Using a Gaming Controller in Adobe Lightroom (Classic)

Norman Posselt
3 min readFeb 21, 2016


This article is about how I flicked through, flagged, and rated some of my photographs with a game controller in a more ergonomic way when I still used Adobe Lightroom (Classic). I’ll explain that quickly for macOS.

Update | 2023–11–17

I have tested everything running macOS Sonoma; it’s still slick and snappy without any flaws. With the latest Xbox gamepads you won’t need to install any drivers. Same goes for PS5 controllers.

What do I need?

  • Adobe Lightroom (Classic) or any other app that has proper shortcuts that you can re-map
  • Xbox or PlayStation controllers (tested w/ 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS3, PS4, and PS5 controllers)
  • Hardware drivers in case you want to use a Xbox controller or some other fancy devices. Modern controllers like Xbox Series X|S as well as PS3, 4, and 5 controllers do not need special drivers. Everything comes with macOS.
  • Joystick Mapper to re-map shortcuts

If you want to use a modern controller it is straight forward. The only thing you have to do is to pair it with your Mac via Bluetooth.

  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.

Secondly launch Joystick Mapper App and add a new 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

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