Is it possible configure the synaptic inertial scrolling in a way so it is disrupted when any key is pressed on the keyboard?

To explain this question: I often use shortcuts. Now when I am for example browsing the Web and scroll back to the top of a website using inertial scrolling, I zoom the site like crazy if I try to open a new tab with Ctrl+T because the browser only detects Ctrl+scrolling.

This happens in a lot of applications and is really annoying. I used to like inertial scrolling but as long as this problem persists, I have to disable it.

  • Is Strg the same as Ctrl?
    – jobin
    May 17, 2014 at 4:58
  • @Jobin yes, it's the German label. Sorry, I forgot to change it.
    – Mouagip
    May 17, 2014 at 8:44

3 Answers 3


I am afraid this has already been discussed on Xorg and is marked as "Resolved Fixed" but won't be fixed since Xorg won't realize when you press Ctrl and inertial scrolling is still in place. (See Peter Hutterer's comment and its analogy with Ctrl).

So at least until we have Unity 8(when Xorg is replaced with Mir and hopefully we see this as really resolved), we can only have a wordaround rather than a perfect fix or completely disabling inertial scrolling.

One of the fixes I would recommend is to disable Ctrl+scrolling feature in the application itself. This sure is an unclean solution since the problem is still in place but only the effect is removed and you would have to do this for whatever application you most frequently use inertial scrolling.

For disabling Ctrl+scrolling feature in Firefox, type about:config in the address bar and then click on "I'll be careful, I promise!" Now, in the search bar, type mousewheel.with_control.action and double click on the first result and set its value to 1, which would only scroll contents instead of zooming. You can set its value to the following values with the corresponding effects:

  • 0 (disabled)
  • 1 (scroll contents)
  • 2 (go back/forward in your history)
  • 3 (default, zoom in/out)

I'll update the answer if I am able to find a cleaner, better solution.

  • 1
    for Chrome users here's an extension that (most often) handles the issue
    – MInner
    May 8, 2016 at 3:38
  • For LXDE / Openbox users, here is a question that handles the Alt + scrolling "desktop switching madness", which is another symptom of the same underlying issue.
    – tanius
    Feb 2, 2018 at 21:07
  • are there any news on this problem?
    – glS
    Mar 10, 2018 at 21:24

Corner coasting helps! While not a real fix, I found that using the Synaptics driver's CornerCoasting mode instead of the normal (finger-off) inertial scrolling mode helps. Reason: corner coasting mode is active while keeping the finger in the corner and stops immediately when releasing it. While pressing Ctrl during corner coasting still creates the "Firefox zoom madness" problem you describe, I found I am very unlikely to do that while I am actively involved in an action (i.e. with the finger on the touchpad rather than finger-off coasting).

Trying out corner coasting. The following command will set up corner coasting mode:

synclient VertEdgeScroll=1 CornerCoasting=1 CoastingSpeed=1 CoastingFriction=0

VertEdgeScroll=1 is because corner coasting only works with edge scrolling, not with two-finger scrolling. If you like corner coasting at both right and bottom edges, add HorizEdgeScroll=1 to the above line. CornerCoasting=1 enables corner coasting mode. CoastingSpeed is the minimum speed of scrolling during coasting, but that seems also to be the minimum cursor speed to trigger it. So I set it to its minimum to make it easiest to trigger the mode, which else can be tricky (and impossible with something like CoastingSpeed=100). CoastingFriction is a value to let inertial scrolling fade out. We disable it here to keep it going until you lift the finger, different from what is usually desired in finger-off conventional coasting. For more details on these options, see the Synaptics manpage.

Something not mentioned in the manpage: corner coasting is seemingly enabled by swiping from a non-corner edge area into a corner area, and then keeping the finger there. So, corner coasting movement stops if you accidentally lift the finger, for a very short time even, by bumping into / over the touchpad edge. The "move into a corner area" trigger mode also means, corner coasting won't work or will be difficult to trigger if your TopEdge and BottomEdge parameters leave little or no non-corner area at the edge. These are relevant here as the corner areas are defined by the intersections of edge areas. Also, without an accessibly sized right edge area, triggering corner coasting will also be difficult to impossible. For my hardware (ThinkPad X201), I found these values to work well (yours may be different, it takes some experimenting):

synclient RightEdge=4800 TopEdge=2000 BottomEdge=4000

Making corner coasting stick. While synclient is great for testing settings out with immediate effect, they are lost when restarting X. To make them stick, create a /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/51-synaptics-cornercoasting.conf or similarly named config file as described here (it also works in Ubuntu!). For the above case, the content would be:

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "Touchpad tweaks"
    Driver "synaptics"
    MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        Option "VertEdgeScroll" "on"
      # Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "on" # Enable if you want this.
        Option "CornerCoasting" "on"
        Option "CoastingSpeed" "1"
        Option "CoastingFriction" "0"

        Option "RightEdge" "4800"
        Option "TopEdge" "2000"
        Option "BottomEdge" "4000"

And then restart X to see the effect, of course.


Possible substitutes. If you want to disable inertial scrolling altogether because the bug is just too annoying, there are some possible substitutes (not exactly inertial scrolling, but similarly effortless scrolling modes that can be used instead):


  • Sensitive Trackpoint on-button scrolling. This uses a ThinkPad trackpoint (but it can be modified for other trackpoints) for scrolling while the middlemouse button is pressed. This is called "On-Button Scrolling" in the libinput driver, and "mousewheel emulation" in the older evdev driver.

    The idea is here that you set it so sensitive that a tiny bit of constant pressure will scroll through long pages fast. To configure this, please refer to this question, esp. the answer by @htorque that works best with the libinput driver (the default as of Ubuntu 17.10).

Specifically for Firefox:

  • Grab and Drag extension. This provides a kind of inertial throwing / inertial dragging mode, quite similar to two-finger inertial scrolling. Configure it to use the left mouse button, which is the most similar mode to two-finger inert scrolling on a touchpad. Just use one finger with tap-and-hold and then "throw the webpage". This interferes with selecting text of course, but they have a button to disable the extension temporarily.

    The text selection interference is annoying, but configuring it for any other mouse button on a touchpad makes usage very tricky. (For example, with middle click, which can be configured as two-finger click on the touchpad, it would be: tap with two fingers, tap-and-hold with two fingers, lift one finger, then throw motion as above :D).

  • Autoscrolling. See this answer for how to set it up. Also, set up two-finger tapping to create a middle click – in effect just synclient TapButton2=2. Now, a two-finger-click will bring up the autoscroll element in Firefox, and placing the mouse pointer away from it will permanently scroll into that direction until a click. Sadly, moving the pointer has to be done with one finger. (It just does not work with two fingers, even when two finger scrolling is disabled.) And I could not find out how to invert the scroll direction of this feature to be "natural".

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