Print | Rate this content

HP Notebook PCs - Using and Configuring the TouchPad

A TouchPad is a pointing device with a touch-sensitive surface located on the palm rest of the notebook. The right side of the TouchPad typically has a vertical line that denotes a scroll function. Additionally, the TouchPad is usually accompanied by two or more buttons that function as left and right buttons on a conventional mouse pointing device.

Figure 1: Example TouchPad

1 - TouchPad LED
2 - Touch-sensitive area
3 - Left-click button
4 - TouchPad on/off button
5 - Vertical scroll zone
6 - Right-click button

The TouchPad interprets various gestures on its surface as different actions. For example, a two-finger leftward swipe while browsing a web site may take you to a previously viewed page; or, double-tapping the TouchPad while the mouse cursor hovers over a text file may open the file in your default text editor.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the TouchPad, and enable or disable some features and gestures. It may take a little practice to use the TouchPad well.

Common TouchPad gestures

The most commonly used TouchPad actions are gesture-based and provide shortcuts for quickly navigating in and working with windows and files. Depending on the model and software, your TouchPad should perform the following functions.

Slide your finger across the TouchPad to move the mouse cursor on the screen.
Tap the TouchPad once to single-click and twice to double-click the mouse cursor.
To rotate an image or portion of the screen, place two fingers on the TouchPad and then rotate them.
TouchPad rotation only works in those applications that already have a rotate function, such as a photo browser.
To drag-and-drop an item, tap the TouchPad twice to select the item, slide your finger to move it, then lift your finger to release it.
To scroll a window, a screen, or list, tap the TouchPad with two fingers, then swipe them from side to side or up and down. Lift your fingers to stop scrolling.
To zoom-in or -out while working in a window, place two fingers on the TouchPad and move them outward to zoom-in and inward to zoom-out.
TouchPad zooming only works in those applications that already have zoom functions, such as a photo browser or word processor.

Open the TouchPad control panel

The TouchPad control panel is where all configuration options for the TouchPad are located. To open the control panel:

  1. Click Start , enter mouse in the search field, and then select the Mouse control panel program from the search results.

  2. On the Device Settings tab of the Mouse Properties panel, select the Synaptic TouchPad device and click the Settings button.

You can adjust the TouchPad settings for scrolling, buttons, touch sensitivity, edge sensitivity, and gesture actions to suit your personal preferences.

Adjust horizontal and vertical scrolling

The TouchPad features dedicated horizontal and vertical scroll gestures that allow you to scroll inside a program window. These are enabled and pre-configured by default. However, you can customize how each gesture is implemented in the TouchPad control panel.

To adjust the scrolling settings:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Expand the Scrolling category heading.

  3. Select either the One Finger Scrolling or Two Finger Scrolling option. If you are new to using gestures on a pointing device, it is recommended that you only configure one of these two options initially until you get used to using them.

  4. Select Enable vertical scrolling and Enable horizontal scrolling . This allows you to scroll inside a program window by sliding one or two fingers up and down and left and right on the TouchPad.

  5. Configure any other scrolling options until you are satisified with the gesture behavior.

  6. Click OK to close the TouchPad control panel.

Configure the left and right buttons

The TouchPad features dedicated left- and right-click buttons that give you the same functionality as the buttons on an external pointing device. These are enabled and pre-configured by default. However, you can customize how each button behaves in the TouchPad control panel.

To configure the left and right buttons:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Expand the Buttons category heading.

  3. Select either the Left Button Action or Right Button Action option and the change the action associated with it.

  4. Click OK to close the TouchPad control panel.

Adjust single- and double-tapping

The TouchPad features dedicated single- and double-tap gestures that mimic the single- and double-click behaviors on an external poiint device. You can also tap and drag an item in the same way as you click and hold the left button on an external pointing device to drag an item around the screen. These behaviors are enabled and pre-configured by default. You can customize how tapping is implemented in the TouchPad control panel.

To adjust the tap settings:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Expand the Tapping category heading.

  3. Select either the Tap and Drag or Tap Zones option and the change the actions associated with it. Tap Zones allow you to configure each corner of the TouchPad to function as separate button; when a specific corner is tapped, the action associated with it is implemented.

  4. Click OK to close the TouchPad control panel.

Adjust touch sensitivity

The Touch Sensitivity options allow you to adjust the responsiveness of the TouchPad to the pressure of your finger. If the cursor jumps while you type on the keyboard, or when your finger or palm accidently brushes the TouchPad, then the sensitivity setting is too light and you can decrease it to correct this issue. If the cursor does not move smoothly unless you press a finger firmly on the TouchPad, or if cursor movement is delayed or sluggish, then the sensitivity setting is too heavy and you can increase it to correct this issue.

To adjust the TouchPad's sensitivity:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Expand the Pointing and Sensitivity category headings. Then select the Touch Sensitivity option.

    By default, the sensitivity slider control is set approximately in the center.

  3. Brush your finger across the TouchPad and observe how the cursor moves.

    • If the cursor moves erratically when you barely touch the surface of the TouchPad, move the slider toward the Heavy Touch position, click Apply , and test the sensitivity again.

    • If you have to press your finger firmly on the surface of the TouchPad to make the cursor respond, move the slider toward the Light Touch position, click Apply , and test the sensitivity again.

  4. When you are satisfied with the touch and movement, click OK to close the TouchPad control panel.

Adjust edge sensitivity

When moving a finger across the TouchPad, you may notice that the cursor moves only part way across the screen. You may have to stroke the TouchPad two or three times to get the cursor from one side of the display to the other. Adjust the EdgeMotion settings to improve cursor movement and allow you to continue scrolling when your finger touches the edge of the TouchPad.

To adjust the TouchPad's scrolling:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Expand the Pointing and EdgeMotion category headings.

  3. Select the EdgeMotion option, and select the Perform EdgeMotion when dragging and pointing option. This will enable the EdgeMotion functionality.

    To disable this functionality, select the No EdgeMotion option.

  4. Select the EdgeMotion Region option to view a drawing of the TouchPad. The shaded area around the edges, represents the area where you can hold your finger so that the motion of the cursor continues.

    By default the EdgeMotion Region is evenly spaced around the edge of the TouchPad area.

  5. Move your finger slowly across the TouchPad and observe how the cursor continues to move when you stop your finger and hold it in a shaded area.

  6. To accommodate the size of your finger, select and drag a point at the edge of the EdgeMotion Region to adjust the area.

    Click Apply and then test the movement of the cursor again.

  7. Select the EdgeMotion Speed option to view a speed adjustment control. Move the slider to adjust the speed of the cursor when the finger is held in the EdgeMotion Region .

  8. When you are satisfied with the selected region and speed, click OK to close the TouchPad control panel.

Turn all gestures off and on

If you want the TouchPad to function like a standard notebook mouse that does not use gestures, you can turn off these features.

To turn all gestures off:

  1. Right-click the Synaptics Pointing Device item in the Windows system tray.

  2. Select Disable Gestures .

To turn gestures back on, simply deselect the Disable Gestures option in the pop-up menu.

Turn individual gestures off and on

By default, all TouchPad gestures are enabled. However, you may find some gestures easier to perform and more helpful than others. If you have a problem with or do not wish to use an individual gesture, you can turn it off.

To disable a gesture:

  1. Open the TouchPad control panel.

  2. Select a TouchPad gesture, or click the plus sign [+ ] beside a gesture to select a specific action.

  3. Deselect the Enable field to turn off the settings for that gesture or action.

The gesture or action can be re-enabled when needed.

Disable the TouchPad

On some notebooks, the TouchPad can be turned off by pressing an on/off button located near the TouchPad. If the notebook does not have such an on/off button, you can still disable the TouchPad in its settings control panel.

NOTE: You will need to use an external mouse or some other pointing device to control the cursor when the TouchPad is disabled.

To disable the TouchPad:

  1. Click Start , enter mouse in the search field, and then select the Mouse control panel program from the search results.

  2. On the Device Settings tab of the Mouse Properties panel, click the Disable button to turn off the TouchPad.

The TouchPad can be re-enabled when needed.

Toggle the backlight

Some notebook models feature a TouchPad with a built-in backlight that can be toggled on and off by pressing Fn + Spacebar . This is useful for knowing where the TouchPad boundaries are while working in low light conditions.

Figure 2: The TouchPad backlight

Keep the TouchPad software up-to-date

HP constantly improves its products and provides software updates to its users. It is highly recommended that you periodically check for updated software, drivers, and even system BIOS to ensure you get the maximum functionality out of your notebook and TouchPad pointing device. To learn how to check for updates for your notebook, see HP Notebook PCs - Locate and Install Updated BIOS, Drivers, and Software .

Provide feedback

Please rate the information on this page to help us improve our content. Thank you!