Ubuntu – Is it possible to manually define the usable space on the laptop’s trackpad

I have an Asus UX21A ultrabook. It's really sweet in most respects. However, there is one issue which to me is a design flaw, though maybe some people think it's a feature.

The tracking area of the touchpad and the mouse buttons overlap. I suppose some people might think this was a feature, as it means that potentially you could drag the pointer to somewhere and then click without having to lift your finger. But for me, it just ends up that sometimes when I go to click something, the pointer moves just a bit so that it moves off the thing I'm clicking and the click doesn't register. Especially with the high definition screen, where the pixels are small, which sometimes results in some really tiny interface elements.

I'd like to be able to change the area that responds to finger movement so that it is separate from the buttons.

The current effective tracking area is this, outlined in red:

I'd like to change it so that the tracking area is like this, outlined in green:

Is it possibly to manually configure the touchpad's responsive area in this way?

Not sure if this works on all touchpads (I think it should work on Synaptics and ALPS), but you could try and edit your xorg.conf and add

Option "AreaBottomEdge" "XXX"

Option "AreaBottomEdge" "integer"

Ignore movements, scrolling and tapping which take place below this edge. The option is disabled by default and can be enabled by setting the AreaBottomEdge option to any integer value other than zero. Property: "Synaptics Area"

You can also try it live by running synclient in terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) with options:

# synclient -l

to list current options and

# synclient AreaBottomEdge=XXX

to change the settings temporarily. When you find the right XXX edit your xorg.conf.

See also synclient manpages.