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General information

DirectInput (and XInput) on Wikipedia
Xbox 360 Controller (XInput) on Wikipedia

Key points

Controllers are an alternative to keyboard and mouse input. Almost all recently released PC games support controllers, although many only support the newer XInput controllers by default.


Controller to Keyboard Input

These utilities allow keyboard keys to be bound to any controller buttons for games with poor or no controller support. These keys must match with the in-game settings.

Steam Input (Windows, macOS and Linux)

Works with non-Steam games if they're added and launched through Steam.
Lets users share and customize game-specific controller profiles.
Adds or extends the functionality of input devices in various ways (e.g. keyboard/mouse input mapped to a controller, XInput support for DirectInput-only devices, etc).
Overrules games own possible controller specific configurations e.g. automatic button prompt change.
UI for changing bindings is very much made with controllers in mind.
Requires Steam and the Steam Overlay to function.
When game is blocking 3rd party game overlays you can use GlosSI.

reWASD (Windows)

Supported controllers: Xbox Elite 1/2, DualSense, Xbox One/S/X, DualShock 4, DualShock 3, PS3 Navigation, Xbox 360, Stadia, Logitech, Switch Pro, GameCube, Joy-Con, Azeron, Steam, Nvidia SHIELD.
Adds or extends the functionality of input devices in various ways (e.g. allows you to remap controller to keyboard & mouse, reassign with Xbox Elite paddles and turn your ordinary joystick to Turbo & Macro controller).
You can chose which driver (Virtual X360, XOne or DS4) has to be used by connected device. This allows to run PS4 Remote Play or PS Now on Xbox controllers or even on keyboard & mouse.
Allows remapping and Keyboard and Mouse keys to keyboard, mouse or controller buttons.
Allows use of Xbox Elite paddles in any game.
Allows use of Steam Controller without Steam.
Allows Nintendo Joy-Con to work as a pair or separately.
Supports remapping hardware buttons of Xbox, DualShock and Nintendo on PC.
Lets users share and customize game-specific controller profiles.
Runs on Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7.
14-days trial. Full license can cost up to 33 € (Application + Combo + Advanced mapping + 4 Slots + Rapid Fire).

JoyShockMapper (Windows10)

Open source and easy to use application.
Converts DualShock 4, JoyCon, and Switch Pro Controller input into keyboard and mouse events.
Innovative "Flick Stick" support - you can adjust rotation of a stick to the same rotation in game[1].
Allows using gyro controls. Community Configs you can find on GyroWiki.

Controller Companion (Windows)

Mouse, media and keyboard control.
Supports Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers. Application comes with an installer for Xbox 360 Controller Emulator (x360ce) which will allow use Playstation controllers.
Using Steam Workshop as community configs database.
Very user friendly User Interface, bindings are easy to configure.
Virtual Keyboard support. After pressing the left stick, pops up the arcade style virtual keyboard inspired by Beyond Good & Evil input interface.
Auto-disable whenever another program, game or Steam Big Picture is running.
Not Freeware.

AntiMicro (Windows and Linux)

Open source and easy to use application.
AntimicroX is continuation of project for Linux. With version 3.2.0 Windows is now supported[2].
Allows any mouse and keyboard input to be bound to any controller buttons across different profiles.
On Linux, it works only in Xorg environment.

JoyXoff (Windows)

Mouse, media and keyboard control.
Supports Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers.
Virtual Keyboard support. After pressing the left stick, pops up the arcade style virtual keyboard inspired by Beyond Good & Evil input interface or Xbox One themed plain virtual keyboard.
For Playstation controllers Xbox 360 Controller Emulator (x360ce) is needed.

Keysticks (Windows)

Mouse, media and keyboard control.

Xpadder (Windows)

Mouse and keyboard control.
Not Freeware.

Universal Control Remapper (Windows)

Open Source.

JoyToKey (Windows)

Mouse and keyboard control.
Not Freeware.


XInput wrappers

Generic game controllers are classified as DirectInput by Windows, these can be used in any games with XInput support by using a wrapper.
See Controller to Keyboard Input for games with no controller support.

Steam Input

Very easy to set up if you have Steam installed.
With controllers like DualShock 4 and Switch Pro Controller allows haptic feedback passtrough as well.


Supports all main controllers, including Xbox Elite, Xbox Elite 2, Xbox One, DualShock 3, DualShock 4, PS Navigation, Switch Pro, Joy-Con, Xbox 360, Stadia, Logitech, Steam, GameCube.
Supports remapping hardware buttons of Xbox, DualShock and Nintendo. Allows use Xbox Elite paddles in any game and lets Nintendo Joy-Con to work as a pair or separately.
Big community config database with online preview.

Gamepad Phoenix

Supports XInput, DirectInput and Wii controllers allows to create a unified button and axis mapping for up to 4 controllers.
Emulates XInput, DirectInput (any version) and WinMM APIs.
Automatic detection of API, no configuration/file copying needed.
Create controller presets, load one by pressing a single button.
No force feedback support, no analog stick dead zone handling, no emulation of Windows Raw Input API, no motion control support.


Allows XInput controllers to be customized.

