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Guide: Using Controller Customization Options in Steam

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Estimated reading time: 3 min

Steam has a fairly robust menu for customizing what a controller does within a game. Any inputs on the controller can be bound to keyboard keys, mouse actions, and other controller inputs. The user can also bind multiple actions to a single button press, as well as well as designating a modifier key to allow the user to do an action by pressing multiple buttons at once. As a note, I will be configuring a Steam controller for the sake of illustrations in this guide, these same options are available for any controller though.

The Basic Layout

The Basic Layout 1

This is the menu that pops up when you bring up the controller options in Steam, either for using it on the Desktop, or using it in a game. It shows an image of the controller and a listing of all of the inputs on it along with what they are bound to (Controller images are supported for Xbox, PS4, Steam, and Switch Pro controllers). Clicking on one of the elements, such as the list of face buttons will bring up a new menu.

The Basic Layout 2

In this menu the user is able to select how this element of the controller should behave (examples would be button pad, Joystick, or D-Pad). After that is chosen the user can assign actions to each of the listed inputs. If the user clicks on an input a new menu will pop up.

The Basic Layout 3

From here the user is able to select which action they would like to bind to that input.

Once you are finished binding all of the inputs on the device that you would like, it is a good idea to press the Export Config button on the top menu.

The Basic Layout 4

This will allow you to save a copy of the controller profile in case your settings ever change. Exported Configs for games can also be uploaded online so that they can be accessed by new installations no matter where they are.

Getting a Jump Start

If you’re simply just trying to get a decent desktop config, or make the controller act like a controller it is a good idea to click on the Browse Configs button on the top menu.

Getting a Jump Start

From there you are able to browse configs that were either made by you, made by Valve, or made by the community. Chances are that someone has already done all of the heavy lifting for a simple controller config.

Binding Multiple Actions to a Single Input

It’s possible to bind more than one action to a single button press on a controller as well. Navigate to where you would be selecting the action for the input and click the button to toggle on Multi-Button.

Binding Multiple Actions to a Single Input

Doing this will allow the user to select as many actions as they would like which will all fire whenever the button is pressed.

Binding an Action to Multiple Inputs

The user may want to activate an action by having to press more than one button at once. There are two methods of doing this. You can use the Mode Shift option, or add a new action to one of the buttons.

Method 1 – Mode Shift

Method 1 - Mode Shift

When you click on Mode Shifting it will allow you to set one of the buttons in the current action set to be the Mode Shift button. When the Mode Shift button is being held it will shift the current action set to a new one, allowing the user to bind new actions to the same action set. With this method the Mode Shift Button that is chosen will always be the button that another input will need to be combined with.

Method 2 – Adding a New Activator

When you are choosing an action for an input you can click the button that says Show Activators. This will give you a more detailed look at what can be bound to the input.

Method 2 - Adding a New Activator 1

The Activator Menu will allow the user to bind actions to different ways that the input can be used. For a button that might mean just pressing it, pressing it and holding it, double tapping it, and more. In order to make the user combine the button press with another one to do an action though first you will need to click Add Activator

Method 2 - Adding a New Activator 2

In the new Activator select Chorded Press for the Activation Type, then choose which button they will have to press with the original button in order to do the action.

Method 2 - Adding a New Activator 3

Then you can bind the action to the inputs. This method is a lot more versatile than the first, but take more work to set up. This method is great if you need multiple combinations.

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