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Old 09-28-2008, 11:05 AM   #1
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Kubuntu 10.04 (Dell Linux-preinstalled laptop + a desktop); Maemo 5 (N900 phone computer)
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Here's how to disable tap-to-click on laptop touchpads

I find it very annoying that the touchpad on my laptop (the "built-in mouse") treats a tap on the touchpad as the same as a mouse click. Sometimes when I am typing, my thumb will accidentally brush the touchpad; the effect is that I move my mouse cursor to somewhere random and then click it. If I'm in the middle of typing, I might end up typing the second half of my sentence into a different part of the window (or different window). Since there is already a button next to my touchpad for actually clicking the mouse button, the "tap-to-click" function on the touchpad is unnecessary and is begging for accidents.

I found out how to turn off the "tap-to-click" feature. This is part of the X windowing system common to all graphical Linux interfaces. We need to change the file '/etc/X11/xorg.conf'. Here's how to do that on an Ubuntu system (for other systems, switch to root and omit the 'sudo' before the commands):

1. First make a backup copy of the file using the command

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

2. Then edit the file with the command 'gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf'; on a Kubuntu system it would be 'kdesu kwrite /etc/X11/xorg.conf'; or if you like nano, then it's 'sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf'.

Find the section that starts with

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"

After that, the next few lines start with "Driver" or "Option". We need to add these lines to that section (before the line that says "EndSection", of course):

Option "TapButton" "0"
Option "MaxTapMove" "0"
Option "MaxTapTime" "0"

Some people may also want to add:

Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
Option "VertScrollDelta" "0"

I haven't tried those extra two lines, but I guess they turn off the scrolling when you drag along the edge of the touchpad.

That's all! The next time you start the X Windowing System (for example, if you reboot), your changes will take effect. If you want to restart just X without having to reboot, try Ctrl-Alt-Backspace. (It's faster than rebooting but it still kills any programs you see on screen. Save everything; you may lose all your data.)

Optional: If you want to do this more automatically, you can use a short script program that I wrote instead. Type "cat >disable_tap_to_click" on a command line, which will let you enter the program. Then cut&paste the following program, including the first and last lines which start with the '#' character. Then press Ctrl-Z to finish. Then type "source disable_tap_to_click", which will run the script program. (You don't have to type "sudo" since that's already inside the script.) Hope that helps!

Here is the script program:


grep 'MaxTapTime.*0' $ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE
if [ 0 = $? ]; then :
	echo "There is already a TapButton setting in $ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE --aborting. Modify the file manually if you really want to change it."
else :
sed -e '
/ouchpad/,/EndSection/ {
	/EndSection/ i\
	Option 		"TapButton" "0"
	/EndSection/ i\
	Option 		"MaxTapMove" "0"
	/EndSection/ i\
	Option 		"MaxTapTime" "0"
	/EndSection/ i\
	\# Option 		"HorizScrollDelta" "0"
	/EndSection/ i\
	\# Option 		"VertScrollDelta" "0"
	/EndSection/ i\
	\# Sets touchpad so that a tap on the touchpad does NOT mean clicking the mouse button
' <$ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE >xorg.conf.temp
sudo mv xorg.conf.temp $ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE

I found this info at It works for my Dell e1505n laptop running Kubuntu8.04.

Last edited by KWTm; 10-14-2008 at 01:20 AM. Reason: corrected "fruit$ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE" to "$ORIGINAL_CONFIG_FILE" (how did "fruit" get in there!?)
Old 09-28-2008, 12:43 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: BrewCity, USA (Milwaukee, WI)
Distribution: Xubuntu 9.10, Gentoo 2.6.27 (AMD64), Darwin 9.0.0 (arm)
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Wish I had found this a few weeks ago the taping makes no sense when you have mouse buttons. and the horizontal scroll goes back/forward in firefox which is also annoying. I find the vertical scroll nice though I missed not having a scroll wheel on my laptop and it's very convenient.
Old 10-13-2008, 11:39 AM   #3
Henry Higgins
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2008
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Many thanks for this. It's working, or sort of: after booting up it works correctly, but if the laptop (an Apple iBook) is set to suspend, then woken up, tap-to-click is now turned on. Does anyone know how I can completely disable tap-to-click, so it doesn't re-enable itself after a Suspend?
Old 09-10-2009, 10:23 AM   #4
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Registered: Aug 2009
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Debian - Disabling Tap-Click

Doing this for Debian took one more additional step for me. I had to add the line in the above section of xorg.conf:

Option "CorePointer"

I couldn't get it to work without this line.

I think one should also add the following to make sure the touchpad is using the synaptics driver if not already there:

Driver "synaptics"

All the other options you can use with the symantics driver are listed in the "man symantics" page.


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