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Using a Gamepad Controller for Practicing Flashcards
Using a Gamepad Controller for Practicing Flashcards

Make your practice sessions more fun and comfortable by using a gamepad controller with RemNote!

Andy avatar
Written by Andy
Updated over a week ago

In RemNote you can use a gamepad controller to improve your flashcard practice sessions. A controller is easier on the wrists in comparison to using a keyboard, especially for long practice sessions, and faster than using a mouse.

If your Controller has a Keyboard Mode, using it with RemNote is a straightforward process, however, you can also use any other type of controller by setting up some additional software to convert your inputs.

Connecting a gamepad in Keyboard Mode (8BitDo and others)

Using a Gamepad controller that has a Keyboard Mode (like the 8BitDo branded controllers) is a straightforward process whether you're using RemNote on Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android. When your controller is connected in this mode, each button will send a keyboard key to your device, making it easy to set shortcuts corresponding to those buttons.

To connect a Gamepad in Keyboard Mode, you need to:

  1. Press the syncing button on your Gamepad (this will vary depending on your controller).

    1. Controllers with multiple modes will usually have a specific combination of buttons to turn on each of its modes (For example: to start syncing an 8bitdo controller in Keyboard Mode, you need to press Start+R). Please check your controller’s manual for details on these combinations.

  2. Go to your Device’s Bluetooth Connection Settings and select Add Device.

  3. If you correctly set the gamepad to sync in Keyboard Mode, then you will see a Keyboard Icon with your controller’s name on it in the list of devices.

  4. Connect to your controller.

You only need to do this process once. The next time you use your controller it will automatically connect to your device.

How to configure the controller’s buttons to answer flashcards

With your controller connected in Keyboard Mode, you can now set your shortcuts for answering flashcards to match your controller buttons.

To do that, go to Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts and scroll down to the Flashcard Queue section. There you can press the keyboard icon on the right side to edit, then press the button you want to set to that shortcut in your controller to set its shortcut.

For example: You can set each of the face buttons (ABXY) of the controller to correspond to the 4 rating options: Easily Recalled, Recalled With Effort, Partially Recalled and Again. Note that RemNote provides two sets of shortcuts for the ratings. This makes it easy to keep one set of shortcuts for when using the keyboard, and another set for when using a controller.

The flashcard queue section in the Keyboard Shortcut settings in RemNote. Here you can edit all of your shortcuts.

Alternatively, if your controller has a way to edit its button assignments to specific keyboard keys (not all controllers have this option), then you can edit those buttons to correspond to your already existing shortcuts. For example: you could assign the ABXY buttons to the 1,2,3 and 4 keyboard keys. Please check your controller’s manual to see if it has this functionality.

Other Gamepads

If your gamepad doesn’t have a Keyboard Mode (common video game controllers don’t have it, for example,), you will have to use some other program to convert standard gamepad inputs into keyboard keys. This will vary for each type of device and there are multiple possible workarounds for this.

The following sections are initial directions on some of the common ways to do this using free programs.

Please note that we are unable to provide individual support in case you have issues with these programs.

Setting up a Controller on Windows

On Windows, there are two common ways to set up a Controller that doesn’t have a Keyboard Mode for it to be used on RemNote: Using a JoyToKey or the Steam Controller Overlay.

JoyToKey is a free shareware that allows you to convert gamepad inputs to Keyboard keys.
After installing JoyToKey, refer to this step-by-step guide on how to set it up with your controller: How to use JoyToKey

Steam is a digital storefront for video games. It has an easy to use interface to edit how a gamepad behaves, including options to set keyboard keys for each button, allowing you to use it with RemNote. Their app is free to use, but you need to create an account.

To configure your controller on the Steam App, go to your Steam Settings > Controller > Desktop Layout, and click edit. The Desktop Layout allows you to use your controller in non-game apps, like RemNote!

Setting up a Controller on MacOS

On MacOS, you can use one of these two programs to convert your gamepad inputs to keyboard inputs:

  • Enjoyable is a popular free and open-source app that has the specific purpose of converting gamepad inputs to keyboard inputs. It is simple to install and use.

  • Karabiner is a free and open-source utility for keyboard customization. It is a more general-purpose alternative, allowing you to configure other things besides just converting gamepad inputs to keyboard inputs.

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