Scroll to navigation

jscal(1) General Commands Manual jscal(1)


jscal - joystick calibration and remapping program


jscal [options] <device‐name>


jscal calibrates joysticks and maps joystick axes and buttons. Calibrating a joystick ensures the positions on the various axes are correctly interpreted. Mapping axes and buttons allows the meanings of the joystick's axes and buttons to be redefined.

On Debian systems the calibration settings can be stored and later applied automatically using the jscal-store command.


Calibrate the joystick.
Print out a summary of available options.
Specify a button to use to continue. By default, when calibrating axes, any button will cause the position to be read and used for calibration; this option allows a specific button to be chosen instead. This is useful with devices where a single input is used for both an axis and a button.
Sets correction to specified values. For each axis, specify the correction type (0 for none, 1 for "broken line"), the precision, and if necessary the correction coefficients ("broken line" corrections take four coefficients).
Sets axis and button mappings. n_of_buttons can be set to 0 to remap axes only.
Tests if the joystick is correctly calibrated. Returns 2 if the axes are not calibrated, 3 if buttons were pressed, 1 if there was any other error, and 0 on success.
Prints the version numbers of the running joystick driver and that which jscal was compiled for.
Prints the current correction settings. The format of the output is a jscal command line.
Prints the current axis and button mappings. The format of the output is a jscal command line.


Using the Linux input system, joysticks are expected to produce values between -32767 and 32767 for axes, with 0 meaning the joystick is centred. Thus, full‐left should produce -32767 on the X axis, full‐right 32767 on the X axis, full‐forward -32767 on the Y axis, and so on.

Many joysticks and gamepads (especially older ones) are slightly mis‐aligned; as a result they may not use the full range of values (for the extremes of the axes), or more annoyingly they may not give 0 when centred. Calibrating a joystick provides the kernel with information on a joystick's real behaviour, which allows the kernel to correct various joysticks' deficiencies and produce consistent output as far as joystick‐using software is concerned.

jstest(1) is useful to determine whether a joystick is calibrated: when run, it should produce all 0s when the joystick is at rest, and each axis should be able to produce the values -32767 and 32767. Analog joysticks should produce values in between 0 and the extremes, but this is not necessary; digital directional pads work fine with only the three values.


ffset(1), jstest(1), jscal-store(1).


jscal was written by Vojtech Pavlik and improved by many others; see the linuxconsole tools documentation for details.

This manual page was written by Stephen Kitt <>, for the Debian GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others).

May 21, 2022 jscal