Multi touch for any,all synaptics touchpad

Multi-touch became trendy after iphone came up with it. We are seeing many new laptops with multi-touch. At hardware level, there is nothing special that you need, to make multi-touch work. You can also do two-finger scroll and two-finger tap to right/middle click. Also, three-finger tap, but, for me it is very hard to press three fingers at the same time(1 out of 10).

Create new file

gksudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi
Paste the following code into the file and save it.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
   <match key="info.capabilities" contains="input.touchpad">
       <merge key="input.x11_driver" type="string">synaptics</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">On</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" type="string">90</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.VertTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.HorizTwoFingerScroll" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton1" type="string">1</merge>
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton2" type="string">3</merge>  <!--two finger tap -> middle clieck(3) -->
       <merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton3" type="string">2</merge>  <!--three finger tap -> right click(2). almost impossible to click -->
Restart hal and enjoy multitouch touchpad.
sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

Update: Diagnosing your touchpad for multi-finger-sensing-capability

Few people have problem with this not working, while it works for few others. This is posted in ubuntu forums
synclient -m 100
Fifth column in the output f is number of fingers on your touchpad. Put two or more fingers on your touchpad and watch the column. If you see it more than one, this should work for you.


Anonymous said...

Awesome tip, thanks!

Vagif Verdi said...

This is not multitouch. You cannot do pinching, expanding or rotating.

poe9514 said...

This is not working for me. I'm using a Sony VAIO SZ with Ubuntu 7.10. Are you sure that its hardware independent?

Anonymous said...

How about the vertical middle-finger scroll? Touch to grab is an extreme annoyance. Makes negotiating menu's damn near impossible. How well does your mouse work when you never know for sure if or when the left mouse button is going to auto-activate?

How about sensible touch-pad software where the user can turn-off tapping and use the touch-pad the way it was designed for, moving the pointer!

johnH said...

To poe9514, upgrade to 8.10, and make sure you have a Synaptics Touchpad.

To Anonoymos No. 2. click on [system]>[Prefrences>[Touchpad]>[Tapping] and uncheck (untick) the taping enable box. Then the tapping part will be turned off.

Ronan said...

Works perfectly on my laptop.

David L. said...

Worked just right! Thank you very very much!~

Jeremy Sarao said...

Any links on how to add new gestures?

Anonymous said...

Wow this is excellent, thanks. It works like a charm.

monokrome said...

This doesn't even work. You are all crazy.

Beerorkid said...

so happy to have this working.
Scroll works but right click double tap does not. I still have the button for that which is actually better.
Thanks for the tip.

bhaskar said...

Hi Ravi,
Just curious about the dis/advantages, of making /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi versus editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf

On my installation of Ubuntu 8.04 (running on a Compaq Evo N800C, with a Synaptics 5.9 Touchpad) I've enabled two finger scrolling and more via the following edits to /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

insertions to Section "InputDevice"
Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "0"
Option "VertEdgeScroll" "0"

Option "SHMConfig" "on"
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "3"


Anonymous said...

This doesn't work for me on a Dell Inspiron 8600. I remember following these directions, though, to get the graphical configuration working:

So I have more files in there:

/e/h/f/policy> ls
11-x11-synaptics.fdi 20-ntfs-config-read-policy.fdi@ preferences.fdi shmconfig.fdi

Maybe there's a conflict?

Anonymous said...

Two finger scroll works, however, single finger navigation is not so smooth any more.
I think I'll turn this feature off, since I could always use the right edge of the pad to do scroll.

Thanks anyway pal!

Anonymous said...

Or we could try NOT emulating inferior crap like iPhones.

Ortonauta said...

please, how to revert this?? I'm a newbie. My pad is behaving in a strange way and I don't want this.

Bharadhwaj said...

I am using them and now i want to disable the do i that


Sn3ipen said...

If you want to remove this feature after you installed it you have to delete the file you created in step one using this command:

sudo rm /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi

Then type:
sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

Joachim Hansen said...

If you want to remove this feature after you installed it you have to delete the file you created in step one using this command:

sudo rm /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi

Then type:
sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

Timmy said...

@poe9514 It doesn't work on my Vaio PCG-TR3A (running Ubuntu 8.10). Maybe a Vaio thing?

Barrett said...

This works fine on a Synaptics Touchpad 6.7 under Intrepid...but on an Acer 10" netbook, AOD150, Touchpad 7.2, Jaunty, the "f" column sometimes gets stuck on 4 or 5 when synclient is run; also, pointer location and clicks are erratic.

With the 6.7 touchpad, I also couldn't get the right-click functionality; I'm not sure why.

David Erlmeier said...

WOW, this is so awesome, does someone have an idea how to enable multitouch support for windows? I know I shouldn't ask for it but i need windows for my work and I really enjoy this feature and I can't live without it. This Would make coding on the go much easier!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to note not all synaptics touchpads actually support detection of multiple fingers (eg: some HP DV4/5/6/7's) - and as such this won't work for those laptops.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused as to why this isn't working for me. I've got an asus and multitouch works under windows (well, pinch and stretch to zoom in and out at least, not two finger scroll).

When I run synclient I only ever get it detecting one finger :(

nguyenquangtrung said...

