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How do I enable Middle mouse button emulation in 12.04 LTS? I think it was disabled by default in the last release. I'm sure this is a silly question but I can't find a generic answer, they all seem to be touchpad specific (ie, multi-touch related, which I don't have), or using what I consider not to be normal ubuntu methods (creating xorg.conf file). I'm using xubuntu variant (xfce) on a dell inspiron mini.

I was actually just testing there and if I tap with both fingers at once it brings up a context menu (like right click). Wired I didn't know this trackpad could even tell that there was a two finger tap...

Former behaviour was clicking both touchpad buttons (they are the built in kind) at the same time produced a middle clicck. They no longer do this. I never used a double tap, but the actual buttons.

To clarify I am using a built in Touchpad, not an external mouse. Gpointings detects it as synaptic touch, which I believe is correct

Update- The question @medigeek linked to below let me set a two fingered tap to emulate a middle click, but I still cant click both buttons at the same time

output from synclient is here:

LeftEdge                = 1760
RightEdge               = 5302
TopEdge                 = 1639
BottomEdge              = 4479
FingerLow               = 25
FingerHigh              = 30
FingerPress             = 256
MaxTapTime              = 180
MaxTapMove              = 232
MaxDoubleTapTime        = 180
SingleTapTimeout        = 180
ClickTime               = 100
FastTaps                = 0
EmulateMidButtonTime    = 0
EmulateTwoFingerMinZ    = 282
EmulateTwoFingerMinW    = 7
VertScrollDelta         = 105
HorizScrollDelta        = 105
VertEdgeScroll          = 1
HorizEdgeScroll         = 0
CornerCoasting          = 0
VertTwoFingerScroll     = 0
HorizTwoFingerScroll    = 0
MinSpeed                = 1
MaxSpeed                = 1.75
AccelFactor             = 0.0378931
TrackstickSpeed         = 40
EdgeMotionMinZ          = 30
EdgeMotionMaxZ          = 160
EdgeMotionMinSpeed      = 1
EdgeMotionMaxSpeed      = 422
EdgeMotionUseAlways     = 0
TouchpadOff             = 0
LockedDrags             = 0
LockedDragTimeout       = 5000
RTCornerButton          = 2
RBCornerButton          = 3
LTCornerButton          = 0
LBCornerButton          = 0
TapButton1              = 1
TapButton2              = 3
TapButton3              = 0
ClickFinger1            = 1
ClickFinger2            = 1
ClickFinger3            = 0
CircularScrolling       = 0
CircScrollDelta         = 0.1
CircScrollTrigger       = 0
CircularPad             = 0
PalmDetect              = 0
PalmMinWidth            = 10
PalmMinZ                = 200
CoastingSpeed           = 20
CoastingFriction        = 50
PressureMotionMinZ      = 30
PressureMotionMaxZ      = 160
PressureMotionMinFactor = 1
PressureMotionMaxFactor = 1
ResolutionDetect        = 1
GrabEventDevice         = 1
TapAndDragGesture       = 1
AreaLeftEdge            = 0
AreaRightEdge           = 0
AreaTopEdge             = 0
AreaBottomEdge          = 0
HorizHysteresis         = 26
VertHysteresis          = 26
ClickPad                = 1
RightButtonAreaLeft     = 0
RightButtonAreaRight    = 0
RightButtonAreaTop      = 0
RightButtonAreaBottom   = 0
MiddleButtonAreaLeft    = 0
MiddleButtonAreaRight   = 0
MiddleButtonAreaTop     = 0
MiddleButtonAreaBottom  = 0
share|improve this question
related question:… – medigeek Jul 5 '12 at 22:46
I'll vote this as a duplicate of… -- I've already added my answer there – medigeek Jul 6 '12 at 8:29
up vote 15 down vote accepted

GUI solution

Install the package gpointing-device-settings

Description-en: configuration tool for pointing devices
 GUI tool for setting pointing devices. Currently it can configure mouse type
 device (mouse, trackpoint etc.) and touchpads.
 For mouse you can configure middle button emulation, wheel emulation and
 It can enable and disable touchpad, or scrolling on it as well as additional
 parameters like palm detection, locked drags, tapping and scrolling.
 It is a successor of GSynaptics.

gpointing-device-settings middle mouse button emulation

Console/terminal solution #1

Alternatively, try this:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.mouse middle-button-enabled true

The alternative solution might require the installation of gnome-settings-daemon package.

