Disabling Synaptic Touchpad While Typing In Linux

Anyone who uses a laptop with a Touchpad has probably accidentally touched the Touchpad while typing and had the window focus change on screen. It probably isn't a good reflection on the typing posture being used, but until some comes out with a laptop that has a Microsoft Natural Keyboard built in, my posture isn't likely to improve. As I have found out though, it's easy to disable a Synaptic Touchpad while typing. First off open up /etc/X11/xorg.conf (or /etc/X11/XF86Config-4) and find the InputDevice Section that looks like:

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "synaptics"
Identifier "Mouse[1]"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
At the end of this section add:
Option "SHMConfig" "on"
Save the changes and then restart the X server, in my case I just used Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to restart it. Syndaemon then has to be setup in order to tell the driver how long the Touchpad has to remain disabled for after typing. To do this run:
syndaemon -i .1 -d
This will disable the Touchpad while typing and keep it disabled for a tenth of a second after you finish typing. The default, if you don't put in the "-i .1", is two seconds which I found way too long. There are a couple of options to get this running automatically. With Gnome, click on the "System" menu, go to "Preferences" and then "Sessions". In the "Startup Programs" tab, click on "New" and put in "syndaemon -i .1 -d" as the command. It can alternatively be added to the ~/.xinitrc file. Once this is done, syndaemon will run on login, and random touching of the Touchpad while typing should no longer be a cause for annoyance.


I'm in a similar boat. On Mac OSX you can set the trackpad to be disabled when you have a USB mouse plugged in. I wrote a script that does that: http://blog.technomancy.org/2007/05/05/turn-off-the-trackpad/

I usually tend to alternate between both the touchpad and the mouse when I do remember to plug the mouse in, mainly due to habit.

However, Notify Done is after becoming a new resident in my ~/bin

Excellent! Thanks for the tip.
I'm using 0.2 seconds, 0.1 is a bit too short.


Matter of personal preference really. At 0.2, I was noticing a delay when I went to use the touchpad again :)


I went into my /etc/X11/xorg.conf, but could not find the section you described. Are all touchpads "synaptic" touchpads? I have no XF86 file.

Any suggestions?

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This page contains a single entry by Niall Donegan published on May 21, 2007 1:35 PM.

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