Note! A newer version of this driver is available from
The version below is no longer maintained.
Synaptics TouchPad driver for XOrg/XFree86
Table of Contents
This is a driver for the Synaptics TouchPad for XOrg/XFree86 4.x. A
Synaptics touchpad by default operates in compatibility mode by
emulating a standard mouse. However, by using a dedicated driver, more
advanced features of the touchpad becomes available.
The driver has been reported to work on a number of different laptop
computers. Here is the list.
The current version is 0.14.6. Download it
Have a look at the ChangeLog file to
see what's new.
Movement with adjustable, non-linear acceleration and speed.
Button events through short touching of the touchpad.
Double-Button events through double short touching of the
Dragging through short touching and holding down the finger on the
Middle and right button events on the upper and lower corner of
Vertical scrolling (button four and five events) through moving
the finger on the right side of the touchpad.
The up/down button sends button four/five events.
Horizontal scrolling (button six and seven events) through moving
the finger on the lower side of the touchpad.
The multi-buttons send button four/five events, and six/seven
events for horizontal scrolling.
Adjustable finger detection.
Multifinger taps: two finger for middle button and three finger
for right button events. (Needs hardware support. Not all models
implement this feature.)
Run-time configuration using shared memory. This means you can
change parameter settings without restarting the X server.
See the INSTALL file included in the tar archive for detailed
installation instructions. Here is an example
X config file.
This driver has a project page on
where you can subscribe to new releases.
If you have installation problems, check the
for common problems.
Is this free software?
Yes, the source code is released under the GNU General Public License.
When will the driver be included in the XOrg distribution?
This is unlikely to happen because of copyright issues. Although
the GPL license is compatible with the license used by the XOrg X
server, the XOrg project doesn't want to include GPL code in their
source code, because it would effectively make the whole XOrg
project GPL. The synaptics license can't be changed unless all
copyright holders agree to change the license, but previous
attempts to find all copyright holders for the synaptics source
code have failed.
So unfortunately, the best we can currently hope for is that the
synaptics driver is included as a separate package by the major
How do I use this driver with Linux kernel 2.6.x?
You need to have the "evdev" driver loaded or compiled into the kernel
(CONFIG_INPUT_EVDEV). Set the "Protocol" parameter in the X
configuration file to "auto-dev". Also, if you set the "Device"
parameter to "/dev/psaux", the same X configuration file should work
for a 2.4.x kernel.
When configuring the kernel, enable PS/2 mouse support
It still doesn't work with a 2.6 kernel.
Some distributions come with an incomplete /dev directory. The driver
needs the /dev/input/eventX device nodes. Try to create them manually
if they don't exist already. (Look at /proc/bus/input/devices to
figure out how many nodes you need.)
# mknod /dev/input/event0 c 13 64
# mknod /dev/input/event1 c 13 65
# mknod /dev/input/event2 c 13 66
How can I configure tap-to-click behavior?
If you set MaxTapTime=0 in the X config file then the touchpad
will not use tapping at all, i.e. touching/tapping will not be
taken as a mouse click.
If, instead, you set MaxTapMove=0 in the X config file, then the
touchpad will not use tapping for a single finger tap (left mouse
button click) but will for the two and three finger tap (middle
and right button click).
Why did tap-to-click stop working after I upgraded from an old version?
Time is now measured in milliseconds instead of "number of packets".
In practice, this means that if you are upgrading from an old version,
you need to change MaxTapTime and EmulateMidButtonTime to make "tap to
click" work. Good values are 180 and 75 respectively.
Gnome scrollbars scroll too much when using tap-to-click. Why?
The ClickTime parameter is probably too big. Try setting it to 100.
Gnome scrollbars use auto repeat, ie if you press the left mouse
button and keep it pressed, the scroll bar will move until you release
the button. This will lead to problems if the tap time is longer than
the delay before auto repeat starts.
Vertical and horizontal scrolling events are mixed up. How come?
Probably because some X startup/login script uses xmodmap to remap
the mouse buttons. Correct settings for the touchpad are:
xmodmap -e 'pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7'
You can check the current settings by running:
Horizontal scrolling doesn't work in some programs. Is it a driver bug?
No, probably not. Support for horizontal scroll events must be handled
by the application programs. Not all programs do that yet. Ask the
authors of the application in question to implement support for
horizontal scroll events.
You can use the "xev" program to check if the synaptics driver
generates the horizontal scroll events.
If you are having problems with Mozilla, try this link:
Can the driver be used together with gpm?
No, not reliably, if you are using a 2.4.x kernel. The gpm driver and
the X driver both try to read data from the touchpad, and if they try
to read at the same time, both drivers see incomplete data and don't
know how to interpret it.
If you are running a 2.6.x kernel though, there should be no conflict,
because the kernel driver will make sure both user space drivers
receive all events from the touchpad.
How do I compile the driver?
Beginning with version 0.11.8, it should be possible to compile the
driver by simply running "make". This will compile a driver for
XFree86 4.2.x, which will also work for 4.3.x versions of XFree86.
If you have an older version of XFree86, you will need an installed X
source tree. On an RPM based distribution, you can build a suitable
source tree by installing the XFree86 source RPM and compile it. For
example, in RedHat 9, use the following commands:
# rpm -vU XFree86-4.3.0-2.src.rpm
Then change the TOP variable in the Makefile to match the version of
XFree86 you are using. In the example above, set
# cd /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
# rpmbuild -bb XFree86.spec
TOP = /usr/src/redhat/BUILD/XFree86-4.3.0/xc
Can I use this driver with an ALPS Glidepoint device?
Yes, see the README.alps file included in the package for more
The driver says "reset failed" and the touchpad doesn't work. What
can I do?
This problem has been reported for some Compaq models. It's currently
not known why it happens, but removing the reset command from the
driver appears to make it work. If you use a 2.4 linux kernel, replace
the contents of the ps2_synaptics_reset() function in ps2comm.c with a
"return TRUE;" statement. If you use a 2.6 linux kernel, remove the
while loop in synaptics_query_hardware() in the file
drivers/input/mouse/synaptics.c in the linux kernel source code.
Many people have contributed to this driver. Special thanks go to (in
C. Scott Ananian
Alastair M. Robinson
If I've forgotten your name in the list, please accept my apologies
and please let me know so that I can correct the mistake.
I would also like to give a big thanks to all people who have sent bug
reports and other useful comments and suggestions.
Stefan Kombrink has created a GUI configuration utility based on QT
3.2. You can download it from
Markus Müller has created another GUI configuration utility called
LaptopConfig that includes
support for the synaptics driver.
Hiroyuki Ikezoe has written yet another synaptics GUI configuration
Romano Giannetti has written a GKrellM plugin to control the synaptics
touchpad. You can download it from
If you have a Synaptics cPad and want to use this driver, you also
need the Synaptics
cPad Linux driver for kernel 2.6.
If you have an ALPS touchpad and have problems with double taps, the
kernel patch in
LKML message might help.
TouchPad Interfacing Guide is available from the
Synaptics web site.
An older version of this driver is available from
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