nautilus not natural scrolling

Bug #951123 reported by Xeletron on 2012-03-09
This bug affects 34 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I came to the conclusion after updates of ubuntu 12.04 on march the 9th, nautilus did not handle natural scrolling anymore, while in Chrome or Firefox or even any other application it still does. I enabled this feature in gnome-tweak and all works fine, except in nautilus.

summary: - nautilus not natural srolling
+ nautilus not natural scrolling
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report, what Ubuntu version do you use? What do you call "natural scrolling"?

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
importance: Undecided → Low

Ubuntu version 12.04. Natural scroll is like your touchpad is your screen. Up on touchpad is up the content of the window. Like on a smartphone.. up with your thumb on the screen is up that content.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

so that's an input device feature? does it work in other gtk3 applications like gedit, eog, evince, etc?

Dark.Crow (d+rkcrow) wrote :

I tried these programs and yes, that worked ok as in yes natural scrolling works normal. As i said, in all other programs it does to like libreoffice, browsers, except nautilus.

From: Sebastien Bacher [mailto:<email address hidden>]
To: <email address hidden>
Sent: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 13:55:29 +0100
Subject: [Bug 951123] Re: nautilus not natural scrolling

so that's an input device feature? does it work in other gtk3
  applications like gedit, eog, evince, etc?

  You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug

    nautilus not natural scrolling

  Status in “nautilus” package in Ubuntu:

  Bug description:
    I came to the conclusion after updates of ubuntu 12.04 on march the
    9th, nautilus did not handle natural scrolling anymore, while in
    Chrome or Firefox or even any other application it still does. I
    enabled this feature in gnome-tweak and all works fine, except in

  To manage notifications about this bug go to:

Vadim Rutkovsky (roignac) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. This particular bug has already been reported and is a duplicate of bug 949465, so it is being marked as such. Please look at the other bug report to see if there is any missing information that you can provide, or to see if there is a workaround for the bug. Additionally, any further discussion regarding the bug should occur in the other report. Feel free to continue to report any other bugs you may find.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Calvin Li (calvin-li-lt) wrote :

This bug appears to be unrelated to #949465.

Xeletron (xeletron) wrote :

I do think it is related. Don't want to be a wiseguy about it, but it still is not working as it should do if .Xmodmap settings are in place for natural scrolling. So why should it not be related? thanks for your reaction though!

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

not sure what "gnome-tweak" does but it doesn't seem a supported feature, smooth scrolling work in nautilus using touch devices as it should though

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Xeletron (xeletron) wrote :

..looks like some misunderstanding. If i try to help making ubuntu better and issue a problem with 'n a t u r a l scrolling' doesn't mean 'smooth scrolling'. Thats a difference as between appel and pineapple ;)
Ubuntu works fine by now, but why is it that on three of my computers i notice natural scrolling is still not working as it should and you guys keep reporting it 'works fine'! And why is the status is migrated to incomplete..

again. natural scrolling setting in ~.Xmodmap mouse pointer setting changed to 5 before 4 is not picked up the right way by nautilus. Either manually set or bij some tweak tool. What more info do you want.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

right, I still don't understand what "natural scrolling" is but using .Xmodmap is a power user unsupported configuration mean as is using gnome-tweak to enable weird options

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

"When Apple releases Mac OSX Lion, one of the changes is the switching of the trackpad/mouse scrolling direction. Instead of scrolling the mouse wheel down to move down the page, you have to scroll up to move down. Apple imported this feature from iOS and call[s] this feature “natural scrolling”. Not everyone love[s] this feature, but if you are one of those ... to implement this feature in Ubuntu, here’s how you do it:"

It's also called reverse scrolling and Apple did not invent it. They just realized it was a natural progression and a way to consolidate with the touch screen (which is where this stems from).

It's not arcane or weird. I can just imagine that touchscreen users could be affected by this as well, and since that's the new market everyone (including Canonical) is vying for, it's noteworthy.

Xeletron (xeletron) wrote :

Chascon thnx but i know how it has to be enabled. try it, and you'll see that nautilus does not respond to that.

..but i leave this now, for me no bug-reports any more if no understanding or discouraging answers.

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

ubutn2-fan: My comment was not geared towards you but informing Sebastian as to what it was. And you're correct, it does not work. It doesn't work in software center, or update manager, neither.

I even reported it as so, see:

Anyway, I've confirmed it to get the ball rolling. It's not assigned to anybody but hopefully someone will write/apply a patch.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Chascon (chascone) wrote :

And I've marked my reports as duplicates of this one.


Chascon (chascone) wrote :

Apparently the bug Vadeem links this as a duplicate to is fixed. Sebastien says (therein) that any continued problems are likely to be other bugs. So, since we continue to have the same problem, this should not be a duplicate of

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thanks Chascon, well that's an hidden option so no wonder it's untested and has issues. You speak about touch devices but for those GTK 3.4 has "smooth scrolling" which should work correctly with the correct direction, I tested in nautilus and it does work as it should.

bug #949465 was about scrolling not working at all on 32 bits arch, it's a different issue from yours, what you describe seems to be a gtk bug, ideally somebody would report it upstream:

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

I've tested the if my macbook pro pad registers natural scrolling and it does not. To clarify, when my fingers glide over the pad towards me, the on-screen document scrolls to the bottom of the page rather than to the top (as it should in natural/reverse scrolling).

So unless setting 5 before 4 in .Xmodmap is screwing up a gtk's already implemented, it's still a problem on pads, nor is it working with mice.

As for gnome picking up this feature because it's part of gtk, well, I've looked at Unity's mouse preference pane and there's nothing called smooth scrolling there, much like the case with nautilus' preference pane, too.

As for that term, "smooth scrolling" is confusing and reading about it on the net shows that some talk about literally "smooth" transitions from top to bottom (& vice versa) in any document, as opposed to jerky movement (jumping 2 or 3 lines with each movement of the wheel of the mouse). Again, to be clear, I believe both Ronald and I are not referring to this feature. We're only concerned with, as is this bug, the cause and effect of directionality of movement with any and all pointer apparatus.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Right, well what you call "natural scrolling" is not an officially supported option by gtk or GNOME which means you will not be able to get it working as you want for a pad or mouse, the new GTK does that automatically through smooth scrolling on touchscreen devices though, so if you install precise on a tablet, scrolling using the screen should work in the "natural" way

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

So natural scrolling is part of something larger called smooth scrolling in Gnome and it's automatically enabled if it picks up on a tablet or some other ultra-portable medium. But where does leave us mouse/pad users --be that of desktops or laptops-- that prefer natural scrolling? Apparently, the answer is that we're on our own because xmodmap (or at least natural scrolling initiated via xmodmap) is an unsupported hack ("unsupported configuration ... gnome-tweak to enable weird options").

The more I thought about this problem, the more I came closer to realizing a few things.

1. Natural scrolling via xmodmap (and gtk+ or qt) is NOT a hack, and less an unsupported one for that matter. How do I know this? Because I remembered that xmodmap is an Xorg utility. We still use Xorg, after all.

2. My .Xmodmap is indeed being picked up; I know this because I've reassigned some keys and they're implemented properly. So, gtk+/gnome is selectively not picking up on the reverse scrolling directive. Therefore, what's happening here is that gtk+/Gnome is not abiding by X protocols. In other words, gtk/Gnome is at fault here and in that sense it IS most certainly a bug.

3. I can only assume that in their desire to cater to the ultra-portable market Gnome devs have forgotten about xmodmap, in as far as scrolling direction (they do have event structures and something called GdkScrollDirection ), and hard coded directionality with their "smooth scrolling". And this is probably the source of the bug.

Allow user intervention. This is not unheard of as “Reverse Scrolling Direction” under System Settings is already implemented by KDE (see

The Ubuntu app called naturalscrolling does not work and seems to have messed with other key reassignments, by the way, when I tried it.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Right, to summary:

- that's an upstream issue and you are arguing at the wrong place, we just don't have resources to fix all upstream issues

- that setting is neither documented nor exposed in any UI on the default installation

- the two first item mean the priority to get it fixed by our team is "Low", we would welcome patches but we have thousand of desktop bugs open and wishlist for hidden options just don't rank enough to be likely to be worked any time soon

Umang Varma (umang) wrote :

Here's some information that I wasn't able to find in this discussion, so I thought I'd post it.

"Natural scrolling" can be achieved by putting the following in ~/. : "pointer = 1 2 3 5 4 7 6 8 9 10 11 12". In man xmodmap, there is a description of the program does. The codes can be found by running xev.

This is a regression as every application in 11.10 seemed to work as expected when .Xmodmap was changed. However, certain programs don't seem to respect .Xmodmap in 12.04.

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

I thought about calling it a regression but for that to be valid, I would think the bug would have need to have existed prior to now, so as to regress to a previous (broken) state. What's happening here is that it simply isn't working, in a __new__ way.

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

And by the way, I think this bug should be reported directly to gnome or gtk people, or both.

Chascon (chascone) wrote :

And someone reported it upstream, actually two people. which interestingly reads, but it seems this fix is for trackpads only, and not mice.
"So, the command to play around with for xi2.2 is

xinput set-prop <deviceid> "Synaptics Scrolling Distance" -<vert> -<horiz>

to find good values for vert and horiz, look at the current values with
xinput list-props <deviceid>

Note that this only works with the synaptics driver currently, and only with
version 1.6 (or 1.5.99.something)."

Also note that the interia calculation in the driver seems to be broken for
negative deltas, so you'll have to set "Synaptics Coasting Speed" to 0 0 for
now, or else you'll get 'infinite scrolling'."

For more details,

Also read

ianp5a (ianp) wrote :

They are working on Ubuntu Tweak to try to cover this issue.
It was supposedly fixed in Ubuntu Tweak 0.71 but appears not to work.
Ubuntu Tweak Bug:

Louis M (tioui) wrote :

You can try adding this in your xorg.conf file:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Touchpad"
        Driver "synaptics"
        MatchIsTouchpad "on"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Option "VertScrollDelta" "-235"
        Option "HorizScrollDelta" "-235"

You can change the 235 values for anything you want. It work for me.


Arend van Beelen jr. (arendjr) wrote :

I can confirm this bug is still relevant, at least on Ubuntu 12.10 on a Gazelle Professional laptop from System76 (has Ubuntu preinstalled).

Dražen Lučanin (kermit666) wrote :

Yes, it is as if some elements used for scrolled windows respect the
Xmodmap and some don't.

On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:46 PM, Arend van Beelen jr.
<email address hidden> wrote:
> *** This bug is a duplicate of bug 966237 ***
> I can confirm this bug is still relevant, at least on Ubuntu 12.10 on a
> Gazelle Professional laptop from System76 (has Ubuntu preinstalled).
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug
> report.
> Title:
> nautilus not natural scrolling
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:

cazacugmihai (cazacugmihai) wrote :

It is also reproduced in Ubuntu 16.04. Except of nautilus, everything else works as expected.

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