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Minecraft Controls

Basic inputs for how to control your character!

Below information and images are partly taken from and inspired by "Minecraft Guide to Exploration". Get the book here.

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Playing Minecraft means pushing buttons. Sometimes those buttons are on keyboards, sometimes they’re on gamepads, sometimes they’re on a computer mouse, and sometimes they’re virtual buttons on a screen. But to successfully mine and craft, you’ll need to know what buttons to push and when – and that’s what this article is all about.

Below, you’ll find the default control systems for mouse-and-keyboard, gamepad, and touchscreen players. The basic Minecraft controls are pretty much the same between both versions of the game – Bedrock and Java. So unless we mention a difference, you can assume it’ll work the same way on both.

Don’t like the default choices? You have our blessing to change them, and we’ve made it as easy as possible to do just that – visit the options menu and you’ll be able to customize exactly how you interact with Minecraft on your device. If you get confused about how you’ve set things up, there’s also an option in the same menu to restore all controls to default settings.

Mouse & keyboard

Looking and Moving

Playing Minecraft with mouse and keyboard, like many other games, means getting used to looking around with the mouse and moving with the keyboard – sometimes at the same time. If you’ve not used this style of controls before, you might need a bit of practice to navigate the world successfully.

Moving the mouse will let you look around. Try looking straight up at the sky, and then down at your feet, to give you a sense of how far you need to move the mouse.

The W, S, A, and D buttons on your keyboard will move you forward, backward, left and right respectively. Try exploring the area around where you started, avoiding any big holes in the ground for now. Use the spacebar to jump, and if you’re in Creative Mode then you can double-tap the spacebar to begin to fly, and hold it to fly upward.

There are a few other useful movement controls. Press the control key while moving to sprint faster, and press the shift key to sneak (or fly downward in Creative Mode). When you’re sneaking, you won’t be able to walk off edges – so it’s useful when exploring dangerous areas.

Menu and Inventory

Hitting the escape key to bring up the menu. This menu will let you adjust settings, exit the game when you’ve had enough, and do all kinds of other useful things. To get out of the menu, click “Back to Game” with your left mouse button or hit the escape key again.

Press the E key on your keyboard to open up the inventory screen. You can then use your left mouse button to explore it – picking up and then dropping items in other places - like the crafting grid in the top right. When you’re done, either hit the E or the escape key to return to the main view.

Locate a tree near where you’re standing and run up to it. Use the mouse to aim the crosshair at the trunk, and then hold down the left mouse button to start punching it. If you’re in Creative Mode then it’ll break immediately and disappear. If you’re in Survival Mode, then after a few moments of punching, it’ll break and drop onto the ground – or maybe straight into your hand. Walk over it to pick it up if not. 

Once you’re holding something in your hand, like a block of wood, sword, or pickaxe, you can use the left mouse button to attack things with it (including other creatures in the world), or the right mouse to place whatever you’re holding onto the surface that you’re pointing at. Try placing your block of wood on the ground, and then breaking it again.

Items and Fighting

If you want to drop something without placing it, perhaps to give something to another player, you can press the Q key while holding it. Try not to press the Q key while you’re holding a sword and fighting a zombie, because you’ll throw the sword on the ground and need to pick it up again before you can continue fighting.

Any items you’re holding will also appear on your hotbar – and you can use the mousewheel, or keys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 to select which item from your hotbar you’re holding. When your hotbar is full, additional items you pick up will go into your inventory, accessed with the E key.

To use objects in the world – like buttons, chests, crafting tables, and more – aim at the thing with the mouse, and use the right mouse button – often called the “Use” key.

Multiplayer

Finally, in multiplayer, you can press the Tab key to show what other players are on the server. To talk to those other players or type commands, you can press T. This opens the chat window in the bottom-left of the screen, and temporarily stops you from being able to move or look around. Type your message and hit enter to send it to other players on the same server. 

Controller

You can play Minecraft with a controller in several ways. Either on a game console like the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch, or by connecting a controller to a computer or mobile device.

Looking and Moving

If your controller has control sticks, the left one will control where you look, and the right one will control movement. You’ll sometimes want to use both at the same time, so if you’ve not used this style of controls before, you might need a bit of practice to navigate the world successfully.

Try exploring the area around where you started, avoiding any big holes in the ground for now. Use the A button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and X button on PlayStation consoles, to jump. If you’re in Creative Mode then you can double-tap this key to begin to fly, and hold it to fly upward.

There are a few other useful movement controls. Press down the left control stick key while moving to sprint faster, and press the B button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and O button on PlayStation consoles to sneak (or fly downward in Creative Mode). When you’re sneaking, you won’t be able to walk off edges – so it’s useful when exploring dangerous areas.

Menu and Inventory

Once you’re comfortable moving and looking around, hit the Start, Options, or Plus button (depending on your platform) to bring up the menu. This menu will let you adjust settings, exit the game when you’ve had enough, and do all kinds of other useful things. To get out of the menu, select “Back to Game” or hit the Start, Options, or Plus button again.

