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Linux: Activating the Touchpad for Mouse Clicks (Tap to Click)


Linux supports a wide range of hardware and hardware features. Some of these features are not enabled by default, depending on the distribution. A common example is the activation of touch functionality on laptops. In the example, the Debian derivative Raspbian was installed on an older eeePc 1000h. The hardware was well supported, but Tap to Click was not enabled not on the touchpad.

Solution for Debian 9 “Stretch”

Activating Tap to Click is done in three easy steps.

  1. (if needed) install xserver-org-input-libinput
  2. Configuration of libinput
  3. Restart the Desktop Manager

Installation of missing packages

Some distributions use the Synaptics package in order to provide mouse support. To enable Tap to Click, it is recommended that you use the xserver-xorg-input-libinput package instead of xserver-xorg-input-synaptics.

sudo apt remove xserver-xorg-input-synaptics
sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-libinput  

If not already installed, xserver-org-input-evdev and xserver-org-input-mouse should also be installed.

sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-evdev  
sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-mouse  

Configuration of the touchpad

Next the touchpad is configured. For this, the file 40-libinput.conf with the following content is created in the folder /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d.

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

Depending on the distribution, the directory structure differs. A typical place instead of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ is for many distributions (for example, in many Ubuntu derivatives) /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/

Restart the Desktop Manager

Finally, restart the Desktop Manager.

sudo systemctl restart lightdm


sudo systemctl restart gdm3 

Summary and Outlook

Touchpad configuration is no rocket science. For systems using xserver-xorg-input-libinput, the configuration in the article has been proven useful. For other Debian Derviate, reading the Debian Wiki article on “(fa fa-external-link) Synaptipc’s Touchpad”: is recommended.