Note! A newer version of this driver is available from
    git-clone git://

The version below is no longer maintained.

Synaptics TouchPad driver for XOrg/XFree86

Table of Contents

Trouble-shooting guide


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 here. Have a look at the ChangeLog file to see what's new.

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 freshmeat, where you can subscribe to new releases.

Trouble-shooting guide

If you have installation problems, check the trouble-shooting guide 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 distributions.

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 (CONFIG_MOUSE_PS2).

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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:
xmodmap -pp

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
# cd /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
# rpmbuild -bb XFree86.spec
Then change the TOP variable in the Makefile to match the version of XFree86 you are using. In the example above, set
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 information.

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 alphabetical order):

C. Scott Ananian
Giorgio Bellussi
Paul Bender
Jörg Bösner
Henry Davies
Mattia Dongili
Hartwig Felger
Alexei Gilchrist
Stefan Gmeiner
Fred Hucht
Matthias Ihmig
Bruce Kalk
David Kennedy
Rigot Michel
Jonas Norling
Peter Österlund
Justin Quek
Alastair M. Robinson
Dmitry Torokhov

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 utility called gsynaptics.

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 this LKML message might help.

The Synaptics TouchPad Interfacing Guide is available from the Synaptics web site.

An older version of this driver is available from

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mailPeter Österlund