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How To Set Up Paddle Buttons On The Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is a powerful handheld gaming device that acts like a portable desktop PC. What’s more is that the Steam Deck has an impressive controller design and allows several button configurations and layouts. So, how do you set up paddle buttons on the Steam Deck?

You can configure the rear paddle buttons by pressing the Steam button and then pressing right on the D-Pad twice to open the Controller Settings menu. You can find the rear paddle buttons under the Buttons page. You’ll have to configure and optimize the paddles for each game separately.

The Steam Deck provides a handful of exciting customization features. There’s a lot to learn and understand so that you can get the most out of your device. Let’s take a look at everything you need to get started.

What Is the Steam Deck?

Steam Deck in Case - 3

The Steam Deck (on Steam) is a handheld gaming device that was developed by Valve and released in February 2022. The Steam Deck can be considered a more powerful competitor to the Nintendo Switch, as it can be played in handheld mode or connected to a monitor.

The Steam Deck runs on Linux but uses SteamOS on the front end, making it incredibly straightforward to navigate, install, and play games.

The device comes equipped with a 1,280-by-800 7-inch screen, a custom quad-core AMD processor, RDNA 2 GPU, and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The Steam Deck comes in three models priced at $399, $529, and $649, with storage sizes of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, respectively.

What Are Paddle Buttons?

Paddle or rear buttons are buttons on the back of a gaming controller that allow for easy access without removing your thumb from the joystick or trackpad. Most paddle buttons are configurable, including the four rear buttons on the Steam Deck.

However, most games aren’t configured or optimized for every paddle button, meaning you’ll have to configure them yourself.

Setting Up Your Paddle Buttons

Not all games need specially configured paddle buttons, but some titles will benefit from the additional access. Here are the steps for configuring your paddle buttons on the Steam Deck:

1. Open a Game

You’ll need to configure and optimize your paddle buttons on an individual game basis. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-stop method for configuring paddle buttons across multiple titles, as the paddle buttons don’t adhere to typical controller layouts.

2. After Launching a Game, Press the Steam Button

Once your game has finished loading, press the ‘Steam‘ button. The Steam menu should appear. You can press the right arrow on the D-Pad twice to access the Default Controller Layout menu on the Steam Deck. Select ‘Controller Settings‘ located at the bottom of the page

3. Enter the Controller Settings Menu

Now you should be in the Controller Settings menu. You can adjust various buttons, configurations, and layouts. You can use the Controller Settings menu to inspect the default layout to get a feel for what controls to adjust. The rear paddle buttons are L4, L5, R4, and R5.

4. Highlight and Select the Edit Layout Button

From the Controller Settings menu, select the ‘Edit Layout‘ button to start adjusting controls. You can configure other buttons as you see fit or just the rear paddle buttons.

You’ll notice several pages on the Edit Layout screen. Each page will allow you to adjust a different section of controls, including the triggers, joysticks, buttons, d-pad, trackpad, and gyro. The four rear paddle buttons are listed under the initial set of controls on the Buttons page.

Scroll down until you see Back Grips. Now you can adjust and configure each paddle button to whatever controls you like. You might want to keep them as the default ABXY configuration for most games. Play around with your settings to determine what works for you.

5. Setting Up Additional Commands  

You can configure additional commands for the rear paddle buttons. You can select the main controls by clicking the more prominent button next to the input. Selecting the cog button opens up even more options.

The cog button opens another menu with additional configurations, such as extra or sub commands. You can select ‘Add Extra Command‘ and select another format. You can adjust this setting even further with features like double press and long press.

You can delete extra commands by clicking the X button while you have them highlighted. Hitting the X button once more will delete any additional commands.

How to Use Paddle Buttons on a Steam Deck

Steam Deck Playing Halo

You can use the rear paddle buttons on the Steam Deck in several different ways. You’ll have to configure and optimize them for each game, but you can follow the steps above for easy access.

You can remap the rear paddle buttons to provide you with a competitive edge in certain titles, like first-person shooters or racing games. You can set the rear paddles to crouch, throw a grenade, or swap weapons.

Alternatively, you can use the back paddle buttons as shifters in racing games. Your controller configuration options are nearly endless on the Steam Deck.