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12.04 has smooth scrolling enabled for touchpads with GTK. I was wondering if it could be enabled for mouse wheels too? If yes, how? If not, why not? Thanks.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I wish smooth scrolling could be enabled EVERYWHERE, sadly smooth scrolling can not be enabled for mouse wheels because they have "jumps" whereas the scroll input from a touchpad is precise enough to register pixel-for-pixel motion.

To test this out, fire up a terminal and run

xev

Then place the cursor in the window and scroll up and down. You will notice that the key (button 4 and 5) registers output continually as long as you move your fingers. Now scroll with the click-wheel. It will only register once per mouse-wheel click.

Some mouse-wheels do not have distinct "jumps" when rolling but I'll bet that the hardware reads the distance travelled by the roller, and sends jumps just like other mice to insure hardware compatibility.

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you will never detect "smooth scrolling" events with xev. xev is outdated in case of XInput 2 events. what x is doing if it detects "smooth" XI2 scroll events is translating them to the "old" 4/5 Button presses to be consistent with "old" software. cuz of that the "old" xev will only detect 4/5 button presses even in cases of synaptic touchpad "smooth" XI2 events. –  dustin.b 23 hours ago

While true smooth per-pixel scrolling would not work that well with a mouse scroll wheel, having a smooth animation rather than a sudden jump of three lines would be nice.

I don't know of any way to do that globally but in Firefox it is an option under Preferences->Advanced.

For Chromium/Chrome it is currently enabled via a flag by going to chrome://flags.

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Many computer mice use smooth mouse wheels (without clicks). For example, just about any Logitech mouse over $40 has a "frictionless" scroll wheel. The complete possibilities are usually not realized in software, but the hardware is certainly capable — at least in terms of mechanics. Logitech has driver software that handles smooth scrolling on Windows, but I'm not sure how well it works or if it works for every model. These could still have limitations in what information they send to the computer. It would be interesting to know for sure :) –  Dylan McCall Jun 18 '12 at 1:34

Whether or not it's a hardware issue depends on the hardware itself... Logitech provides Windows drivers with smooth scrolling for mice with a "free scrolling wheel" (no jumps, just a wheel scrolling event for every pixel).

It'd be really awesome if I could use my M500 to it's full potential, but xev shows the typical jumps after a certain distance, so it's probably a driver issue. Not sure whom to bother and where to fix that.

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