If you want to use 2 finger scroll for windows, go to asus website and get the synaptics driver for 1008HA (ver. 13). It worked for me, and I have a 1005HA-PU.

I'm using Jaunty as well and synclient doesn't seem to regconize multi touch, so i haven't dared to proceed with the instructions yet ..... it's really nice to have 2 finger scrolling thou...

schafdog said...

Not working for me on Asus 1005HA (-M matte screen), Synaptics fw 7.2 is detected in the log.

On Ubuntu 9.05 UNE

synclient always reports 1 finger

Anonymous said...

This worked on my HP Pavillion dv 6448se

phwelo said...

just ran across this and tried it, didn't work and so i ran the diagnostic and found that Dell Mini 10v doesn't seem to support multitouch. just an FYI for anyone else in the future looking to do this (i saw it as a possible solution to the terrible terrible touchpad buttons)

Mikko Ohtamaa said...

Here is some information which applies to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala at least.

Please see:

and (tells how to set-up synaptics to support multi-touch emulation if hw support is not present):

Anonymous said...

works fine on hp dv9610us with ubuntu jaunty 9.04

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Just installed Jaunty recently to play around with, and was bummed when finding I couldn't middle click with the touchpad. This worked perfectly 'straight-out-of-the-box', no settings to change, it just works! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

worked on fresh kubuntu karmic install. tks!

Anonymous said...

Use synclient to set the buttons tap in Ubuntu 9.10 on EeePC 1008HA. Middle button is button 2 on this hardware, 3 is right click (different than above).

Setting synclient TapButton2=2 works great. I added that to a script to run every time I log in.

Hope it helps.

Exclusive Media said...

Very nice, thanks for info.

Saxywolf said...

If you are having trouble using 2 or 3 finger click, try spacing your fingers out. It seems to make a huge difference on my hp pavilion dv9000 Ubuntu 9.10

Anyone know how we might do 3 finger slide (or 2 if 3 is not possible) to do ctrl+tab (slide right) or ctrl+shift+tab (slide rleft)?

Anonymous said...

Nope, dosnt work. I got a dell studio xps 16 with a multitouchpad, but it just shows f=1 no matter how many fingers I put on it. Any clue what to do?

Anonymous said...

Don't stop posting such stories. I like to read articles like this. By the way add more pics :)

Anonymous said...

It partially works on my Compaq Evo N1020V with an Synaptic touchpad. The two-finger middleclick works flawlessly and so with the three finger rightclick, but the two-finger scrolling doesn't work.

Term paper said...

Thanks for sharing. I really admire this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing a starting point for fixing this issue for me. :) I found it helpful and useful.

I also wanted to point out that Apple /iPhone did *not* come up with multi-touch. They merely released one of the first widely available devices the average person could obtain.


capleton said...

I used this post in creating a short tutorial on how to enable multi-touch. Check it out here:

Josh said...

Vagif, your understanding of the definition of multitouch is flawed.

Multitouch is simply the ability to recognize multiple points of contact on the touch surface. That is occurring here.

What you are defining as "multitouch" is actually specific gestures which utilize multitouch. Pinch to zoom is one gesture, two-finger scrolling is another. There's a practically infinite number of gestures possible, the fact that some of them aren't used in this case doesn't mean it's "not multitouch."

In short, pull your head out of your Apple.

Tim said...

I have a Gigabyte M1022X netbook with an Elantech Touchpad (not Synaptic). I tried the Karmic NBR and the touchpad is completely dead (not to speak of no multitouch functionality).
Is there any chance of a fix such as you have suggested, but for the Elantech Touchpad?

nickhexxar said...

running 10.4 UNR- doesn't recognise sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart


Anonymous said...

did anyone ever looked at the other columns of the output of synclient and the other params of the driver?

first, it didnt worked for me and synclient always reports 1 finger on the pad, no matter how many i put on there. but then i took a closer look at the other parameters, a very quick glance at the manual and it didnt took me 5mins to get it working.
EmulateTwoFingerMinZ is way too high (and imo not needed if your pad supports multitouch native and you dont have to emulate it ^^) and EmulateTwoFingerMinW is needed if your pad does not support multitouch native. for me Z=50 and W=6 works perfect.
you windo, aehm, ubuntu users should really learn how to proper work on a linux system :P RTFM guys!

Hamza said...

thanks for sharing it with us . i use Xp but i am planning to change my os so i have copied the content in my notepad..

atomic21 said...

hal-device-manager is obsolete

Trey said...

This did improve my touchpad action, but completely ruined my ability to sidescroll. I would've much rather just been able to sidescroll and live with dodgy touchpad. Now I'm having an extremely difficult time figuring out how to revert it back. None of the suggestions in the comments above are working. I'm running Ubuntu 10.10, Dell studio 1558.

Trey said...

This did improve my touchpad action, but completely ruined my ability to sidescroll. I would've much rather just been able to sidescroll and live with dodgy touchpad. Now I'm having an extremely difficult time figuring out how to revert it back. None of the suggestions in the comments above are working. I'm running Ubuntu 10.10, Dell studio 1558.

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Anonymous said...

not working on my laptop.using linux mint maya..multi touch works fine on windows 7 on my lappy.

Anonymous said...

not working on mine too..linux mint maya