Ubuntu – Mousepad is jittery and inaccurate


I am using Ubuntu 13.10 at the moment.

I know this will probably make some people think this has been asked before (I've read similar issues, but nothing I've tried has helped).

So on windows the mousepad seem to track my finger movements perfectly. If I move very slowly down and to the right, it will follow me very slowly: down and to the right.

However on Ubuntu, if I move slowly down and to the right, it seems to randomly jump pixels. Rather than tracking perfectly, every once in a while (quite frequently) it appears to jump like 8 pixels (a small but noticeable amount). This means when I drag slowly down and to the right, it will periodically jump further than it should.

The problem is, this jitter is extremely noticeable when I try to use left click (my mousepad has soft button areas). So when I want to click a link, my thumb touches the mousepad to begin the click, and the mouse jitters, and causes me to click-and-drag a lot, or just completely miss what I was trying to click.

I've tinkered with all of the settings I could find and nothing seems to make any impact whatsoever on this.

Settings I've tried:



xinput on SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad—-

Two-Finger Pressure
Soft Button Areas
Noise Cancellation

The only setting that made ANY impact at all was AreaBottomEdge, but the problem was that it didn't actually do what I wanted to.

So it stops tracking movements on the bottom part of my laptop (ie essentially disabling tracking on the 'soft-button area' depending what I set the value to). However when two fingers are on the trackpad, it still tracks my thumb in that area which causes it to jitter when I try to click.

Any and all help is appreciated. This is driving me crazy.


This seems to be an incredibly common issue on linux with synaptics touchpads.

I'm not sure why nobody has made better drivers. I'm sure it's preventing a lot of notebook users from switching to linux (or at the very least discouraging them).

I suppose I shouldn't complain too much unless I am ready to write those drivers myself. Nevertheless, for an organization like Ubuntu, you'd think somebody would get delegated the task of making the operating system efficiently usable with a touchpad.

Best Answer

You could try enabling noise cancellation. First run xinput to find the id of your touchpad device.

$ xinput
⎡ Virtual core pointer                      id=2    [master pointer  (3)]
⎜   ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer                id=4    [slave  pointer  (2)]
⎣   ↳ SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad                id=13   [slave  pointer  (2)]

As you can see, my id is 13.

To set noise cancellation run

xinput set-prop 13 'Synaptics Noise Cancellation' 30 30

Where 13 is the id of your pointer device. You can vary the numbers 30 30 (they define the sides of the 'noise cancellation box') to find something that suits you.

If this works, you might want set that command to run automatically on login and/or boot. Startup Applications -> Add -> enter the xinput-command in the 'command' text field.

More info: