You can use this to reverse scroll direction (natural scroll):

xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 5 4 7 6 8 9 10 11 12"

You can also set it back again with xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 8 9 10 11 12"

and this to switch the left and right buttons:

xmodmap -e "pointer = 3 2 1"

And change it back with xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3"

But how do you enable tap to click from command line? Preferably with one command, and not permanently.

By the way, yes I do know this exists:

enter image description here


Xmodmap is of no help here. Xmodmap controls physical-to-logical mappings of buttons and keys, not the physical process that generate events in the first place.

The tool for this kind of options is xinput. The property name depends on your touchpad model, it may be something like

xinput set-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Tap Action" 0

Run xinput list to see the names of available devices and xinput list-props "the device name" to list properties of a device.

See also Dynamic Input Configuration with xinput on the wiki, and some examples.

  • Would I need to restart Unity/Xserver/LightDM to get these to work? – Wilf Jan 9 '14 at 22:02
  • @wilf No, the command takes effect immediately. You can also configure at least some of these settings via a GUI (in which case they'll be applied when your session starts) but I'm not familiar with the GUI. gsettings changes the setting of the GUI interface. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 9 '14 at 22:23
  • Hmmm... 0, 1, "1, 0, 0" don't work with it, but xinput set-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Tap Action" "3" turns tapping into a back button... – Wilf Jan 9 '14 at 22:28
  • Success! xinput set-prop "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad" "Synaptics Tap Action" 11 (might of been that number) seems to work, though it is also working as a back button AT THE SAME TIME. Edit: Whoops, actually, that didn't work - ?!? – Wilf Jan 9 '14 at 22:31
  • with another device name (in my case: "Glidepoint Virtual Touchpad") the action name would be different then? There is no "tap action" shown at all for my device :( – PlasmaBinturong Dec 15 '16 at 14:30

You can use gsettings:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad tap-to-click true  

Which enables tap to click.

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad tap-to-click false

Will disable it. This is the same as changing it in System Settings.

  • Well, doing it with xmodmap could be useful - this is for a battered old netbook with no functioning left click key... but I also thought if I used xmodmap, I could enable it in the login screen as well... – Wilf Jan 9 '14 at 21:29
  • 1
    I'm sure it's not possible @wilf. xmodmap controls physical-to-logical mappings of buttons and keys, not the physical process that generate events in the first place. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 9 '14 at 21:51
  • If it's just the mirror of what's available in the graphical menu, it will not work in case the option is not visible graphically... (I get the error: « org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.touchpad » does not exist) – PlasmaBinturong Dec 15 '16 at 14:38
  • This answer is much preferred over xinput, and if you are using Cinnamon you'll want to adjust accordingly like gsettings set org.cinnamon.settings-daemon.peripherals.touchpad false. – Joe Jun 6 '17 at 15:04

Based on the main answer, given that I had to modify some of the instructions there:

The command to enable tap-to-click is therefore of the form:

xinput set-prop "device" "action" 1

To read the "device" you have to do

xinput list

But it may prove difficult to identify the device in that list. Some tips: it is probably under "Virtual core pointer"; it may contain terms like "Syn", "Synaptics", "Touchpad", "Alps", "Glidepoint". e.g., mine was AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint id=16, but I had to guess; as I was not sure I have tested if that was the correct ID number by disabling/enabling the touchpad with xinput --disable 16 and xinput --enable 16.

Now, to get rid of all the confusing names, ID-numbers can be used instead of the device and action names.

So, to read the "action":

xinput list-props 16

Which listed among others:

    libinput Tapping Enabled (297): 0

So, using ID numbers instead of names, the final command was:

xinput set-prop 16 297 1

Note: for some reason, using the name of the action within the command, as suggested by the main answer, wouldn't work for me (xinput set-prop ""AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint" "Tapping Enabled" 1), while using just the name of the device did work (xinput set-prop "AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint" 297 1).

This command can be useful in systems where there is no GUI for such setting, like in the LXQT that I was testing at the date of the post.

  • Thanks for this detailed answer. – balajeerc Mar 18 '19 at 6:56

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