Computing

How to Connect a Keyboard and Mouse to the Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is jam-packed with controls, giving you the flexibility to customize how it works and plays. However, it doesn’t come with a built-in keyboard or mouse. But fret not, because you can easily connect a keyboard and mouse to the Steam Deck. This option is particularly useful for games that just don’t feel the same without them or if you plan on doing some serious work in desktop mode.

Connecting Your Keyboard and Mouse to the Steam Deck

Step 1: Start by using a compatible wireless keyboard and mouse. While the Steam Deck Docking Station (which will be available soon) will make wired connections more convenient, for now, the best way to connect your keyboard and mouse to the Steam Deck is by using wireless devices. Luckily, the Steam Deck supports Bluetooth 5.0, which means it can work with a wide range of Bluetooth devices. If you need recommendations, check out our guides to the best wireless keyboards and mice.

Step 2: Ensure that your keyboard and mouse are fully charged, turned on, and ready to pair with your Steam Deck for the first time. If they have pairing buttons or any similar features, make sure they’re ready to go.

Buttons on the Steam Deck.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: You don’t have to switch to desktop mode to use a keyboard or mouse. Simply select the QAM button, located at the bottom right of the Deck. This will bring up the right-side menu. From there, navigate to the cog icon, which will take you to the Quick settings menu.

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Steam Deck Quick Settings.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: Scroll down to the bottom of the Quick settings menu and select the Other option. This will open a small Bluetooth menu. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled here, as it may not be turned on by default.

Step 5: Exit the QAM menu and select the primary Steam button to access the options menu. Scroll down and choose Settings.

Settings in Steam Deck Menu.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 6: In the left-side menu, select Bluetooth. On the right-side of the screen, you’ll see all your current Bluetooth options. Look for the section labeled “Available to pair.” Keep your keyboard and mouse nearby. If they have pairing buttons, press them now.

Once your keyboard and mouse appear in the “Available to pair” section, select them and wait for your Steam Deck to pair and connect. It may take a few seconds for each device.

Step 7: If you want to play a game with a keyboard and mouse, it’s important to check your controller layout. The Steam Deck attempts to switch to an external device layout when it detects connected devices, but it doesn’t always work perfectly for a keyboard and mouse.

Find the game you want to play on the Steam Deck and select the Controller icon on the right side of the title. This will open the controller settings, where you can review your current layout. Click the Right-pointing arrow next to the current layout to explore other available layout options. If you see a keyboard and mouse layout, switch to it.

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Controller settings in Steam Deck.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 8: If there isn’t a pre-made layout for a keyboard and mouse, you can always create your own by selecting a new layout, going to Edit, and then navigating to the Mouse and Keyboard sections at the top of the menu. Here, you can set your own commands and more. Keep in mind that keyboard and mouse controls may vary across different games, but this level of customization can be helpful. Just ensure that your Deck doesn’t switch back to a different layout the next time you start the game by adjusting the priority of your layouts if necessary.

Changing Deck Controller layout.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 9: Note: If you’re already in Desktop mode, you can access all these options directly from the Desktop menu at the bottom right of the screen, where you’ll find a Bluetooth button. However, it’s usually easier to set up your keyboard and mouse before transitioning to Desktop mode.

For specific games that you want to play on the Steam Deck using a keyboard and mouse, make sure to check their compatibility beforehand.

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