Activate Two-Finger Touchpad Scrolling in Debian 10

People who use MacBook frequently are accustomed to scrolling with the two-finger touchpad. They also know how useful two-finger scrolling can be on a laptop. Fortunately, you can use the same feature via Debian on your other laptops, especially if your touchpad is made by Synaptics. If this feature is enabled on your laptop, the touchpad will work the same way when typing and dragging. However, if you drag your two fingers over the touchpad, it will work in the same way as the center wheel of your mouse. This feature helps you scroll through long webpages, documents, and wherever there is a possibility to scroll. The trick is to keep your two fingers apart so the touchpad doesn’t recognize your fingers as one big finger. In this case, the function would obviously not work.

While this two-finger scrolling works well for some, some of you might find it a real annoyance, as it could confuse your current view if you accidentally touch the right side of the touchpad or swipe up and down. While maintaining the personal preferences of all users, Debian has kept this option customizable. You can choose to turn this feature on or off through the preferences tool on the Debian user interface.

In this article we will explain how to enable and disable scrolling with the two-finger touchpad on your Debian touchpad. You can emulate the procedure described in this article on a Debian 10 (Buster) system.

Using the Settings utility to enable/disable two-finger scrolling

The Debian Settings utility lets you make many administrative changes and configurations to the system. One of them is customizing the way your mouse and touchpad behaves.

You can access the Settings either through the Application Launcher search as follows:

Debian Settings

Or, click on the downward arrow located at the top-right corner of your Debian desktop and then click the settings icon from the following view:

Settings menu

The Settings utility opens in the view you were on when you last opened Settings. You need to click on the Devices tab, and then the Mouse & Touchpad in order to make the required configurations.

This is how the Mouse & Touchpad view looks like:

Mouse and Touchpad settings

Alternatively, you can directly launch this view by entering relevant mouse and touchpad keywords in the Application Launcher, as follows:

Mouse & Touchpad

In the Mouse & Touchpad Settings view, try finding the two-finger scroll button under the Touchpad section. By default this button is turned on in my Debian, which means that two-finger scrolling is enabled on my touchpad. Simply turn the button off to disable two-finger scrolling, or turn it on to enable it. Once you do so, your new settings will take effect immediately.

Some people find this feature a blessing, others just find it annoying. So whatever your personal preference, you can use this button in the Preferences utility to play Preferences to turn the feature off or on.