Microsoft Flight Simulator (Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick Tips)

Using flying sticks are the conventional ways to play Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, gamers often want to experiment with other gadgets like mice and keyboards or console controllers.

So, can you play the Microsoft Flight Simulator with a mouse and keyboard? You can play Microsoft Flight Simulator with a keyboard and mouse, but they may not be a go-to for beginners. Fortunately, there are in-game tutorials that you can check and always refer to as you gain experience.

On the downside, many gamers find these peripherals quite complicated to use since you may have to click up to three keys at once and master all the commands. Secondly, you may not have the same flight simulation experience as other gamers using the native fly sticks and controllers.

If you are wondering what type of controllers you should use when playing Microsoft Flight Simulator, this is the guide you need. It will explain whether you can play the Microsoft Flight Simulator with a mouse and keyboard, with a PS4 controller, if you can play it without a joystick, and what gaming equipment you need to enjoy Microsoft Flight Simulator. Read on for a detailed explanation.

If you are a new or experienced MFS player, you understand the game’s fascinating aspect of taking you directly into a real cockpit. Microsoft Flight Simulator puts your flying skills to the test, and the best part is that you experience everything in real-time. However, can a mouse and keyboard still offer a player the same adventure as a joystick does?

You can play Microsoft Flight Simulator with a mouse and keyboard, but it is pretty complicated, especially for first-timers. Typically, the game has controllers in mind, meaning that any other equipment may not serve the purpose perfectly. However, the game still has room for KB and M and provides control instructions to use them.

Another downside is that these peripheral devices have several keys that may make it hard to learn each command while at the same time controlling the simulator. Even when you get the hang of it, there are still high chances that you may not get the whole sim gaming experience that other controllers offer.

Fans of flight simulator titles cannot get enough of the MFS, explaining why it is gaining a massive following globally. There’s no better way to immerse yourself into a realistic cockpit and have one of the best pilot experiences of gaming.

It is your chance to push your capabilities against weather and aviation traffic in real-time. Therefore, you need a controller that makes it easier to take the challenge, and, so far, the joystick and other controllers have matched up to the task.

On the other hand, gaming PC fans love their mice and keyboards and find them more convenient for gameplay. It is understandable to want the KB and M for MFS if you are among this group, but is it possible?

Fortunately, you can play Microsoft Flight Simulator with a keyboard and a mouse, and the title has made it possible thanks to the dedicated keypad controls. There are instructions for all the commands you can make with the keys making gameplay easier for you. Thus, you can always use your PC components if you don’t have a joystick or console controller. However, the developers designed the game with controllers in mind.

Therefore, using the KB and M may prove challenging, especially if you don’t have experience. Some gamers state that deploying them is pretty complicated and that the experience doesn’t come close to using a joystick.

In other cases, you may not have the same exciting gameplay where you are entirely into the simulation. Additionally, your landings and take-offs may not be effortless because you may not have the delicate movements required.

Another downside is that you will have numerous keyboard keys to work with and remember all the commands. Moreover, it may be challenging to maneuver at any time and still have a hand on the controls. Given the shortcomings involved, I always advocate for the dedicated controllers. If the new ones seem too pricey, you can still go for second-hand gadgets that will serve the purpose.

It is advisable to get a joystick, yoke, controller, or other add-ons like rudder pedals and throttle set for the best gaming experience. Note that while one throttle handle will suffice for a military aircraft, you may need four throttle handles to operate a plane with multiple engines. Your best bet is to choose depending on your experience and preferred aircraft, and, thankfully, you will find in-game tutorials to get you started.

How To Use a Keyboard and a Mouse for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Veteran MFS players have no issues with using mice and keyboards for gameplay. Fortunately, they don’t have to invest in expensive peripheral devices and still enjoy their flight simulation experience. If you are a concerned first-timer uncertain that KB and M may not be the one for you, here’s what you should know.

Microsoft Flight Simulator provides in-game tutorials for beginners depending on their choice controllers. Therefore, you have all the information you need to get started if you keenly follow the instructions.

They are straightforward, extensive, and very flexible for any gamer, and you can quickly get the hang of it the more you keep practicing. Most importantly, you will require a Numpad when taking off, and you may have to click on a few keys according to the commands you need. Note that you may have to tap around three pads at the same time to perform some actions.

There are several commands to take when playing MFS, and, luckily, they are all listed in the in-game beginner’s guide. You only have to master the primary controls then narrow them down to their different versions. For instance, if you want to operate the load custom camera, the key is to click ALT + the camera number (0-9).

On the other hand, the save custom camera will work if you click CTRL + ALT + the camera number. You will click the NUM keys (1-8) for slew or the F1 to F8. There are numerous other controls for your keyboard and mouse, and the game provides everything you need.

Can I Play Flight Simulator Without a Joystick?

It is advisable to make the most of your gadgets in any game as long as they are compatible. Perhaps you don’t yet have a joystick or your current one is not functioning; you may want to know if there are other viable alternatives.

