Steam Deck runs on Steam OS, a Linux-based operating system. It has two modes, Gaming mode for your game library and Desktop mode for your PC-related needs. Navigating Steam Deck’s desktop mode can be a bit confusing at first, since it does not have a keyboard and mouse like a traditional computer.

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However, navigating in desktop mode on Steam Deck is similar to navigating on a traditional desktop computer, with the added benefit of a touchscreen and touchpad. You can follow the tips below to learn how to navigate in desktop mode on Steam Deck.

Let us get started.

Different Ways to Navigate in Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck

Using the Touch Screen

the touch screen on steam deck

​Steam Deck has a touchscreen so that you can tap icons, menus, and other items on the screen with your finger. Simply touch the screen with your finger to select an item. Double-tap any application with your finger to open it.

Using the Touchpads

the touchpads on steam deck

The touchpad on the right-hand side of the Steam Deck can be used to move the mouse cursor around the screen. Move your finger on the touchpad to move the cursor, and press the touchpad to simulate a left click.

The left touchpad can be used to scroll in desktop mode. Swipe up, down, left, or right to scroll in each direction. To scroll faster, swipe your finger up or down quickly on the touchpad. Note that the touchpad on the Steam Deck can also be used for other gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom.

Using the Triggers

the triggers on steam deck

There are two triggers on the Steam Deck that are generally used to perform certain actions within games. However, in desktop mode, you can use these triggers to simulate a left click by pressing the R2 trigger and a right-click by pressing the L2 trigger.

Using a Keyboard and Mouse

on-screen keyboard of steam deck

The Steam Deck has a built-in keyboard that can be accessed by pressing the STEAM and X buttons simultaneously, and you can use the touchpads as mouse controls.

You can also connect an external keyboard and mouse via USB or Bluetooth. When using an external keyboard, you can use all the keyboard shortcuts you are used to.

Important Components of Desktop Mode on Steam Deck

The Taskbar

the taskbar on steam deck

The taskbar at the bottom of the screen provides quick access to frequently used applications and can be customized to add or remove items. You can click or tap an icon on the taskbar to launch an application or open a window.

The Application Launcher

app launcher

The Application Launcher is accessed by tapping the Steam Deck icon in the bottom left of the taskbar. You can launch applications, access settings, and perform other tasks from the Application Launcher.

The Dolphin File Manager

file manager in steam deck

Dolphin File Explorer is used to navigate and manage files and folders on your Steam Deck. You can open the Dolphin File Manager by tapping on the blue File Explorer icon in the taskbar.

Easy Ways to Navigate in Desktop Mode on Steam Deck

valve logo on back of steam deck

These are just a few tips on how to navigate the Steam deck in desktop mode. As you use it, you’ll discover more ways to interact with the interface and customize it to your liking. Steam Deck is highly customizable, and you can use the desktop mode to your advantage.

You can play games on it when you have time, but if you need to get some quick work done, you can easily do that on the Steam Deck by launching the desktop mode.

I hope you found this information useful. In our guide, you’ll learn how to access Steam Deck’s desktop mode. You’ll also learn how to access your Epic Games library in Steam Deck using Desktop Mode.

Leave your Steam Deck suggestions in the comments below.

FAQs About Navigating in Desktop Mode on Steam Deck

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You can use the touch screen to scroll through the various menu items and lists. The other option is to use the left touchpad, which lets you swipe up, down, left, and right to scroll in desktop mode.

You can use the L2 trigger to right-click in desktop mode. Alternatively, you can press the left touchpad to trigger a right click.

You can press the right touchpad to trigger a left click in desktop mode on Steam Deck. Alternatively, you can use the R2 trigger as a left-click button.

You can use the right touchpad to control the cursor and the left touchpad to scroll. The R2 trigger can be used as the left-click button, and the L2 trigger can be used as a right-click button.

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