Xpadder: Use Your PC Gamepad Instead of Keyboard


Xpadder is a small and simple Windows application that lets you make the most of your gamepad – and it is free!Xpadder has several features. The most basic is that it lets you map keys to your gamepad buttons. I decided to make a tutorial here to connect with the emulator guides. Some obvious uses of Xpadder in this context:

  • Some emulators that don’t support gamepads natively
  • Some emulators that don’t let you redefine the gamepad commands freely (use keys, and remap them any way you want)
  • Use it to map function keys from emulators to extra buttons (e.g. you can map load and save state to shoulder buttons in Genesis games for “quick load” and “quick save”)

Xpadder also lets you map mouse commands to your pad, or map sequences of keys to a single button press. I leave it to you to devise your own uses for these. Personally I’ve been happy to use solely the basic feature; I have used it a lot with freeware windows games that typically don’t support pads natively, and with WinUAE, the Amiga emulator – many Amiga games use keys as the standard joysticks only had one button, and it’s very inconvenient to access these keys when using gamepads (Amiga joysticks were often 1-handed, while pads are 2-handed).

The tutorial

Step 1: Download Xpadder

Go to the official site in the download section, or click here [if we host it] to get it instantly.

Step 2: Extract Xpadder

It’s very simple. Just unzip it where you want to keep the program. It is a single, small file, no installation required. I advise you to make a folder for it though, so you can easily keep your saved profiles.

Step 3: Setup your gamepad(s) – the layout

Run Xpadder by double clicking on it.


You need to configure your gamepad first. Click “New” to do so; you are taken to the Controller editor:

Controller Editor

If you want, you can add a picture in the profile – in the “Image” tab, click open and choose what you want:

Controller Image

There are some such images already prepared in Xpadder’s official site, in the Images section (you might want to check if your gamepad is already there – apparently Xpadder treats that pink color as transparent).

Go into the next tabs to configure the thumbsticks. Unfortunately I cannot test this as my gamepad is digital only. It should be almost as easy as doing the d-pad buttons, in the “Direction pad” tab:

Digital pad

Just check the “Enabled” box (as in the image) and the program will detect and prompt you to press the directions in turn.

You may want to move the directional pad to another location (particularly if you have used an image) – just drag and drop:

Drag and drop to where you want buttons to be

Adding buttons is also very simple. Pressing the buttons on your gamepad makes them appear in the layout:

Adding buttons

This should make it clear why it is helpful to reproduce the layout of your pad – although you can remind yourself what corresponds to each pad button by pressing it on the pad (this is why the last button on the right is different in the image above). Like with the d-pad, you can drag and drop each “button” in the layout at your will:

Buttons laid out

If your pad has analog trigger buttons, the last tab is for that. My pad only has digital triggers, so I needed to add them already (the two top squares).

You can repeat the process for other pads, if you have them, and save to separate controller profiles, switching between them as desired.

Step 4: Setup your profile(s)

With a layout open (See Step 3), assign keys to your pad’s buttons by clicking the corresponding “button” in the profile (e.g. the “up” of the d-pad); an on-screen keyboard pops up:

On screen keyboard

Then, just press the desired key (e.g. the “up” cursor key) on the on-screen keyboard:

Up key assigned to up on the pad

You can remove assignments by clicking the large “NONE” key of the on-screen keyboard:

Removing assignments

The right-most part of the on-screen “keyboard” serves to assign mouse movements to your gamepad – in exactly the same way.

Step 5: Save the assignments for ease of use

Done with all the assignments for a particular profile? Save the profile so you don’t have to do it next time:

Saving profiles

To access them again you can go to “Open” in the menu shown above. You can also quickly and easily swap between profiles you have prepared by clicking the profile line:

Changing profiles quickly

That is pretty much all I wanted to cover with this tutorial. Go download and try this wonderful application (if you really like it, you can drop an e-mail thanking the creator at the official website).

As usual, share your opinions or ask questions in the comments section, or in the forums.



Roswellia says:

OH MY GOD! I am looking for somrthing like this for sucha long long time – this is ONE MORE reason to stay on XP-SP2… 🙂 – everyhting works GREAT – this saved me from buying a40 bucks Bluetooth remote… GREAT!!!

Frizkie says:

Great job. Works awesome, I’m glad there’s mouse support.