MFS can run even without the native joysticks. You can deploy other peripheral devices like a yoke, similar to an actual plane’s control system. It may be a little less versatile than a joystick, but you will still enjoy your usual gameplay. Alternatively, you can also use a mouse and keyboard, although they have some limitations.

For instance, you may compromise on the smooth control that the joystick offers. Other gamers also find console controllers very comfortable to use, particularly the Xbox gadgets.

A joystick gives you one of the best gaming experiences, unlike other devices. However, some instances will force you to find other workable options. For example, you can use console controllers that allow easy set-up for flight simulation gaming. There are specific standard versions with great features to ease your controls, such as raised thumbsticks that you can use to negotiate the plane’s height.

You can also customize the controller’s hind paddles to control trim, which involves your ascending and descending movements. Using such gear will require you to remain extra vigilant, or else you may lose control. If you are a beginner and want to play MFS, your keyboard and mouse are essential before settling on a flight stick.

On most keyboards, the home and the left arrow keys act as the trim control buttons, while the down arrows serve as the brakes, including other critical command keys. However, a joystick comes in handy as the most efficient gear since you can obtain great control of your plane and use it for other inputs on your PC.

Can You Play Microsoft Flight Simulator With a PS4 Controller?

The Xbox controllers are the most commonly used among MFS gamers. However, you may not have one and are wondering whether a PS4 controller will come in handy.

You can use a PS4 controller for Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you need to make it work like an Xbox controller using a program like DS4. It will make the controller emulate the Xbox’s inputs allowing you to customize it to your preference.

When successful, you can connect the PS4 controller to your PC with a USB cable. When you click on the controls, you will see it pop up, allowing you to remap and make the necessary settings. You can then set up each PS4 key for specific commands during gameplay.

Luckily, you can go without an Xbox controller and use your PS4 gadget. Therefore, MFS lets you fly anywhere and use any device you want. It also supports other controllers and flying sticks.

You only have to connect the PS4 controller to your PC, and it should appear as part of the controls when you click on the options. You should also detach any other controller you were previously using, and the window will automatically detect the PS4 device.

The final step is keypad customization for easy maneuver in the game. You will have to remap the controller’s keys to respective controls. The options include brakes, throttle, power management, flight control surfaces, camera, autopilot, and other essential MFS capabilities. When you are sure that everything is in order, you can apply and save the changes.

For instance, you can set up the right and left shoulders as the up and down throttle and the right and left sticks as the brakes and throttle zero, respectively. Additionally, the right and left sticks maybe the yoke, and the view panning as the circle, square, and triangle can stand in for GPS toggle, heading hold, and the ALT. Besides this, there other several other remaps you can make to set up the PS4 controller.

What Gaming Equipment Do You Need for MFS?

Every game has minimum requirements to run on your device. Similarly, MFS has certain conditions that you must accomplish before installing or playing it on your Gaming PC. Therefore, what are the essential equipment you need for the flight simulator game?

You can take on the game comfortably with a dedicated joystick, yoke, controller, mouse, or keyboard for adequate control. You may also need a powerful gaming PC with the correct system requirements for compatibility with MFS.

For instance, if you use a yoke, you will need a throttle and pedals for braking and maintaining your yaw on the plane. You may also require headsets for audio output and a monitor. There are also upgrades to these tools for a fantastic gaming experience.

Note that the plane type in MFS will determine the control system to use, and, in most cases, you will realize that bigger planes are better off with yoke controllers.

MFS will require a high-performance computer with fast loading time, full-frame rates, and high-resolution graphics starting with your gaming PC. Therefore, a decent gaming PC narrows down to features such as a powerful CPU with at least a core i5 processor, an excellent GPU that can render 3D graphics, a 4K display, and higher frame rates for quality videos.

Generally, it needs a high-speed PC with a dedicated graphics card and super high resolution for an unbeatable gaming experience.

On the other hand, for hands-on control at the cockpit, you’ll require an all-in-one joystick with an in-built throttle. Compared to other controlling devices, a joystick offers an unparalleled, smooth, and realistic feel.

Unlike most devices, it also has programmable buttons that you can easily reach and offer you subtitle control. For commercial planes like the Boeing, the ideal control equipment is a yoke. Compared to the joystick, you can maneuver the aircraft with both hands, giving you a balanced feel even when landing.

Some have in-built timers and over twenty programmable buttons for different functions. The gear may come with the external throttle for specific tasks. Rudder pedals are also essential, although some gamers are not fond of them.

The device is crucial during movements on the runway, and you may also need a standard headset for output or VR headset gear that makes you feel you are part of the game in real-time.


The best part about Microsoft Flight Simulator is that it doesn’t compromise on the realistic cockpit experience. With the proper control gadget, I guarantee that you will have the best flight simulation. Many gamers incline to the native flight sticks since the game’s design has them in mind, and they offer a smooth landing, take-off, and general operation.

However, another group of daring gamers loves delving into the game with unconventional peripheral devices like keyboards and mice. Fortunately, MFS allows you to use them, and there are in-game tutorials to follow if you are a beginner. You may only have to deal with the several control buttons and learn the effective key combinations for commands.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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