View Full Version : F20/xfce synaptics touchpad, taps and reversed buttons

11th January 2014, 05:22 PM
I have installed F20/xfce in replacement of F17/lxde on my Acer Aspire notebook. I operate the touchpad left handed and have the 'buttons' configured left handed using the xfce Settings - Mouse and Touchpad. To make a one finger tap equal right click and a two finger tap equal left click I can use;

synclient tapbutton1=3
synclient tapbutton2=1

at the command prompt. All then works as expected.

My problem is preserving these settings. I have seen references, including on this forum, to putting the commands into /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf but that is not working for me.

I had this all working under F17/lxde but can't remember how I did it! Whatever I did, it was not via /etc/X11 as I saved a copy of my old /etc before replacing my operating system. There are no synclient commands in there.

Any suggestions would be welcome as I am currently stumped.


12th January 2014, 12:08 AM
You could put the commands in a script and add that script to autostart. Haven't tried it but it should work.

12th January 2014, 10:14 AM
Thanks for the suggestion. I will look at alternatives to configuration within X11 this afternoon (a few hours from now). Meanwhile, a bit more info on the current setup.

I have just looked in Xorg.0.log, after a reboot. The log file includes;

[ 26.906] (**) SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad: Applying InputClass "touchpad catchall"

i.e. correctly referencing the modified 50-synaptics.conf file. Further down in Xorg.0.log there is;

[ 26.933] (**) Option "TapButton1" "3"
[ 26.933] (**) Option "TapButton2" "1"

i.e. the desired parameters apparently being invoked. No indication of errors but they are not operational.


12th January 2014, 06:05 PM
Progress, I believe I have the cause of the problem.

I found a thread on an Ubuntu forum describing the same issue, xorg.conf.d files not being respected. It didn't say so explicitly but they were talking Gnome. The solution described switching off an obscure parameter, with the dconf editor, or something similar.

That made me wonder about editing of xfce settings, for which I found the Settings Editor - to customise settings stored by Xfconf. (I am new to xfce. I downloaded the F20 lxde live CD and was a bit underwhelmed, so thought I would have a change. Good job it's the weekend!).

In Settings Editor, under 'pointers' I found;
Synaptics_Tap_Action, an array of value 0,0,0,0,1,3,2
(Sadly, non editable)

The 1,3,2 screamed at me, values of TapButton1, 2, and 3!

Sure enough, if you use Settings - Mouse and Touchpad, to enable 'Tap touchpad to click', values of 1,3,2 for your TapButtons are squirted into that array. Not so much a bug as a feature, no alternatives are available!

I can implement a work-around, for the moment I will just use a two line script to invoke synclient as required. When time permits I will track down the reporting channels
to xfce.

If anyone wants to reassure me that adopting xfce is a good idea, please go right ahead.

12th January 2014, 06:25 PM
Does the first section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf look like this?

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "TapButton1" "3"
Option "TapButton2" "1"

That's how I've set mine in all versions of Fedora including 20, with different options for "TapButton."

Mine are

Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "2"
Option "TapButton3" "3"

As for selling you on whether or not xfce is a "good idea" it's unlikely that anyone here cares what desktop you use. That's your decision to make.

12th January 2014, 08:30 PM
Revolutionary, I have just come back from the kitchen after doing the washing up. I hope nobody is interested in that!

My /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf is exactly as you have given in your first section of code, above.

The problem is that xfce overwrites my settings. I can show this in real time by;

go into
Mouse and Touchpad
Select tab Touchpad
and toggle option 'tap touchpad to click', off and on

The values as shown by synclient for TapButton1 etc. change as do the values in the non editable array displayed by;

Settings Editor

As far as I can see the xfce Settings Editor does not actually permit you to edit the Tap parameters. Choosing to enable touchpad taps gives one, predefined set of values, regardless of whether you set the buttons to left handed operation.

I'm not sure if you are currently looking at xfce, if not those setup options may not mean much to you. Difficult to explain in a forum post.

I have more domestic tasks to perform so cannot monitor this thread in real time, thanks for the input though, I got frustrated by this but am happier now.


25th March 2014, 09:57 PM
I am in Debian right now and I have the same problem: Xfce doesn't respect xx-synaptics.conf configuration but overwrite it with Xfconf configuration.
The above setting that MartinK has found is the right solution, and despite not being editable in Settings Editor, it can be easily changed in the file ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/pointers.xml (at least that is the path in Debian).

25th March 2014, 10:48 PM
I just looked, F20 / XFCE has the pointers.xml file in the same place as given in the above post.

I now have no need to tweak the file myself. After struggling with configuration of Mouse (actually Touchpad) buttons in XFCE I had a revelation. Just use a two finger tap instead of the second button. That may seem obvious to people who have been using numerous touchpad gestures for years but it had not occurred to me.

I am actually right handed but started using the Mouse left handed years ago after injuring my right wrist. I soon became proficient at this reverse action!

Now I realise, as long as I don't have to highlight a really large block of text, I can forget the buttons. Using a one or two finger tap as appropriate I can operate either left or right handed as the fancy takes me, without the touchpad interfering.

I have observed that I tend to go right handed to things on the right of the screen and left handed to items on the left, but not always.

Users eh? They just won't do what the system designer intended.