Console/terminal solution(s) #2

Using synclient command you can view your synaptics touchpad options.

  1. Run synclient and see what variables you have available.
  2. You can set/change the synclient options using this command: syclient var=1 (where var is the variable you wish to change and 1 the value)

    Read the manual page about each variable:

What worked for me

Instead of figuring out how to press both buttons of the touchpad, keep/press two fingers on the touchpad and click on the left click button of the touchpad with a third finger. This emulates a middle button by default.

What worked for the original poster

a) Setting the TapButton variable works for the two fingered tap

b) If you still want to click both buttons and produce a middle button emulation, execute:

synclient EmulateMidButtonTime=100

EmulateMidButtonTime allows you to change the time required to produce a middle button (allowed time period to click both buttons). 100 means 100 milliseconds (ms).

You may set it to even higher values, such as synclient EmulateMidButtonTime=500 (500ms).

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I tried that gpointing-device-settings option already (it was suggested in another question), but it doesn't give me the option to enable emulation. Second option doesn't seem to be working either, is an X restart required? – Rqomey Jul 5 '12 at 22:23
Did you do a clean install using the xubuntu-desktop live cd? gpointings enables middle mouse for mouse devices. What device are you using? Perhaps it's not detected properly? Btw, I'm surprised you need such a feature, nowadays mouse devices have a scroll button which you can click (press down) and that is the middle button essentially. – medigeek Jul 5 '12 at 22:41
gpointings works with my mouse device – medigeek Jul 5 '12 at 22:48
No it was an update from 11.10. It is a touchpad so unfortunately there is no middle button. Gpointings detects it as a syn touchpad (just like the screen above), it gives loads of options just not the emulate one! – Rqomey Jul 5 '12 at 23:04
(1) Run synclient and add the output in your question. (2) Try these solutions:… (3) you can set synclient using syclient var=1 (var the variable and 1 the value). Read the manpage: (4) Try this: Keep two fingers on the touchpad and click on the left click with a third finger – medigeek Jul 6 '12 at 6:57

You can also set the middle mouse button on a triple-finger-tap by calling

synclient TapButton3=2

(Put this in a script and add it to your startup programs)

It is strange, cause there seems to have been a bugreport, that supposed to have been fixed.

source: enable a three finger tap on my synaptic touchpad:

share|improve this answer

I found a nice solution using xubuntu 14.10

(I think this is nice because it doesn't require tap to click to be enabled, I don't like tap to click)

First you need to install xdotool

sudo apt-get install xdotool

Then write a bash script to send the middle mouse click. Your going to want to write something like this


xdotool mousedown 2;
xdotool mouseup 2;

Save it to a filename you'll remember like ""

next change your permissions to the file to make it executable for yourself

chmod u+x 

You can now send a middle click to where ever your mouse is by running this file, in terminal it would be


However, to assign a shortcut to do this, go to Settings > Keyboard and go into the Application shortcuts. Add a new one, point to the file you created and assign a shortcut. you can now use this new shortcut to send a middle click.

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Enable it for all users by changing the default value in /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.gschema.xml:

Look for the key middle-button-emulation that looks like this:

<key type="b" name="middle-button-enabled">
  <summary>Middle button emulation</summary>
  <description>Enables middle mouse button emulation through simultaneous left and right button click.</description>

Change default to true:

<key type="b" name="middle-button-enabled">
  <summary>Middle button emulation</summary>
  <description>Enables middle mouse button emulation through simultaneous left and right button click.</description>
share|improve this answer

I have stolen some area from the right and left buttons on the touchpad using synclient, so that I can have all 3 buttons at the bottom of touchpad:

synclient MiddleButtonAreaTop=4035
synclient RightButtonAreaLeft=3890
synclient MiddleButtonAreaRight=3890
synclient MiddleButtonAreaLeft=3155

I computed the values using the current edges as base:

LeftEdge = 1685

RightEdge = 5361

TopEdge = 1489

BottomEdge = 4409

RightButtonAreaTop = 4035

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