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Speed up your Synaptics touchpad in Ubuntu

The synaptics touchpad found in many Dell machines and others is extremely slow in the default Ubuntu installation. Manipulating the mouse settings in the preferences doesn’t help either, so what to do? Using it when this slow becomes really frustrating in the long run.

Luckily I came across a post by aboe on the Ubuntu forums, which suggested some additional options in the synaptics section of xorg.conf. After trying this out, the touchpad immediately felt snappier and is finally useful!

I have copied the configuration here for reference, if the original post ever disappears.

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Synaptics Touchpad”
Driver “synaptics”
Option “AlwaysCore”
Option “SendCoreEvents” “true”
Option “Device” “/dev/psaux”
Option “Protocol” “auto-dev”
Option “LeftEdge” “130”
Option “RightEdge” “840”
Option “TopEdge” “130”
Option “BottomEdge” “640”
Option “FingerLow” “7”
Option “FingerHigh” “8”
Option “MaxTapTime” “180”
Option “MaxTapMove” “110”
Option “ClickTime” “0”
Option “EmulateMidButtonTime” “75”
Option “VertScrollDelta” “20”
Option “HorizScrollDelta” “20”
Option “MinSpeed” “0.60”
Option “MaxSpeed” “1.10”
Option “AccelFactor” “0.030”
Option “EdgeMotionMinSpeed” “200”
Option “EdgeMotionMaxSpeed” “200”
Option “UpDownScrolling” “1”
Option “CircularScrolling” “1”
Option “CircScrollDelta” “0.1”
Option “CircScrollTrigger” “2”
Option “SHMConfig” “on”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “on”
EndSection

Yes I know, the quotes are converted by WordPress. Sorry about that.

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  1. hi, this is my second day of Ubuntu and have no idea what these instructions mean or what to do with them. would really appreciate if you could please advise step by step. please help. thanks

  2. Thanks a lot! After weeks of frustration I found your solution worked for me finally.I’m going to fwd this to Dell support as well
    Ray
    you have to make the changes in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Also make sure that you are able to access the terminal on the DeskTop since if you make changes that are not compatible your trackpad will stop working so you have to go back and use the terminal via the keyboard to remove some of the options. I added all the options starting from the below (make sure to replace ? with ” )
    Option “LeftEdge” “130?

    @ray