List of Controls | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

ACNH - List of Controls

This guide lists down all the game controls in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH). Read on to see the basic and useful controls in the game.

List of Basic Controls

ACNH - Joy-Con Controller Diagram by Nintendo Support
These are the basic controls for the entirety of the game in New Horizons.

These controls will differ depending on the mode. For example, there is a different set of controls when using the Camera, or Decorating Mode inside your home.

Control Action
A Interact with characters and objects
Use tool or item
Move furniture (Press and hold A)
B Cancel action
X Open up pockets (Inventory)
Y Pick up item
Left Control Stick Move (Walk/Run)
Right Control Stick Pan Camera (Outdoors)
Rotate Camera (Indoors)
ZL Use NookPhone
R Chat with other players on the island
ZR Use Reactions
Open up the Tool Ring (Unlockable)
← or → Switch between tools
Store tool
- Save and quit game
+ Switch between permits (When using the Island Designer app)
Capture Take a screenshot
Capture the last 30-second gameplay (Press and hold the Capture button)

Useful Controls for Gameplay

Switch Between Tools

ACNH - Tool Ring

Control Action
Open up the Tool Ring (Unlockable)
← or → Switch between tools
Store tool

Use the and directional buttons to easily switch between tools in the order inside your pocket. You can also press to quickly store a tool.

Get the Tool Ring ASAP!

The Tool Ring, as the game says, is essential to the game, as it lets you register up to 8 tools for easy access!
What Should You Spend Nook Miles on First? - Tool Ring: It's Essential

Interact with Item in Pockets

ACNH - A resident tries to put a Modern office chair in storage

Control Action
X Open up pockets (Inventory)
A Use tool or item

Each item has different functions; you can store items, eat fruits, wear flowers, and more!

Check out what you can do with an item by pressing X to open up your inventory, and browsing through your pocket using the left analog stick. Lastly, press A to select the item and see what you can do with them!

Pick up Items

ACNH - A resident picks up a pear

Control Action
Y Pick up Item

If you see an item on the ground, or a piece of furniture, pick it up by pressing the Y button. This will be placed in your inventory.

If you don't have enough space, you will be asked if you want to swap it with another item in your inventory.

Rotate/Pan Camera

ACNH - A resident makes a wish on a shooting star

Control Action
Right Control Stick Pan Camera (Outdoors)
Rotate Camera (Indoors)

Use right control stick outside to pan the camera so you can play from a ground level, or from a bird's eye view. You can use this to see shooting stars at night!

Indoors, you can rotate the camera instead to get a 180° view of a room.

How to Save Progress

ACNH - A player is asked if they want to wrap things up for now and save and end the game

Control Action
- Save and Quit

Safely save and quit your game using the - button. This will take you back to the main menu and is the only way to reliably save your game.

Use Reactions

ACNH - A resident is reacting with laughter

Control Action
ZR Use Reactions

Reactions are fun to use when talking to friends or when taking photos! Once you unlock the Reaction feature, press ZR to open up the Reactions list and use the Reactions you have registered.

You can also press the Y button to see all the Reactions you've learned for you to try!
How to Unlock Reactions

Chat With Other Players on the Island

ACNH - A player uses the onscreen keyboard to chat with friends

Control Action
R Chat with other players on the island

Chat with your friends by pressing R and typing out your message to them! If you miss it, you can always view messages sent through the Chat Log app from your NookPhone!

How to Use Tools

ACNH - NetNet ACNH - Fishing RodFishing Rod ACNH - ShovelsShovel ACNH - AxeAxe
ACNH - SlingshotsSlingshot ACNH - LadderLadder ACNH - Vaulting PoleVaulting Pole ACNH - Star WandWand

List of Tools

How to Use a Net

ACNH - A resident catches a Rajah Brooke

Press A to while holding a net to catch a bug in front of you. However, most bugs disappear when startled, so you can also press and hold A to creep up slowly to a bug and release the button to swing your net.
List of Nets

How to Use a Fishing Rod

ACNH - A resident fishes in a river
When you see a fish shadow in rivers or the sea, hold your fishing rod, and press A in front of the water to cast a line.

Once the fish gets your bait, press A again to reel it in and catch a fish!
List of Fishing Rods

Throw Fish Bait

You can also craft Fish Baits using Manila Clams to spawn fish. Throw bait in front of the water to attract fish.

How to Use a Shovel

ACNH - A resident digs up a fossil
Dig up buried items on the ground like fossils or mushrooms using a shovel. While holding a shovel, press A to dig up a hole.

Use a shovel to bury an item, or plant trees, bushes, and flowers, as well as hit or break rocks with it.
List of Shovels

How to Use an Axe

ACNH - A resident chops a palm tree
The axe is used to gather materials such as wood, softwood, and hardwood from trees. While holding an axe, press A to chop a tree in front of you.

Be careful, though! When hitting a tree 3 times with an axe, you will chop down the tree!

Cannot chop trees Can chop trees
Flimsy Axe Axe
Stone Axe

List of Axes

How to Use a Slingshot

ACNH - A resident aims at a balloon using a slingshot
Use a slingshot to shoot down balloons and get presents! When you see a balloon floating by, take out your slingshot and press A to fire forward.
List of Slingshots

How to Use a Ladder

ACNH - A resident climbs up a cliff using a ladder
While holding a ladder, press A in front of a cliff to go up or down. This is pretty useful if you haven't built any inclines yet.
How to Get the Ladder | Ladder Recipe

How to Use a Vaulting Pole

ACNH - A resident jumps over a river by using a vaulting pole
A vaulting pole is extremely useful when crossing rivers that are not accessible by a bridge. To use it, simply hold the pole, and press A in front of the river to vault across.

How to Use a Wand

ACNH - A resident changes clothes using a wand
A new tool in New Horizons, you can use a wand to transform into outfits! Simply hold the wand and press A to view your registered outfits, and select one to transform into!
List of All Wands

Can Controls Be Changed?

ACNH - Change Button Mapping through the Nintendo Switch System Settings

As of April 13, 2020, the Nintendo Switch V10.0.0 system update added the option to change your controller button mapping. You can see more of the update patch notes on Nintendo's official site.

How to Change Button Mapping

ACNH - Changing the Button Mapping in Nintendo Switch Settings

  1. From the Home screen, open up System Settings.
  2. Go down to Controllers and Sensors, and select Change Button Mapping.
  3. Select the controller you wish to remap.

    This is only compatible with Joy-Con Controllers, Pro Controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Lite.

  4. Remap the buttons inputs you need and you can save it as a preset.

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