlay enabled, your Discord status is visible to anyone watching your stream or video clips. Take advantage of this free “advertising” by showing off your best status:

  • Set an eye-catching custom status
  • Share your Twitch channel or other link
  • Showcase custom emojis and badges
  • Enable Discord Nitro banner

Your status represents you whenever the overlay is active. Be sure it conveys the image you want fans and viewers to see.


The Discord overlay provides a seamless way to stay connected with friends while gaming without being completely distracted. With its hardware requirements met, integration settings properly configured, and some performance optimization, the overlay can be an incredibly useful tool.

Focus on tailoring the overlay features to match each specific game you play – fine-tuning size, position, hotkeys, and other options based on your gameplay needs. With practice, you’ll be able to instinctively toggle the overlay, chat, and return focus to your game.

Hopefully this guide has provided you with a good understanding of how to activate the overlay on desktop, customize it for the ideal experience, resolve any issues, and display your best status.

Staying engaged with your Discord community is vital, and the overlay helps you achieve this without fully disconnecting from your games. Leverage its capabilities to take your Discord gaming interactions to the next level!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I add a game to Discord?

You can add games to Discord by clicking the + icon in the sidebar and selecting “Add Game”. Choose the game from Discord’s library and it will now show up in your server sidebar for easy launching.

Does the overlay work with windowed or borderless gaming?

Yes, the Discord overlay works with games running in windowed, fullscreen windowed, and exclusive fullscreen modes. The overlay will display in your chosen corner at the selected size.

Can I customize overlay hotkeys?

Discord allows you to set custom hotkey combinations to toggle the overlay or enable/disable voice within the overlay settings menu. This lets you quickly control the overlay during gameplay.

Will the overlay impact my FPS or game performance?

The overlay requires some GPU resources, so you may see a small FPS drop in graphically intensive games. Try lowering in-game settings slightly or closing other programs to minimize impact. Keeping your GPU drivers updated also helps.

Why can’t I hear my friends talking in the overlay?

Make sure in-game voice chat is disabled and that your headset or speakers are set to use Discord as the primary audio source. Using Push to Talk in Discord overlay can also help avoid echo or feedback.

How do I edit my status for the overlay?

You can edit your Discord status by clicking your profile in the bottom left of Discord. Customize your status text, emoji, images, and more here. Anyone viewing your overlay will see this status.

Can I show multiple Discord servers in the overlay?

Unfortunately, only one Discord server’s channels can be displayed at a time in the overlay window. You will need to switch between servers manually. Running multiple Discord instances isn’t recommended.

Is the overlay supported on Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch?

Currently, the Discord overlay only works on desktop Windows PCs and Macs. Consoles do not support overlay integration, though Discord voice chat works through party chat.

Why does my overlay randomly stop working in-game?

Check if you have any GPU intensive Discord overlays like screenshare active, as these can cause conflicts. Restarting your game and Discord may also help. Ensure no other programs are injecting conflicting overlays.

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