XInput Plus

The Xbox Controller Driver and the buggy Force Feedback Driver aren't required with this program.
Features a wide array of advanced options, tweaks, features and some major fixes which other wrappers may lack.
Can translate DirectInput calls into XInput and back. It can also be used on older games using dinput.dll and dinput8.dll.

Xbox 360 Controller Emulator

Can be used to force DirectInput controllers to be detected as XInput ones.
Useful for games which may require multiple players. It also features a wide array of options.
Does not work with games using Unity due to implementation differences.[3]


Converts DirectInput to XInput, reads and sends data to virtual XBox 360 controller.

Primary device

Some games only use controller set as primary controller on Windows and ignores the rest. If incorrect or no controllers are set to primary, game doesn't work with used controller.
Set your used controller as primary one[citation needed]
  1. Open the Start menu, type joy.cpl, then press Enter.
  2. Push Advanced.
  3. From dropdown list, locate your used controller and then push OK.

Multiple controller order for older games

  1. Open the Start menu, type joy.cpl, then press Enter.
  2. Click on the Advanced button.
  3. Select the Preferred device from the drop down menu located on the center.

Issues fixed

Slow or random movement

This may be caused by worn out sticks or by low in-game deadzones.
Calibrating[citation needed]
  1. Open the Start menu, type joy.cpl, then press Enter.
  2. Select the desired controller and click on the Properties button.
  3. Select the Settings tab, then push the Calibrate button and follow the on screen instructions.

Fast movement

Remove any virtual controllers and use the Xbox 360 Controller Emulator instead. If the issue persists see below.
Common issue on games running on the Unity engine due to the Unity input manager using Raw Input instead of DirectInput.
Finding Virtual Controllers[citation needed]
  1. Open the Start menu, type joy.cpl, then press Enter.
  2. Locate the name of the virtual controller driver or utility and remove it.
Rebind Controller Buttons
For Unity games with no launchers hold Shift to access the launcher as the game starts, then select the Input tab.
Check the wiki article for the desired game to find a different rebinding solution. Configuration files may hold such settings.


Many games use SDL2 to handle controller input. This means as long as the controller is on the list, game should detect, use it and give proper controller placement and prompts. Controllers that aren't on the list, do nothing and has to be manually added.
To see what games use SDL2, refer to game-specific middleware section.
Configure controller through Steam Big Picture modes settings[citation needed]
This method requires Steam to be installed on a machine.
Use SDL2 Gamepad Tool[citation needed]
  1. Download and open SDL2 Gamepad Tool.
  2. Select desired controller from dropdown menu.
  3. Select "Create a new mapping" and press buttons accordingly.
    • If some button isn't present on the controller, use the "Skip" button and if some key is registered twice, use the "previous" button.
  4. Either set the string as enviromental variable, which should make the controller work with every SDL2 game or alternatively copy the string and paste it to gamecontrollerdb.txt found in games install folder.



Allows customize various devices, including the keyboard and mouse, joystick, gamepads for use with your computer.
Programming is accomplished using "building blocks".
Unfriendly User Interface.

USB Overdrive

Device driver that handles any USB mouse, trackball, joystick, gamepad, media keyboard and any Bluetooth mouse and lets you configure them either globally or on a per-application, per-device basis.
It supports 64-bit kernels.


Most distributions come with the xpad driver already. If you're experiencing problems with using controllers in your game, or want to bind your keyboard to the controller, you may want to try xboxdrv, or refer to the controller-specific article for more information.


Flexible Linux input device translator, geared for gamepads.
Create virtual gamepads that almost all games can use. Virtual gamepads are persistent, which fixes the numerous games that break when controllers are disconnected.
Flexible generic device driver framework, where only a text file is needed to support input sources that don't need special features. All configuration files are designed to be human-readable and editable.
Easy loading and saving of event mappings that can be changed at run time.
Specialized userspace driver for Wii remotes that make full use of extension controller hotswapping. Supports a command FIFO or socket for controlling a running instance of MoltenGamepad via scripting. Can handle cases where one event device represents multiple logical controllers (like an arcade stick), or vice versa.
Virtual devices can process rumble events, but this is disabled by default.

List of controllers






















Retro Fighters










Other information

Controller hotplugging

Controller hotplugging is the ability to switch controllers without restarting a game.


DirectInput is Microsoft's older controller API (used with nearly all games until 2006). XInput controllers operate in DirectInput mode for these games. Logitech's F310 and F710 gamepads have a physical switch which should be set to "D" for these games.


XInput is Microsoft's API for Xbox 360-compatible controllers such as the official Xbox 360 Controller.


Windows.Gaming.Input is Microsoft's API for Xbox One-compatible controllers such as the official Xbox One Controller primarily built for Universal Windows Platform apps, but can on occasions be found in Win32 games as well.
An example of a new addition only available through the Windows.Gaming.Input API is the use of the impulse triggers of the Xbox One Controller.

Steam Input

Steam Input is feature of the Steam client referring to the entire collection of software, hardware, and configuration utilities that Steam uses to interface with games. It acts like a wrapper using the Steam Community Overlay to intercept and manipulate player input before passing it on along to the game.