How to Reverse The Mouse Scrolling Direction in Ubuntu (aka Natural Scrolling)

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 this feature “natural scrolling”. Not everyone love this feature, but if you are one of those who love it, and wish to implement this feature in Ubuntu, here’s how you do it:

  1. Open a terminal. Type:
gksu gedit
  1. Paste the following to the text file.
pointer = 1 2 3 5 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

You can see that the sequence 4 and 5 are switched. This represents the switch in the vertical scrolling direction. If you want the horizontal scrolling to switch as well, switch the 6 and 7.

  1. Save the file with the name ‘.Xmodmap’ (without the quote, but with the dot in front) in your Home folder.
  2. Close the file and terminal.
  3. Log out and log in again. Your mouse scrolling direction should change now.

To revert the setting, simply delete/remove the .Xmodmap file.

If you are using KDE (Kubuntu), the tweak is slightly different.

  1. Go to “System Setting -> Input Devices -> Mouse”.
  2. Check the box “Reverse Scrolling Direction”. Click Apply.

That’s it.

Note: There is another app call naturalscrolling. I have tried it in Ubuntu Oneiric beta and it doesn’t work. If you are keen to try it out, here is how you can install it:

Open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zedtux/naturalscrolling
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install naturalscrolling

If everything goes well for you, you should see an appindicator where you can tick to change the mouse scrolling direction. Let me know how it works for you.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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