Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've just came from a Windows system (in fact, I'm dual booting Ubuntu 12.04 and Win7), and in my Firefox installation back then, when I pressed the middle mouse button (mouse wheel), it displayed a circle that I could move the pointer away from to navigate around the page in a 2-dimensional scrolling. In Ubuntu's Firefox, I don't see this behaviour. Is there a way to enable this feature? I beleive it would require a different version of Firefox, because when I search middle in about:config, ot only has


I'm using the canonical release 23.0, by the way.

EDIT: Downloaded a clean install from and nothing changed. Maybe it's a system bug?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

The function you describe is called 'autoscroll' and it's an option you can enable in Firefox. Check the preferences menu, it's in there.

share|improve this answer
Wow, thanks! Strange that this setting didn't sync from my Windows install of Firefox... – Kroltan Aug 11 '13 at 22:20
@Kroltan I'm a bit late, but the reason that it didn't sync is because it was at its default on Windows. if you had explicitly set the option, then it would have sync'd. – strugee Nov 21 '13 at 5:49

It's not a system bug, just one of the ways things are different on Ubuntu (and Linux in general) compared to Windows. Middle-click is used to paste from the xclipboard -- this is distinct from the Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V clipboard you are probably used to. Any text you highlight with your mouse will be available to paste by middle-clicking.

This may not sound useful at first, but it really is -- middle-click paste is one of those small things that I really miss when I have to use Windows.

This is handled by Ubuntu rather than any individual program, so using a different version of Firefox won't help you. I'm sure it is possible to enable the behaviour you're describing, but it would probably be quiet a lot of effort.

share|improve this answer
Oh, what a shame... I would make much better use of a scroll-ball. Thanks for clarifying. – Kroltan Aug 11 '13 at 21:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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