Nintendo Switch Hero - Version 2

The Nintendo Switch makes it easy to change the button mapping of your controllers and save them to system-wide profiles that work in every game. You can also disable buttons, swap thumbsticks, and change the orientation of your Joy-Con sticks. Here’s how.

Change Button Mapping: Requirements and Features

Starting with Switch system version 10.0.0, players can change the function of each individual controller button on a system-wide basis in System Settings. This process is often called remapping a controller, and Nintendo calls it “Change Button Mapping.” Here’s the low-down on how it works:

  • Change Button Mapping supports three types of controller: Joy-Con (L), Joy-Con (R), and Pro Controller. If a third-party controller simulates one of these three categories, its buttons can be remapped as well.
  • For each of these three controller types, you can save up to five unique custom button mappings.
  • It is possible to disable certain buttons completely (such as screen capture) if they cause annoyance while gaming.
  • The orientation of thumbsticks on Joy-Cons can be switched between vertical and horizontal, allowing one-handed play in games that previously only supported a horizontal Joy-Con orientation.
  • It is possible to swap left and right thumbsticks—a nice accessibility feature for some users who might need to play a certain game one-handed.

RELATED: How to Disable the Screenshot Button on the Nintendo Switch

How to Remap Switch Controller Buttons in System Settings

First, make sure the controller with the buttons you’d like to customize is connected to the Switch. Then launch System Settings by tapping on the gear icon on the Switch’s Home screen.

Nintend Switch: Select System Settings on Home Screen

In System Settings, navigate to “Controllers and Sensors,” then select “Change Button Mapping.”

Select Change Button Mapping on Nintendo Switch

On the Button Mapping screen, you will see a list of attached controllers on the left side of the screen. Select the controller you’d like to modify, then select “Change.”

We are using the Joy-Con (L) as an example here, but the same steps work on all three controller types.

Select Controller to change mapping on Nintendo Switch

You will see a visual diagram of the controller you selected. With the thumbstick, navigate to the highlighted cursor to the button you’d like to customize, then press A.

Select a button mapping to change on Nintendo Switch

A menu will pop up asking you to select a new mapping for the button you selected. You can pick any of the possible button functions or even disable a button completely. Highlight the mapping you want and press A.

Pick a new button function on Nintendo Switch

Back on the Change Button Mapping screen, you will see that the mapping for that button has changed. Repeat the steps above for each button you’d like to change.

From the Change Button Mapping screen, you can also change the stick settings, such as swapping the left and right thumbsticks or changing the thumbstick orientation. Select “Control Stick Settings” and press A.

Change Stick Settings on Nintendo Switch

The following menu will change, depending on which controller you are configuring. On the Joy-Cons and Pro Controller, you will have the option to swap the thumbsticks to function as either the Left Stick or Right Stick. On the Joy-Cons only, you can also change the directional orientation of the stick, which allows you to play horizontal Joy-Con games in a vertical orientation.

Change Joy-Con Orientation on Nintendo Switch

When you are done exploring the stick settings, press B to return to the Change Button Mapping screen. When all of your configurations are complete, select “Done.”

Select Done on Nintendo Switch

A pop-up will tell you that the button mapping has been changed. Select “OK.”

Confirmation of button remapping on Nintendo Switch

Exit the System Settings and play games as usual, or you can save the modified button mapping to recall it quickly later.

How to Save Your Custom Button Mapping to a Quick Profile

If you’d like, you can save your custom button mapping to one of five save slots per controller type.

In System Settings, navigate to Controllers and Sensors > Change Button Mapping. Select the controller with the modifications that you’d like to save, then select “Save Mapping.”

Select Save Mapping on Nintendo Switch

You will be asked to select a numbered save slot. Pick the one you’d like, then hit A.

Select custom button mapping slot on Nintendo Switch

Your custom mapping will be saved, and you can load it again at any time in System Settings from Controllers and Sensors > Change Button Mapping > Button Mapping > Load Mapping.

How to Reset the Controller Mapping

If you want to revert back to the default controller mapping, open System Settings, and navigate to Controllers and Sensors > Change Button Mapping. Select the controller with the modified mapping that you’d like to restore. Select “Reset.”

Select Reset to reset button mapping on Nintendo Switch

At the confirmation dialog that follows, select “Reset” again. Your custom mapping will be completely reset, and the buttons will be back to normal.

If Something Goes Wrong: Nintendo’s Fail-Safe Message

If you have changed your button mapping, when you restart the Switch or return to the home screen from Sleep Mode, you will see a warning message reminding you that your controller’s button layout is different than usual.

If you’re having trouble with the controller layout, tap “Reset Button Mapping” on the Switch’s touchscreen display, and the mapping will reset to default. Otherwise, you can select “Use Without Resetting” to keep your custom mapping active.

Nintendo Switch controller button function has changed failsafe message

Have fun, and happy gaming!

You can also change button mappings on a Sony PlayStation’s DualShock 4 controller and an Xbox One gamepad. You can even remap an Xbox One’s buttons while it’s connected to a PC.

RELATED: How to Remap Buttons on Your PlayStation 4's Controller

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 14 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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