How to use a PS5 DualSense controller on PC

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The PS5 DualSense is one of the Sony console’s greatest strengths, so why not use the PS5 controller on PC, too? We think it’s one of the best PC controllers (opens in new tab) thanks to its advanced haptic motors and ‘adaptive’ triggers, which make it feel like no other controller I’ve used beforeā€”at least when playing PS5 games that take full advantage of it. The DualSense is easy to use on PC, and some Sony game ports actually bring those advanced features to life on PC. 

And they’re not alone: some other PC games, such as Deathloop, Metro Exodus and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, also tap into the DualSense’s special features. Thanks to Steam, we can easily use the DualSense controller in virtually any PC game without fussy setup. It just works.

Here’s a quick guide on how to use the PS5 DualSense controller on PC, via either wired USB or a wireless Bluetooth connection.

Connecting: Wired or Bluetooth

How do I use DualSense controller on PC?

Wired

This part of setup is a snap. To connect the controller to your PC via USB, you’re going to need a USB Type-C to USB-A cable for your PC (or a USB Type-C to Type-C cable if you happen to have a convenient port available). While the PlayStation 5 console comes with one packed in, the DualSense sold by itself doesn’t. Bummer! Get your hands on a cable, plug it in, and you’re on your way.

If you need to buy a cable, here’s a two-pack from Anker for $11 (opens in new tab).

Bluetooth

To use the DualSense via Bluetooth, you’ll need a USB Bluetooth adapter (or a motherboard with Bluetooth built-in). To get connected, open the Bluetooth & other devices menu in Windows by pressing the Windows key and typing ‘Bluetooth.’ Then click ‘Add Bluetooth or other device’ and the first item on the next menu that says ‘Bluetooth.’ Your PC will start searching for available devices.

On the DualSense, hold down the PlayStation logo button and the Share button (the small one to the left of the touchpad) until the LEDs around the touchpad begin flashing rapidly. Within a few seconds, ‘Wireless controller’ should pop up in your Bluetooth devices list to connect to. Just click on it to finish pairing.

If you need a Bluetooth adapter, you can get a 5.0 model for less than $20 (opens in new tab).

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The DualSense will now be accessible in Windows with its DirectInput driver, which some games will recognize and let you rebind controls. But many PC games today are built around Microsoft’s newer XInput driver for the Xbox controllers, so the DualSense will be pretty limited without some help. 

That’s where Steam comes in.

Steam setup

How do I setup the DualSense controller in Steam?

Steam added initial support for the DualSense back in November 2020, and has improved support for it since then. Using Steam is by far the easiest way to get your DualSense working on PC, even if you want to use it in non-Steam games.

To start, connect the DualSense to your PC via wire or Bluetooth as described above. Once you have it connected, open Steam and launch Big Picture Mode. You should see the DualSense is now recognized and listed as a PlayStation 5 controller. Steam will automatically configure the keybinds to mimic an Xbox controller layout; the Triangle button is Y, the Square button is X, etc.

You can choose Calibrate to tweak the joystick sensitivity, and Preferences to give the controller a name, enable/disable rumble, and configure the color and brightness of the LED strip around the touchpad.

(Image credit: Steam)

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One important tip here: make sure PlayStation Configuration Support is checked if you want to customize your DualSense controller’s layout or gyro controls. With this button checked, you can press the PlayStation logo button on the controller in any Steam game to pull up Steam’s controller configuration screen.

Reminder: the controller configurator is only available through Steam Big Picture mode.

(Image credit: Steam)

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From this screen you can swap button bindings, change how the touchpad works (it can do separate left- and right-clicks) and also configure the gyroscope, if you want to use gyro aiming. You can also configure Action Sets and Action Layers (opens in new tab) to enable totally different button bindings and then switch to them on the fly in-game. For example, if you only wanted to use gyro controls while in a plane in GTA, you could create an Action Set for that and trigger it by pressing a specific key anytime you hop in a plane.

If you just want your DualSense to work like any ol’ gamepad, though, you can leave this screen alone, no tweaking required.

Non-Steam games

How do I use the DualSense controller with non-Steam games?

If you want to use the DualSense in a game that you own on, say, the Epic Games Store, there’s a solution that should work for just about anything, even emulators. The easy way to do it: Bring Steam back into the picture. Steam has an ‘Add to library’ feature for Windows executables that allows you to add other programs to your Steam library, and then make use of the Steam overlay. 

As you can see in the image above, click the ‘Games’ menu in Steam, then choose the ‘Add a Non-Steam game to my library…’ option to pull up a list of programs on your PC. In most cases, this should allow you to add a game and use a controller with Steam acting as the intermediary.

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DS4Windows is another option

If you prefer to configure the DualSense for non-Steam games without adding those games to your Steam library, wonderful community tool DS4Windows (opens in new tab) added DualSense support. (Shouldn’t it be DS5Windows? Hm, that doesn’t sound quite as good).

To use it, connect your controller to PC via USB or Bluetooth as explained above with DS4Windows open, and you should then be able to customize your keybinds, change the LED and monitor the controller’s battery level. DS4Windows will let you use the DualSense in any PC game with Xbox controller support.

PC game support

What games use the DualSense controller’s features on PC?

You won’t have to use Steam to make the DualSense work in all games. In Windows the DualSense uses the generic DirectInput driver, which some games support out of the box. But most games today use Microsoft’s newer XInput driver, which is where Steam Input really comes in handy. PCGamingWiki keeps a list of games that use the DualSense features, but here are some highlights that support both Adaptive Triggers and haptic feedback:

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition
  • Deathloop
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Genshin Impact
  • Death Stranding
  • F1 22
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo