Touch screen: Right click should be emulated by long press, like under Windows 8 and Android

Bug #1212736 reported by Till Kamppeter on 2013-08-15
This bug affects 26 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
mousetweaks (Ubuntu)
xorg-server (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad Twist convertible ultrabook (Intel Core i7). The tablet mode (touchscreen-only operation, keyboard folded away) gets continuously working better.

One important missing feature is an easy-to-do right click. The right-click emulation button in Onboard is a rather awkward solution, as Onboard only shows up when selecting a text input field.

I suggest to emulate the right-click by a long press on the screen. It is done in Android this way, too, and works very well for me.

Note that the long-press right-click functionality in "Universal Access" in the Control Center only works with a mouse and not with the touch screen (another bug).

I am using Saucy 64-bit and the standard Unity desktop.

Changed in mir (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
Changed in xorg-server (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

At the moment, XMir still handles input directly with evdev. This means input bugs are not Mir bugs yet.

no longer affects: mir (Ubuntu)
Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

Note that the right click is very important, many applications use it for essential functions, like Thunderbird, Nautilus, ...

Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

Adding mousetweaks as the mouse functionality of "Universal Access" is implemented by mousetweaks.

It seems that the right-click emulation of mousetweaks only works with a mouse and not with a touchscreen.

Changed in mousetweaks (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in mousetweaks (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in xorg-server (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

Also note that the right-click emulation of Universal Access only reveals the right-click menu after releasing the button, whereas under Android or Windows 8 the menu already pops up while long pressing. The latter gives the user the feedback that he has pressed long enough, and as it is also established as "standard" (two other operating systems use it) we should do it this way.

summary: Touch screen: Right click should be emulated by long press, like under
- Android
+ Windows 8 and Android
description: updated
Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

The right click on the touch-operated Ubuntu Desktop is not completely unimplemented. Besides the possibility of using the right-click emulation of Onboard one can right-click by holding one finger on the place where one wants to right click, and while holding the finger down tapping with another finger on an arbitrary place of the touch screen and after that sliding the held down first finger through the context menu to the desired item and releasing there, which leads to the item being selected. It works on the standard (in my case Unity) desktop and even in XBMC.

This gesture is rather awkward and far from intuitive to find without any instructions (see the time between this comment and my creation of the touch screen/convertible Blueprint to which this bug is linked), especially also where Android and Windows 8 use a long press as right click, and the Ubuntu Desktop is usually installed as an alternative operating system on machines which are originally supplied with Windows or Android and so conserving operation schemes from these systems makes switching over to Ubuntu much easier.

debb1046 (debb1046) wrote :

#7 not working here (13.04 on Samsung 700T). I seem to remember twofing had that gesture. Are you sure you don't have that installed?

Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

I have never heard this name, and there is neitrher a package named twofing (or similar) installed nor is there such package available.

I have found twofing at It is very promissing but they say that it only works on the Eee PC T101MT with eGalax touchscreen and I have the Lenovo Thinpad Twist with Atmel touchscreen.

I have followe dthe instructions of the first comment (Phil) on, especially activated the Wacom support. Perhaps this changes things in available gestures.

Yes, the right-click gesture of comment #7 comes from the Wacom driver. If I remove /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf again (or the "Atmel" in it) then the gesture goes away and I get the three- and four-finger gestures back.

yagolf (yagonuchera) wrote :

Kudos to getting right-click behaviour like in Windows/Android. I manage to get a near to natural timing of the click using .22sec as the secondary click timing (using dconf). This behaviour is still really unnatural because you never know when you get it right until you lift up the finger.
I know you developers work really hard patching up stuff and writing new and cleaner code, but touchscreens have been out for a while and this elemental behaviour has not been address yet...

btw, I'm on an Acer V7 running Ubuntu 14.04 64bit (ELAN touchscreen)

Thanks for your work and I hope we get a fix real soon!

tags: added: desktop-touch

The attachment "patch-evdev-emuTS" seems to be a patch. If it isn't, please remove the "patch" flag from the attachment, remove the "patch" tag, and if you are a member of the ~ubuntu-reviewers, unsubscribe the team.

[This is an automated message performed by a Launchpad user owned by ~brian-murray, for any issues please contact him.]

tags: added: patch
Francesco Fumanti (frafu) wrote :

The click and hold to simulate a right click used to send the virtual right click before button release until march 2010. Changes in the X server forced the mousetweaks developer to move the virtual right click after the button release because as far as I understand, the X server stopped accepting virtual right clicks if the left mouse button had not been released. I don't know how the current X server would behave about this.

Anyway, as far as I have been told, a real right click simulation by a left click and hold should probably be implemented at a deeper layer than mousetweaks. Another aspect for example making problems is that mousetweaks is not able to discard the real left button down before creating the virtual right click. One of the consequences is that it is not possible to perform a virtual right click on a multiple selection as the real left mouse click preceding the virtual right click deselects the items.

By the way, mousetweaks tried to implement some kind of feedback to indicate when the user has hold the left mouse button long enough to issue the simulated right click: the pointer should fill up with a different color. However, this does not work reliably.

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Duplicates of this bug

Other bug subscribers