The Nintendo Switch is a console that supports a wide range of accessories and controllers thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities and the extra USB ports that come included with the Switch dock.
We already talked about some of the accessories you can use with the console, like headsets, but what about keyboards? Can you use them to play a game or write in the chat? Do they work as an additional controller?
Can you use a keyboard with the Nintendo Switch?
You can connect a keyboard to a Nintendo Switch by plugging it or its dongle (if it´s wireless) into the USB ports on the dock. The console will automatically detect the device and allow you to use it to type in the chatbox of games with that functionality (or to add comments to the photos on your album).
You can´t use a keyboard on the Switch to play games like you can on a computer, as it´s not a supported controller. The console will only detect the inputs from the keyboard when there is a chatbox open.
If you have a Bluetooth keyboard that doesn't come with a dongle, then you can´t connect it to the Switch wirelessly. While the Switch does have Bluetooth, it lacks the ability to search for devices that aren´t considered controllers by Nintendo, and keyboards aren´t. If you want to use it, you will have to buy a dongle for your specific brand of wireless keyboard.
All the wired keyboards on the market should work with the Switch, they don´t need to have special firmware, hardware, or anything like that. Wireless keyboards are more finicky, but they should work fine as long as they have a dongle.
There are some special Nintendo Switch keyboards that can be connected to the Joy-Cons, but they usually don´t bring anything new to the table, and they are more expensive to boot, so I recommend you ignore them and use your regular keyboard.
As an aside, you can use a similar trick to connect USB wireless headphones to the Switch.
Can you use a Keyboard with the Nintendo Switch Lite?
The Lite is theoretically capable of detecting keyboards too, but it lacks a dock and its USB ports, so there is no way to connect them directly unless you have a USB-C adapter. If you do, then you can connect the keyboard to the adapter, and then the adapter to the Switch Lite.
Or you can get the Playstand to act as a makeshift dock. If you are interested in using a keyboard on the Lite, then you probably also need to find a way to prop it up on a table to play with it. The stand can then help you in both regards, and it can facilitate connecting a Pro Controller as well, allowing you to have the complete Switch tabletop experience.
Can you use a Keyboard on handheld mode?
Functionally, there is little difference between playing on handheld mode and owning a Switch Lite, so the answer remains the same. You can´t connect a keyboard directly to the Switch in handheld mode as it doesn´t have the USB ports that keyboards use.
Unless, of course, you have the aforementioned USB-C adapter. If you do, you can make it work by plugging the adapter to the bottom of the Switch, and then the keyboard to the adapter.
What´s this about USB port types and adapters?
USB ports are the little holes in electronic devices that let you connect other devices to them. USB-A ports are the most common type and it´s probably what you picture when you think about USB ports at all. The official Nintendo Switch dock has 3 of them, but the console itself has none.
Instead, the Switch has a USB-C port at its bottom. It uses this port to charge up and connect to the dock (and therefore, the TV). The two types, A and C, are normally used by different types of machines and are incompatible unless you have a converter handy.
Which games use the keyboard on the Nintendo Switch?
The Nintendo Switch doesn´t recognize the keyboard as a valid input device to play games, meaning that there isn´t a single title that will let you move around with the wasd and shoot with the joy-con (unless you are willing to spend a lot of time modding your console and configuring your setup like in this video).
So, as much as you´d find it useful, the only thing you can use the keyboard with when you play games like Fortnite, Minecraft, or even Animal Crossing is for typing in the chat. The games that take advantage of this accessory, then, are those with online multiplayer and a chat function like the aforementioned titles, or Overwatch, Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest X, Warframe, but not Splatoon curiously enough.
This function is not exclusive to a keyboard, however. The Nintendo Switch online app also lets you type with your Android or iPhone smartphone on your games as if you were using a keyboard.
However, if you really want to play Fortnite and Overwatch as they were originally intended, with a mouse and keyboard, there is another accessory that you can use. The Switch is compatible with some keypads, which, as we previously mentioned, are basically sawed-off keyboards that only carry the keys necessary to play the game.
So, if you want that experience, consider getting one of the Switch compatible keypads, like the GameSir VX Aimswitch. There aren´t many Switch games in which you can use it, but for the ones that you can, it can give you a great advantage as you'll be playing with basically a mouse and keyboard.
Alternatively, you can try this adapter to try and force the Switch to detect your keyboard as a valid controller. Do note that it doesn´t work with all the keyboards on the market and it does require a bit of setup to use, but if you are desperate for the mouse and keyboard experience, it might be worth a shot.
If you are using a wireless keyboard and feel like there´s a little delay between pressing the buttons and the letters appearing on the game, you might be getting input lag due to electronic interference. Find out how to fix it in our article here.
And that´s it. Hopefully, you found this article helpful. If you want to take a look at keyboards to see which one would work with both the Switch and your PC, go to our collection here! If you want to know if you can use a keyboard on your PS5, check out our page here!