One of the first things you notice over the steam deck the device is full of controls. Touchpads, joysticks and buttons abound, along with hotkeys, gyroscope controls, and touchscreen options. But as your thumbs get used to the array, you may notice: a few problems sneaks in. Sometimes the Steam Deck controls don’t match the game you’re playing, or you may find that the sensitivity is different than you’re used to.
Don’t get frustrated: Valve offers players a plethora of ways to customize the controls and create different profiles. If you have the time to adjust settings, you can create the perfect controller experience for every game you play. Here’s how to get started.
Customizing the controls on Steam Deck
Steam Deck’s controller settings, officially called Steam Input, can be accessed at any point in the game. Since Valve is still pushing updates to add new features, including Steam Input features, it’s a good idea to connect your Steam Deck to your network and check for updates before you start.
Step 1: In a game, press the steam button, which is located on the left side of the Steam Deck, opposite the Quick Access Menu button on the right. Move right with a joystick or D-Pad, and the screen should switch to a layout with game controls. At the bottom you will see a button with the text Controller Settings† Select it.
Step 2: You will see that you have many options here. Let’s start with Quick Settings first. Here you will find basic options for making important changes to the way the controls work. You can toggle the rear grip buttons on or off as you like, reverse different axes to suit your play style, toggle the gyro sensor on or off, and more. These are important controller settings that you can find in many games and can help you solve glaring problems.
Step 3: If you have more in-depth customizations in mind, check out the section called Current layout† Here you can see the name of the current layout and choose View layout to investigate it further. To change it, select Edit layout†
Step 4: Look in the menu on the left to see which part of the controls you are adjusting. Let’s take a look at button mapping, which is one of the most common forms of control customization. Of Tests selected from the menu on the left, you’ll see button categories on the right, including: Tests and bumpers† Choose the specific button you want to change.
Step 5: Now the Steam Deck will show you a list of button commands that you can assign to the specific button you chose. Look up first. Here you will see different layouts depending on the controls you are using. If you’re on the Steam Deck or an external controller, sticking to Gamepad is fine. But if you ever want play a game with a mouse or keyboardyou can switch to those layouts during your customization.
Step 6: Choose the desired command for your selection button. You can remap it to any other button on the Steam Deck, including the trigger and bumper buttons, and even a directional button. Some games have additional formats such as Game Actions that you can choose to assign a specific action (roll, sprint, crouch, weapon swap, etc.) to a button. If you want to customize like that, make sure to select Game Actions on the main menu.
Step 7: Note that you can also customize the DPad, triggers, joysticks, trackpads, and more. This allows you to adjust the sensitivity for many of these controls or change which menus they access, what a double press does instead of a single press, and more. It’s easy to get into the weeds here, but if you want to experiment, you can spend a lot of time tweaking how things work until you find a playstyle that’s perfect for you.
Step 8: Load your new layout when ready and select the cog icon right in you Controller Settings† This gives you the opportunity to Save new layout, where you can name and describe the layout so you know exactly what you’ve created. watch the Export type: section: if you want this layout to be available for every game you play, change the type to Template† Otherwise you can leave it on Personal Storagewhich only affects this game.
Select To confirm when you’re done. Now you can keep this layout chosen or switch back to it in this game whenever you want.
Now you’re ready to customize the controls for any game you want. You may also be interested in learning how to run emulators on the steam deckand it’s a good idea to learn how to access desktop modeat!