Trackpad (touchpad) too sensitive on Ubuntu?

I resurrected a Dell Latitude e6420 a couple of weeks ago after it was kindly donated to me. It just needed some RAM and a Hard Drive and an operating system. I might get around to writing that process up at some point but for the sake of brevity, I’ll cut to the chase.

After installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on it and spending a fair while messing around with it, the final thing I wanted to do was sort out the trackpad/touchpad. It seemed to be far too sensitive (as opposed to ‘fast’), I would be accidentally selecting text on web pages, unintentionally dragging files around and all of that. In fact, it was so sensitive that I could move the cursor around by hovering my finger a few millimetres over it. There’s nothing in the standard Ubuntu GUI to adjust this sensitivity, but there is a command that you can plug into a terminal that sorts it out:

synclient FingerHigh=100

I have mine set to 100, but you can easily run the command again with a different integer value if it doesn’t work for you. The bigger the number, the less sensitive and vice-versa.

There are a lot of parameters you can tweak with synclient – no doubt I’ll be trying some of those out in the future, but for now that fixed most of the issues I’ve been having. Here’s the man page for synclient in case you want to have a go.

Once you’re happy with the way your touchpad is behaving, you’ll need to create a script to make the settings ‘stick’ on reboot. Now, you could follow my steps and export your synclient settings or you could actually copy mine and tweak from there. If you’re a glutton for punishment, in terminal type:

synclient -l > touchsettings

This will dump all the settings to a new file called ‘touchsettings’ – you’ll need to make a load of edits:

nano touchsettings

Then you need to make the format like this (just copy mine!):

synclient LeftEdge=300
synclient RightEdge=1700
synclient TopEdge=210
synclient BottomEdge=1190
synclient FingerLow=12
synclient FingerHigh=100
synclient MaxTapTime=180
synclient MaxTapMove=107
synclient MaxDoubleTapTime=100
synclient SingleTapTimeout=180
synclient ClickTime=100
synclient EmulateMidButtonTime=75
synclient EmulateTwoFingerMinZ=141
synclient EmulateTwoFingerMinW=7
synclient VertScrollDelta=48
synclient HorizScrollDelta=48
synclient VertEdgeScroll=0
synclient HorizEdgeScroll=0
synclient CornerCoasting=0
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1
synclient HorizTwoFingerScroll=1
synclient MinSpeed=1
synclient MaxSpeed=1.75
synclient AccelFactor=0.0819336
synclient TouchpadOff=2
synclient LockedDrags=0
synclient LockedDragTimeout=5000
synclient RTCornerButton=2
synclient RBCornerButton=3
synclient LTCornerButton=0
synclient LBCornerButton=0
synclient TapButton1=1
synclient TapButton2=3
synclient TapButton3=0
synclient ClickFinger1=1
synclient ClickFinger2=1
synclient ClickFinger3=0
synclient CircularScrolling=0
synclient CircScrollDelta=0.1
synclient CircScrollTrigger=0
synclient CircularPad=0
synclient PalmDetect=0
synclient PalmMinWidth=10
synclient PalmMinZ=100
synclient CoastingSpeed=20
synclient CoastingFriction=50
synclient PressureMotionMinZ=15
synclient PressureMotionMaxZ=80
synclient PressureMotionMinFactor=1
synclient PressureMotionMaxFactor=1
synclient ResolutionDetect=1
synclient GrabEventDevice=0
synclient TapAndDragGesture=1
synclient AreaLeftEdge=0
synclient AreaRightEdge=0
synclient AreaTopEdge=0
synclient AreaBottomEdge=0
synclient HorizHysteresis=12
synclient VertHysteresis=12
synclient ClickPad=0

Press ctrl-O to save the file. Then you’ll need to make it ‘executable’ with this command:

sudo chmod u+x touchsettings

Now you’ll need to add it to your ‘Startup Applications’ – this is probably possible via terminal but I did it with the ‘Search your computer’ button in Unity like so:

Open ‘Startup Applications’ and then ‘Add new’:

And that *should* do it…