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How To Program The Pro Micro (atmega32u4) As A USB Gamepad Controller With Arduino

This tutorial should work on any Arduino Leonardo compatible board like the Sparkfun Pro Micro and the cheaper Pro Micro clones on ebay or Aliexpress with the QFN or TQFP chip package. They’re all the same. I highly recommend the Pro Micro clone in a TQFP package as they are less likely to have shorted pins than the popular QFN package with smaller atmega32u4 chips. I bought hundreds of those TQFP Pro Micros and never had any problem with them while I usually get lots of shorted pins from those QFNs.

You can buy a pre-programmed Pro Micro if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Let’s Get Started (Microsoft Windows):

    1. First, download and install the latest Arduino IDE at
    2. Run the software, create a new file, copy and paste the code from
    3. Now let’s install the Arduino Joystick Library. Download the library. On Arduino IDE, click on Sketch > Include Library > Add .ZIP Library…, browse to the zip file you downloaded and click Open. A message should appear at the bottom telling you that “Library added to your libraries. Check “Include library” menu“.
    4. Plugin in the Pro Micro with a micro usb data cable and let Windows install the device. Take note of the COM port number used by the device (COM9 in this example).
    5. Now on Arduino IDE, click on Tools > Board > Arduino Leonardo.
    6. Click on Tools again, choose Port and the port used by your Pro Micro.
    7. Finally, click the Upload button or press CTR + U to flash/program the Pro Micro. You should see “Done uploading.” at the bottom if it’s successful.

Here’s how to enable Analog Stick support.

Comment below if this tutorial works for you or not.

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11 thoughts on “How To Program The Pro Micro (atmega32u4) As A USB Gamepad Controller With Arduino

  1. Programmed my Pro Micro I bought from EBay with the code above and it works great. Thank you!

  2. Thank you! Great tutorial!

  3. This is what Im getting….

    Arduino: 1.8.4 (Windows 7), Board: “Arduino/Genuino Uno”

    C:\Users\hp\Documents\Arduino\sketch_apr04c\sketch_apr04c.ino:6:22: fatal error: Joystick.h: No such file or directory



    compilation terminated.

    exit status 1
    Error compiling for board Arduino/Genuino Uno.

    This report would have more information with
    “Show verbose output during compilation”
    option enabled in File -> Preferences.

    1. Manually adding the library should do it.

  4. I think they must’ve changed the file structure. I couldn’t add it as a .zip file, because it kept saying it didn’t contain a valid library. But if you unzip it and read the file, it says to copy the Joystick folder to the Arduino\libraries folder (under My Documents). Then when you restart Arduino it sees it as a library and the sketch compiles.

  5. soon as i got my self a propper data cable it worked a charm. Thanks love the boards 🙂

  6. […] Here’s How to Program the Pro Micro with Arduino. […]

  7. Thank you, You saved me a lot of messing around with other code i have found.

    Leonardo Pro micro working as expected.

    One question. Do i need to setup the dpad in any special way or just connect each direction to a free pin?

    I have no need for analogue with my current setup.

    Do I possibly need to modify the joystick.h file ?
    #5 = gamepad.

    1. Just connect the buttons to the pins that were used at the code. Check the pinout guide for pro micro at

      Analog stick is disabled by default.

  8. By adding a micro-controller you eliminate the need to hard wire the controller board to the Pi unit right? So the Pi will see a USB type controller rather than needing to add the retrogame port for GPIO control? Also, can I use a Teensy LC to run this software?

    1. Yes that’s correct.

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