How To Use A Keyboard And Mouse On The Xbox Series X

Typically speaking, PC gaming is associated with the use of a mouse and keyboard while console gamers use a controller. In the same way that a PC gamer can use a controller, the owners of certain gaming consoles — including the Xbox Series X — can use a keyboard and mouse to play games that support those peripherals. That's not terribly surprising, as the Xbox is essentially just a powerful computer.

Setting up a keyboard and mouse on your Xbox Series X is just like setting them up on a gaming PC. Microsoft provides a certain degree of control over how the input is experienced, such as letting users adjust the mouse pointer's speed. However, it's important to note that not all Xbox games support keyboard and mouse gameplay, in which case you'll need to stick to using the controller. A number of big titles do support keyboard and mouse input, though, including the latest "Halo" and "Call of Duty" titles. If a game is available to download and play on a PC, there's a chance it supports a mouse and keyboard on your Xbox Series X.

You'll need a wired USB mouse and keyboard

You can only use a wired mouse and keyboard (no Bluetooth) with the Xbox Series X —and that's not a big deal, as many gamers avoid wireless peripherals due to input lag. Connecting both accessories is as simple as plugging the USB cables into the USB ports on the console. Once that's done, however, you'll want to tweak the settings to make sure the mouse works the way you'd like. As explained in an Xbox support document, you'll need to:

  1. Press the Xbox button on the controller, which you'll need for this.
  2. Open "Profile & system," then head into Settings. 
  3. Within Settings, locate and select the "Devices & connections" menu.
  4. Choose the Mouse option to reverse the primary and secondary buttons if needed and/or adjust how quickly the pointer moves across the screen.

You can't change any of the settings for the keyboard, but you can memorize the relatively lengthy list of keyboard shortcuts that'll help you navigate through the Xbox console and apps faster. Whereas you'd push the Xbox button on the controller to open the guide, you'll need to hit the Windows key to do so using a keyboard. The Windows key is used in combination with other keys to perform common actions, such as Win + I to fire up Settings and Win + X to open any notifications you receive. The full list of keyboard shortcuts can be found on the Xbox support website.

There are some limitations

While it is possible to set up your Xbox Series X as a gaming desktop tower and use it with a keyboard and mouse for a traditional PC gaming experience, there are some limitations compared to using a computer running Windows. In addition to the lack of mouse and keyboard input support in many games, Microsoft explains that users can't interact with parts of the Xbox UI using the mouse — for example, you can't use it when on the Home screen. Also, as noted above, you can only adjust the settings for the mouse input using a controller due to the total lack of mouse support within the Settings menu.

Perhaps not surprisingly, you can use the mouse if you're browsing the web on Xbox using Microsoft's Edge browser, the company says. As noted on the Xbox website, you can do many things within the console version of the web browser, but it's not as robust as the version that exists on Windows — there's no support for extensions, for example, and you can't download anything using it. That's another strike against the Xbox when compared to a proper Windows PC, but whether Xbox gamers actually care about that lack of functionality is another matter.