Press the Y button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and △ (Triangle) button on PlayStation consoles to open up the inventory screen. You can then use your device’s touchscreen if you have one, or your left control stick if not, to explore the inventory – using the A button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and X button on PlayStation consoles to move items around. When you’re done, hit the B button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and O button on PlayStation consoles, to return to the main view.

Similarly, you can use the X button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and □ (Square) button on PlayStation consoles to open up the crafting screen and select what you’d like to craft with your touchscreen or the left control stick.

Locate a tree near where you’re standing and run up to it. Aim the crosshair at the trunk, and then hold down the right trigger on your controller to start punching it. If you’re in Creative Mode then it’ll break immediately and disappear. If you’re in Survival Mode, then after a few moments of punching, it’ll break and drop onto the ground – or maybe straight into your hand. Walk over it to pick it up if not. 

Once you’re holding something in your hand, like a block of wood, sword or pickaxe, you can use the right trigger to attack things with it (including blocks or other creatures in the world), or the left trigger to place whatever you’re holding onto the surface that you’re pointing at. Try placing your block of wood on the ground, and then breaking it again.

Items and Fighting

If you want to drop something without placing it, perhaps to give something to another player, you can press down on your controller’s D-pad. Try not to press this button while you’re holding a sword and fighting a zombie, because you’ll throw the sword on the ground and need to pick it up again before you can continue fighting.

Any items you’re holding will also appear on your hotbar – and you can use the left and right bumpers to select which item from your hotbar you’re holding. When your hotbar is full, additional items you pick up will go into your inventory, accessed with the Y button on Xbox and Nintendo consoles, and △ (Triangle) button on PlayStation consoles.

To use objects in the world – like buttons, chests, crafting tables, and more – aim at the thing with the crosshair, and use the left trigger on your controller – often called the “Use” key.

Multiplayer

Finally, in multiplayer, you can press the back, select, or – key (depending on your platform) to show what other players are on the server. To talk to those other players or type commands, you can press right on your controller’s D-pad. This opens the chat window and temporarily stops you from being able to move or look around. You can also press left on the D-pad to emote.

Touch controls

If you’re using a mobile device, then you can play Minecraft using the touchscreen. There are several control modes available that you can explore through the settings menu, but in this section, we’ll walk you through the basic configuration that loads when you first start the game.

Looking and Moving

Touching the screen and dragging will let you look around the world. Try looking straight up at the sky, and then down at your feet, to get comfortable with how far you need to move your finger.

The joypad in the bottom left of the screen will move you forward, backward, left, and right respectively. Try exploring the area around where you started, avoiding any big holes in the ground for now. Use the button marked with an upward arrow on the right side of the screen to jump, and if you’re in Creative Mode then you can double-tap this button to begin to fly, and hold it to fly upward.

There are a few other useful movement controls. Press the button on the right side with the double arrow to turn on sprint mode and move faster. You can also press the button on the right side marked with a downward arrow to sneak (or fly downward in Creative Mode). When you’re sneaking, you won’t be able to walk off edges – so it’s useful when exploring dangerous areas.

Menu and Inventory

Once you’re comfortable moving and looking around, hit the pause button at the top of the screen key to bring up the menu. This menu will let you adjust settings, exit the game when you’ve had enough, and do all kinds of other useful things. To get out of the menu, tap “Resume Game”.

Press the "..." button on the far right end of the hotbar to open up the inventory and crafting screen. Have a look around, and use the switch in the top bar to control whether you can see things you can’t craft (and their ingredients) or not. When you’re done, hit the X button in the top right to return to the main view.

Locate a tree near where you’re standing and run up to it. Tap and hold on the tree’s trunk to start punching it. If you’re in Creative Mode then it’ll break immediately and disappear. If you’re in Survival Mode, then after a few moments of punching, it’ll break and drop onto the ground – or maybe straight into your hand. Walk over it to pick it up if not.

Once you’re holding something in your hand, like a block of wood, sword or pickaxe, you can tap the screen to attack things with it (including other creatures in the world), or tap a surface to place whatever you’re holding onto that surface. Try placing your block of wood on the ground, and then breaking it again.

Items and Fighting

If you want to drop something without placing it, perhaps to give something to another player, you can tap it in your hotbar and hold for a couple of seconds. Try not to do this while you’re holding a sword and fighting a zombie, because you’ll throw the sword on the ground and need to pick it up again before you can continue fighting.

Any items you’re holding will also appear on your hotbar – and you can tap to select which one you’re holding. When your hotbar is full, additional items you pick up will go into your inventory, accessed with the ... button.

To use objects in the world – like buttons, chests, crafting tables, and more – just tap them.

Multiplayer

Finally, in multiplayer, you can see which other players are on the server on the menu screen. To talk to those other players or type commands, go back to the main screen and press the button at the top with a little speech bubble in it. This opens the chat window, and temporarily stops you from being able to move or look around. Type your message and hit send to send it to other players on the same server. You can also press the emote button in the top centre of the screen to send an emote.

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