Enable Mac OS X style Two Finger Scrolling in Linux with Gnome

I have been using a MacBook Pro at work for the past 6 months. I’m not a huge fan of either the MacBook or Mac OS X. OS X according to me is highly bloated and a very poor unix platform. Try entering a command line option at the end of a command – For eg. ls * -l. Applications are installed in their individual directories and are almost never in the path when one needs to execute them from the command line. However one of the features that I grew to love about MacBook is the multi-touch trackpad, especially the two-finger scrolling. Having shifted to Arch Linux for the past month or so, I had been missing the two-finger scrolling. The trackpad that comes with my Lenovo Thinkpad recognizes multi-touch gestures. So I decided to look up how to get two finger scrolling to work and it was surprisingly simple.

You should install the xf86-input-synaptics package if you don’t have it already.

Step 1 is to update the Xorg Synaptics Configuration. In Arch Linux, this resides at /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-synaptics.conf.

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
  Option "TapButton1" "1"
  Option "TapButton2" "2"
  Option "TapButton3" "3"
  Option "VertEdgeScroll" "on"
  Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "on"
  Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "on"
  Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "on"
  Option "CircularScrolling" "on"
  Option "CircScrollTrigger" "2"
  Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "40"
  Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinW" "8"
  Option "CoastingSpeed" "0"

Step 2: Logout and Login back into your Gnome/Unity Session

Step 3: Open the ‘Mouse and Touchpad’ section under ‘System Settings’ and enable ‘Two-finger scrolling’. Screenshot below.
Two Finger Scrolling in Linux

The above configurations were enough for me to get two finger scrolling to work. Awesome!

The above configuration also enables 2 finger tapping if you have ‘Enable mouse clicks with touchpad’ enabled in ‘Mouse and Touchpad’ settings. A 2 finger tap will result in the right click menu. Not something I use very often.

About Pratik Sinha

Linux Nerd, Socialist, Atheist, Adventuristic, Nature Lover, Geeky.


  1. I’m also using archlinux on a thinkpad x220. To my surprise, it works out of box. I didn’t try to config anything. What I really want to have is the enlarge feature:)

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