Xbox 360 Controller use with Anki

Aaron's Avatar


10 Jan, 2015 05:14 PM

Hello everyone,

            I've done some searching on various forums (SDN, Anki, etc) and haven't yet found any discussions on doing this specifically so I thought i'd like to share my thoughts and how it's helped me in my studying.

          For a little background I've been a religious Anki user for the past year and a half (since i started medical school in fall 2013) and I can whole heartedly say without Anki I would not have made it this far. Anki is worth it's weight in gold.

         After a long day of studying with Anki and hands splayed across the keyboard (1,2,3,4, and Space) I decided to take a break and play some Xbox. After my break was over I went back to studying and the idea struck me that if i could hook up my xbox controller to my computer I could "play" anki! This would not only make it slightly more enjoyable (or so i tell my self) but also a little more ergonomic in my hands. So I dived into the internet to see what I could do. I have a MacBook Pro and an old wired Xbox 360 controller from many years ago lying around so this is what I used. From what i've read you can use nearly any USB (think xbox 360 or Xbox one) or bluetooth (PS3, PS4) controller. There are a few things you need for this to work.

       1. Mac computer
       2. Any type of video game controller (Wired xbox 360, Wired xbox one, ps3, ps4 (they use bluetooth xbox does not)
       3. A controller driver so the computer can recognize it ( is the one i used and it's excellent and free!)
      4. A button mapping program ( this one is a few bucks on the App Store but for ease of use it's worth it!) others are free but this one is easy to use.
      5. Anki desktop computer program

      Set up is fairly simple once you have everything downloaded. I just installed the controller driver, then installed the joystick mapper, then started mapping the buttons. With joystick mapper they make it fairly easy to do this. The original purpose of this program is so you could play video games meant for keyboard and mouse and map the buttons onto a game controller to make it feel more like a console but the idea for using it with anki is essentially the same. You start by making a new profile for the controller ( I named mine Xbox 360 for Anki). Then you "add a button" on the program. Press the scan icon next to it and then press the button on the Xbox 360 controller that you'd like to use. Then it will ask for the corresponding keyboard button you'd like to map onto the controller. For instance a rough estimate of what my buttons are goes something like this:

Left stick- mouse movement
Right Stick- Scroll wheel (or 2 finger scroll)
Right Trigger= space bar
Right Bumber= Left mouse click
X button= 1
A button = 2
B button = 3
Xbox button= Cmd button
"Back" button = + button (so i can increase the font size of the cards)

These are the major buttons i use every day. I've used this setup many times at home, and at school and its worked great! At my school some of the studying locations have large flat screen tv's and during late nights i've even hooked up my mac to that via HDMI, hooked the 360 controller up and pulled up a comfy chair and "played" anki for hours! While i used a mac and an xbox 360 controller i've seen many instances where you could use another controller ( you just have to get the correct settings/ driver) and i'm sure this is easily accomplished on a Windows computer as well. This is my first post on here so I apologize if it sounds a little scattered or difficult to understand. If you have any questions please feel free to post back and i'll try to clear up any areas.

  1. 1 Posted by David M on 16 Jan, 2015 01:55 PM

    David M's Avatar

    I've been doing this for a while now. I used to use my wired 360 controller and Xpadder, but I'm now using my PS4 controller via bluetooth and DS4Windows. I have a large TV as a second monitor so I can put Anki on there and do reviews from bed with a wireless DualShock 4, which is pretty nice. A strange thing I found recently was that when launching Anki as an administrator the controller would immediately stop working the moment I maximized Anki. This doesn't happen if I just launch it normally.

  2. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:51 PM.

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