Sick of plugging your gaming controller into your Linux PC, only to find that the game does not have any gamepad controls set up? As it turns out, Steam has a solution for that. Did you know that you can add custom controller layouts for your Steam games on Linux? It’s true! Thanks to Steam’s stellar controller support on Linux, anyone can bind custom controls to their gaming controller! Follow along to learn how to do it on your system!
Accessing Steam in Linux
You must install the Steam game store on your Linux PC to use to make use of custom control schemes for your games. To get the Steam application working on Linux, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, when the terminal window is open, follow the command-line instructions below that corresponds with your Linux distribution.
To get Steam on Ubuntu, use the following Apt command below.
sudo apt install steam
Sadly, Steam is not free. As a result, Debian does not offer the package by default, and users are instructed to enable “non-free” mode to get it going. Enabling non-free can be tedious to new users. Thankfully, there’s an alternative: downloading Steam directly from Valve.
In a terminal, use the following wget download command to download the Steam DEB release. Then, use dpkg to install it.
wget https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/client/installer/steam.deb sudo dpkg -i install steam.deb
Fix any dependency issues that may arise with:
sudo apt-get install -f
On Arch Linux, getting Steam running is as easy as entering the Pacman command below.
sudo pacman -S steam
Sadly, Fedora Linux does not distribute Steam via their software repositories. For best results, follow the Flatpak installation instructions instead.
Steam is available to all OpenSUSE Linux users, though the app has some trouble running on the operating system without some tweaking. To avoid all the fuss, follow the Flatpak instructions instead.
Steam is in the Flatpak store, which is welcome as it makes running Steam on nearly any Linux operating system, with ease, a reality. If you’d like to install the Flatpak version of Steam, ensure you have the Flatpak runtime enabled. Then, enter the commands below.
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo flatpak install flathub com.valvesoftware.Steam
Adding a controller to Steam
While most video games you install on Steam can automatically detect your controller, Steam will sometimes disable access to it because it is not added in the controller settings.
To add a controller to Steam, log into the app with your username and password. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to add your controller to Steam.
Step 1: Locate the “Steam” menu in the top-left area of the app, and click on it with the mouse to reveal its options.
Step 2: Look through the “Steam” menu for the “Settings” option and select it with the mouse to access the “Settings” area for the Steam app.
Step 3: Inside of the “Settings” area, locate “Controller” on the left-hand side of the window and click on it. Then, click on “GENERAL CONTROLLER SETTINGS.”
Step 4: In “GENERAL CONTROLLER SETTINGS,” you will see a list of various types of controller support. Check the box next to the type of controller you will be adding to steam.
For Xbox One and Xbox 360, click the box that says “Xbox Configuration Support.” For PS4 and PS3, check “PlayStation Configuration Support.” For Nintendo Switch, check “Switch Pro Configuration Support,” and for generic gamepads, click “Generic Gamepad Configuration Support.”
Step 5: Plug in your controller and turn it on so Steam can detect it.
Step 6: Look under “Detected Controllers” and click on your controller with the mouse to reveal options for the controller.
Step 7: Click on the “Identify” button to attach the controller to your Steam profile.
Downloading control schemes in Steam
While it is possible to create your custom control scheme within the Steam application, it is much better to download control schemes, as there are (more often than not) already custom made keybinds for your controller available to download via Steam. To download control schemes in Steam, follow the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1: Ensure your controller is connected to the computer.
Step 2: Locate the Steam Big Picture button, and click on it to open Steam in Big Picture mode.
Step 3: Locate “Library” and select it with your controller or mouse.
Step 4: Find the game you would like to play and select it with your controller or mouse. Then, find “Manage Game” and select it.
Step 5: Look through the “Manage Game” area for “Controller Configuration” and click on it to access controller configuration for the game you want to play.
Step 6: Select the “Browse Configs” button with your controller or mouse.
Step 7: Look through the control schemes available for download and select the one you want to use with your controller or mouse.
Step 8: Click “Apply Configuration” to apply your new control scheme.
Making your own control schemes in Steam
While we recommend downloading community control schemes, it is also possible to create your own. To make custom control schemes in Steam, do the following.
Step 1: Follow steps 1-5 in the section above.
Step 2: Use the on-screen controller to configure each button on your gamepad to a custom control.
When done creating your custom control scheme, click “Done.”