Using a Gaming Controller in Adobe Lightroom (Classic)

This article is about how I flick through, flag, and rate some of my photographs in Adobe Lightroom (Classic) with a game controller in a more ergonomic way. I’ll explain that quickly for macOS.

What do you need?

  • Adobe Lightroom (Classic) or any other app that has proper shortcuts that you can re-map
  • Xbox or PlayStation controllers (tested w/ 360 and PS4 controller)
  • Hardware drivers in case you want to use a Xbox controller or some other fancy devices
  • Joystick Mapper to re-map shortcuts

Firstly you need to install all the apps and drivers. After that your System Preferences should look like this:

System Preferences in macOS with installed Xbox 360 drivers

If you want to use a PS4 Wireless Controller it is straight forward. The only thing you have to do is to pair it with your Mac via Bluetooth. It works with PS3 controllers, too.

  1. Open Bluetooth preference panel in macOS via  → System Preferences
  2. Turn on Bluetooth in the Bluetooth panel
  3. Hold down the Playstation “PS” button and the “Share” button until the light bar of the controller starts blinking rapidly (pairing mode)
  4. Your Mac should quickly detect the controller and and add it to the Bluetooth devices list as “Wireless Controller”. It’s now ready to pair.
  5. Once it has appeared in the devices list permanently, you can close System Preferences and use the controller. You can turn on and off your controller by holding the “PS” button.
Connected PS4 controller via Bluetooth

Secondly launch Joystick Mapper App and add a new preset:

Here are my own presets for Lightroom.
Basic PS4 preset.

Right now everything is ready to flick through your photographs. Just set the profile active and start Lightroom. You’re now able to use the controller as you wish.

If you have any further questions, hints, or comments just let me know. Thank you and have fun! —Norman

Update · 2020–11–23

I have tested everything running macOS 11.0.1; it’s still slick and snappy without any flaws.

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