Friday, January 7, 2011

Configure the Synaptic Touchpad - Enable Multitouch Emulation

Source: The Debian Wiki Synaptics Touchpad Article

Written for Debian Squeeze, for the Dell Mini 9/10v & Vostro A90. The touchpad used in these models do not support multitouch gestures but it can be emulated.

Create an xorg
in a terminal:
sudo Xorg :1 -configure

Download my touchpad configuration file
- it contains all the options available for the synaptic touchpad driver.
- horizontal & vertical scroll, double tap and two finger middle click are enabled.

Copy the contents in my content configuration file into 50-synaptics.conf.
In a terminal:
sudo mousepad /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
- if you do not use xfce replace mousepad with your desktop environment's text editor
- you can edit these values to further configure the touchpad driver to your liking.

Reboot your PC or restart x to apply these changes.
In a terminal:
sudo reboot

To learn what all the options do:
in a terminal:
man 4 synaptics

I don't use two finger Mac-like scrolling but to enable it add these options to your 50-synaptic.conf file:
option     "VertTwoFingerScroll"      "1"     # multitouch
option     "HorizTwoFingerScroll"     "1"     # multitouch


  1. I followed your guide, but my touchpad is still jumpy. I've never successfully made the touchpad work as smoothly on Debian as it runs out of the box on ubuntu or fedora.

    I have the Dell Mini 10v. Does your touchpad on Debian work the same as it does on an Xubuntu install?

  2. Hey, could you please respond to my first comment?

    I'd really like to get my touchpad working properly for Squeeze on my 10v.

  3. Nicolas,

    My touchpad works the same in Ubuntu and Debian. Been using these same settings for years now. Even though the way to configure it has changed since Edgy Eft, the values have not.

    If it's too jumpy for you edit the values. everyone fingers are different sizes and they use different amounts of pressure. My guide is setup for how I like things to work.

    Trial and error are your friend.

  4. redDEAD,

    My touchpad is not just jumpy, it's unusable.

    I have a Dell Mini 10v and when I install Ubuntu or Fedora everything works perfectly out of the box.

    What I'm trying to figure out is how to replicate the touchpad's performance in a Debian install as it is in Ubuntu or Fedora.

    I've explored pretty much every fix.

    Is there anything that you did during the install to make the touchpad usable?

  5. Nope, I just install Debian and reconfigure it according to my guide above. Nothing special. I use a Mini9 and Vostro A90 though.