I am using Debian 8.6 LXDE on a Powerbook G4 15" 1.67GHz and would like to enable tap to click on the touchpad. It is already double scrolling but tap to click would help to save the ageing mouse button. Two fingered tap for left click would be the icing on the cake, is this possible?

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Debian Jessie

To enable the touchpad tapping permanently , copy the 50-synaptics.conf file to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d then edit it by adding Option "TapButton1" "1"

cp /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

The /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf should be:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "touchpad catchall"
        Driver "synaptics"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        Option "TapButton1" "1"
        Option "TapButton2" "3"

Reboot your system

Debian Stretch (updated)

Remove the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics package. (important)

# apt remove xserver-xorg-input-synaptics

Install xserver-xorg-input-libinput:

# apt install xserver-xorg-input-libinput

In most cases, make sure you have the xserver-xorg-input-libinput package installed, and not the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics package.

Create the 40-libinput.conf file:

# echo 'Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "libinput touchpad catchall"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Driver "libinput"
        Option "Tapping" "on"
EndSection' > /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-libinput.conf

restart your DM; e,g:

# systemctl restart lightdm


# systemctl restart gdm3

Debian wiki : Enable tapping on touchpad

  • Is it possible to have two finger tap for "right click"? – Simon Baldwin Jan 13 '17 at 22:51
  • @SimonBaldwin see my edit – GAD3R Jan 14 '17 at 10:43
  • Do I have to be 'root' to do this, or can I sudo it from my usual account? – Simon Baldwin Jan 14 '17 at 18:15
  • 2
    I made the directory and it worked, even two finger tap for right click. Thank you! – Simon Baldwin Jan 19 '17 at 14:50
  • 1
    I think you can restart X instead of the whole system. – Rolf Mar 5 at 1:08

In recent systems (2017) as many distros are moving to Wayland, synaptics driver is no longer used. Instead, libinput is used.

To enable tap to click on touchpad using libinput create a file in Xorg config:

$ touch /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-synaptics-overrides.conf

And add the following configuration:

Section  "InputClass"
    Identifier  "touchpad overrides"
    Driver "libinput"
    MatchIsTouchpad "on"
    Option "Tapping" "on"
    Option "TappingButtonMap" "lmr"
  • 1
    +1 as this is the only way to get tap to click working on Debian Stretch. – Kais Oct 20 '17 at 0:10
  • 1
    Worked for me (Debian Stretch, Gnome 3 X11). Also worth noting that it made more options available in Gnome's mouse setting panel (such as tap to click). – Gabriel Devillers Oct 28 '17 at 19:09
  • Upvoted using newly enabled tap-to-click on Debian 9.2. (Though this config did something unexpected to the touchpad's acceleration.) – pdoherty926 Oct 31 '17 at 4:02
  • @pdoherty926 Try adding Option "AccelProfile" flat, to disable pointer acceleration. – Gabriel Molina Oct 31 '17 at 16:50
  • 2
    @Mephisto Try "TappingButtonMap" "lrm" This option is the mapping for 1, 2 and 3 fingers to left, right, middle click. – Gabriel Molina Feb 12 at 21:55

This does the trick for me in similar situation under Debian 8.6 and LXDE:

synclient TapButton1=1

Above works if synaptics touchpad work with Synaptics Driver xserver-xorg-input-synaptics.

If you are working with libinput driver (default driver in many live images):

xinput set-prop 'SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad' 'libinput Tapping Enabled' 1

You can use xinput list-props 'SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad' to see all available properties that can be adjusted for your TouchPad.

  • Yes that works, thank you! Is there a way to make this happen on boot? – Simon Baldwin Jan 13 '17 at 9:58
  • @SimonBaldwin Try to put this line in file /etc/rc.local or to /etc/init.d/rc.local. PS: If you are happy with this answer, don't forget to accept this answer as a solution. – George Vasiliou Jan 13 '17 at 10:43
  • Tried adding to both these files but I still have to enable it manually in the terminal after each boot. Is there any other way of enabling it on boot or login? – Simon Baldwin Jan 13 '17 at 17:19
  • @SimonBaldwin Give a look here : wiki.lxde.org/en/Autostart – George Vasiliou Jan 13 '17 at 23:50
  • @SimonBaldwin for two finger right click try this : $: synclient TapButton2=3 TapButton3=2. Also by running synclient you will see all the options available for touchpad. – George Vasiliou Jan 14 '17 at 0:10

Using debian Stretch 9.5 with xfce desktop environment .

update : /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-libinput.conf

Add this section:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "libinput touchpad catchall"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Driver "libinput"
        Option "Tapping" "on"

Reboot the system and now tapping should work.

  • I did exactly as per the answer (However I created a backup of the file sudo cp /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-libinput.conf{,.bak} before). And it fixed the problems with i3, sddm etc. It's on Debian 9.6. – Ajeeb.K.P Dec 2 at 15:11

On Debian 9.1 (stretch) I ran in the same issue (on an asus laptop). I Used LXDE as George.

If you can't find synclient, install first :

sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics

Then add the following line at the end of ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart:

@synclient TapButton1=1 TapButton2=3 TapButton3=2

Reboot and now you can "tap click" and "two fingers tap - right click"

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.