How to Enable / Configure Multi-Touch Gestures in Ubuntu 20.04 & Higher

Last updated: August 25, 2021 — 5 Comments

This simple tutorial shows how to enable & configure the multi-touch gestures in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 21.10 using touchegg.

For those running Ubuntu on laptop or PC with external touchpad, multi-finger gestures enable users with more actions to control your system.

Since Ubuntu does not offer a utility to configure multi-touch functions, touchegg is a free open-source tool to enable this feature for you. And it supports for both global gestures or gestures for Firefox, Chromium, Google Chrome only.

Touchegg Enables Touchpad Gestures include:

  • Swipe up, down, left, and right with 3 fingers and/or 4 fingers.
  • Pinch in / out with 2, 3, and/or 4 fingers.
  • Tap with 2, 3, 4, and/or 5 fingers.

Actions you can set for touchpad gesture:

  • Minimize, Maximize, Restore, Close a window.
  • Tile a window.
  • Toggle full-screen.
  • Switch desktop.
  • Show desktop.
  • Execute a command.
  • Specify a keyboard shortcut, e.g., to open terminal, switch workspace, toggle activities overview.

How to Install Touchegg in Ubuntu via PPA:

The software has an official PPA which so far supports for Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20, and higher.

1.) Firstly open terminal from system application launcher and run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:touchegg/stable

Type user password, no asterisk feedback, when it asks and hit Enter to continue.

2.) Next run command to install the touchegg service via command:

sudo apt install touchegg

The service should run automatically once you installed it. To verify the status, run command:

systemctl status touchegg.service

It should show you ‘active (running)‘. If not, try to enable and start the service:

systemctl status touchegg.service && systemctl start touchegg.service

3.) A graphical configuration tool “touche” is also recommended. And you can download the .deb package from the link below:

Then either double-click to install via Software Install, or run command to install the downloaded .deb package:

sudo apt install ~/Downloads/touche_*.deb

Finally restart your system is required to make multi-touch work!

Enable/Configure Multi-Touch Gestures

After restarted your system, launch touche from system app launcher. When it opens, enable one or more finger gestures as you prefer. Then choose an action from the drop-down box.

To simulate a keyboard shortcut, you can type Shift_L, Control_L, Alt_L, Alt_R, Control_L+Alt_L etc in the Modifiers box. For instance, use Super_L to toggle activities overview, plus Page_Down will move to workspace below.

The changes in touche apply immediately. And there’s also Gnome Extension to enable multi-touch gestures on X11. For more, see touchegg on github.

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I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected]

5 responses to How to Enable / Configure Multi-Touch Gestures in Ubuntu 20.04 & Higher

  1. I followed this guide to install on Matebook, had a clean install of Ubuntu. Now I cant boot Ubuntu anymore.

  2. Hello I have a problem. this program does not work. I have followed all the steps, I even installed tocuhé to modify the settings and it did not work.
    do I need permission on touchegg or whatever?

    I use ubuntu 20.04 with X11 and my touchpad is ELand.
    Please, Help…

    • Check if the touchegg service working via:

      systemctl status touchegg.service

      And try to start it, if not running:

      systemctl start touchegg.service
      • Hi, thanks for your response.
        I already tried these commands. and I verified that Touchegg service is running but still does not apply any movement, even though, checking the terminal, when I execute the command “systemctl status touchegg.service” and make a gesture, it sends me ( only in console) a movement detection but very rarely.

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