Jin Bob says:

Xpadder is amazing… I can play Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and Prey (among others) with my dual-analog gamepad and it works great!!

cod4player says:


im thinking about useing Xpadder but am alittle afraid of messing up my comp or it just not working. and will it also work with cod4 i have a logitech rumble pad 2. thx guys

Macuser says:

Hi, can anyone suggest a good NES emulator for Mac that has native gamepad support? Or otherwise a good gamepad mapping program that works with Mac OS X? I have had problems with both USB Overdrive and Gamepad Companion (though I could just be doing it wrong). Please help!!

cod4player says:


me again just hoping someone can give an answer to my question. ivo im alittile confused about how to work it but i think im going to give it a try. any pointers i should no that might help me make this a little easier

Ben Hickey says:

I’ve been using ControllerMate. It has a limit for how many buttons you can format to other buttons without paying, but it gives you enough buttons to do NES and gameboy just fine.

totalz says:

This is the 1st time I try Xpadder, for Dead Space, which seems to work pretty fine at 1st. I mapped the mouse movement to one of the analog stick. Its movement works fine in game’s menu, but during game play, it becomes up-down-left-right!!! Any work around??

ps3mandem says:

i was using the xpadder to try an configure a ps3 controller but for some reason it thinks that when i map ou tthe right analog stick im always looking right?! wtf

koko-goal says:

guys i wanna play half-life 1 pc version with this tool..i have logitech cordless rumblepad 2………need help here..

Ben says:

How do I get this off my computer?! I searched for it on my comp and there are tons of xpadder things. I want it off my computer (don’t care if those don’t matter) Is there anyway short of highlighting everything and deleting it?

richard bufton says:

I have a logitec chillstream gamepad that i want to use with Call of Duty 5. Will this software work with this game/controller for my vista operating laptop?

Marco says:

Bien el tutorial, pude configurar mi gamepad Logitech para jugar el Super TUX 🙂

Fett says:

How can I assign two keyboard keys to 1 button on my gamepad? Like if I just tap the button my gamepad it will register the C key but if I hold the button it will register the ctrl key? Is this possible? Thanks.

orey says:

how the hell do i get it out of my computer???? tried it, liked it, but now im done with it and want it out of my system.

Z says:

Hello this is an easy setup thanks. this worked fine for aoc for pc. and for just moving around my comp. but when i try it for eq2 (everquest2) and i click on program it wont work what must i do ? thanks

Zach says:

I normally do not take the time to write or post a comment but I wanted to say thank you so much for placing this tutorial online. I have to evaluate 800+ websites with a system of 1-5 in exell (for example navagation 5 site search 3, etc) and my hands were hurting using the keyboard. This will surely increase my productivity!

mike says:

For some reason xpadder like turns off or something when i plaly Crossfire… really aggervating

melvlok says:

Hi all,
don’t seem to be able to configure my belkin n52te with xpadder.
Is it even possible?

Appreciate all helps.

sy says:

hello all
i’m a complete noob and can’t access the xpadder how to guide because of a website editor. as soon as you finish a profile and save, what do you do after to use that profile in the game?

mcduke says:

I’ve actually took apart a microsoft gamepad and made 2 foot pedals with it. I wanted to be able to use one footpedal to control in game voice chat and use the other one for the sprint/steady sniper scope in COD4 and COD5. It simply makes it easier when I don’t have to try and use my fingers for all the different things you can do in those games. It actually worked very well for many months, but for some reason cod4 stopped recognizing it (but it still worked for cod5). Now it’s stopped working in cod5. When I test it out just on the windows desktop it works fine. But once I start either of the cod games now, the games don’t recognized xpadder. Anyone have any idea why. Could it have something to do with punkbuster?

archery says:

I have a similar question that most users have had. After one sets up a profile (and so on), how do get this to work during the gameplay?
It’s kinda funny actually. The mouse emulation works during game play… but nothing else. Anybody have any suggestions?


Alex says:

Hi everyone.

I have downloaded this xpadder, mapped all the buttons accordingly to my 360 wired controller, but I cannot get the games to detect the Xpadder. The games detect my controller when its plugged in, but it does not detect my xpadder profile’s customized controls. The games I’ve tried are GTA San Andreas and Vice City.

Anny help would be greatly appreciated.

Tim Mckeever says:

Hey everyone

im looking to play cod4 with my game pad but its not compatible
this app seems to have solved this problem HOWEVER
im using a mac
was wondering whether any1 knows of an app similar to this but for mac??


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