Microsoft’s Xbox One allows you to remap the buttons on its controller. This feature was originally introduced with Microsoft’s high-end Xbox One Elite controller, but it now works with standard Xbox One controllers as well.

These instructions only apply to remapping buttons on an Xbox One controller connected to an Xbox One, not an Xbox One controller connected to a PC. If you have an Xbox One Elite controller, you can download the Xbox Accessories app from the Windows 10 Store and use it to remap the controller’s buttons when it’s connected to a PC, though.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • This change happens at the Xbox One operating system level. Games aren’t aware of it. So, for example, you might swap the left and right sticks using this feature. Games you play won’t know you’ve done this, so when a game tells you to use your right stick, you’ll need to use your left stick. You’ll need to remember how you’ve mapped your buttons.
  • Your button mapping layout affects all games, apps, and the Xbox One’s dashboard. You can’t create specific settings for specific games.
  • Each user account signed into your Xbox One can have a single profile, which is associated with the user account and not the controller hardware. If you use an Xbox One Elite controller, you can save multiple profiles and switch between them, but the system can’t automatically switch profiles when you launch a specific game.

If all that sounds worth it, then let’s talk about how to make this happen.

How to Customize Your Buttons

First, head to “My Games and Apps” on your Xbox One. Select “Apps” on the left side of the screen and launch the “Xbox Accessories” app. This app is installed by default.

You’ll see your connected controller here, and you can select “Configure” to continue. If you have more than one controller connected at once, you can use the left and right buttons on the directional pad to select the controller you want to configure.

Choose “Button Mapping” on the left side of your screen. You can always come back here and select “Restore Defaults” to restore your controller to its default settings later.

You can remap buttons in two ways. First, you could choose the button you want to remap button from the list at the top-left corner of the screen and then choose the button you want it to act as from the “Map to” box below it.

For example, if you chose “A button” in the top box and “B button” in the bottom box, the A button would function as a B button when you pressed it.

You can also press and hold a button you want to remap, and then press the button you want it to function as when the prompt appears to quickly remap a button.

For example, you can long-press the A button and then tap the B button. The A button would then function as the B button when you pressed it.

A few other options here allow you to swap the left and right sticks to reverse them. You can also swap the triggers, which will make the left trigger function as the right trigger, and vice versa.

The “Invert right stick Y axis” and “Invert left stick Y axis” options allow you to swap the vertical axes of the sticks. In other words, if you activated this option, pushing the stick upwards would have the same effect that pushing the stick downwards normally would. You’d push the stick up to go down and push it down to go up.

If you have an Xbox One Elite controller, you’ll have more options for configuring your controller here.

When you’re finished, select “Done.” You can come back to the Xbox Accessories app to check your custom button mapping settings if you need a reminder of which button functions as which other button.

To reset your changes, select “Configure” in the Xbox Accessories app and then select “Restore defaults.”

PlayStation 4 owners can remap the buttons on their DualShock 4 controllers, too. Nintendo is the odd company out now, as Nintendo’s Wii U doesn’t offer a button-remapping feature.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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