Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dell XPS 15z Multitouch Gestures: User guide

UPDATE: An update for Dell XPS 15z users: Read it if you have some time
XPS 15z: Why you should not buy a premium Dell laptop

This multi-touch trackpad/touchpad feature is new to me and I had to spent some time to figure this out in Dell XPS 15z, fix the problems and get it working well.

Available options from the trackpad are:
a) 2-finger up/down or left/right: Scrolling (vertical and horizontal)
(PS: You have to have the window active and the cursor on top of it to use the feature; i. e if you try to do it for a background window, it won't work. Also if you have a scrollable window inside another scrollable window(eg. Gmail compose window), move the cursor appropriately like the old synaptic touchpad. If you want to scroll the background window, use a free program called WizMouse; It is quite useful for comparing two documents, web pages etc side-by side whicout having to click each window again and again)

b) 2-finger pinch zoom in and out. This was tricky for me. I didn't like it.

c) 3-finger up/down: Switch/change the tab of your browser if you have multiple tabs open, say in firefox. Unlike the above option of 2-finger scrolling, I had to lift my fingers slightly after each 3-finger up/down to get it work. I mean, if I keep fingers in the trackpad and do up then down, it won't go switch between the tabs.

d) 3-finger left/right: Browser/Windows Explorer go backward or forward. Again lift fingers after each left/right.

e) 4-finger up: It's like Alt+Tab, but the window selection panel stays without disappearing so that you can tap (or move cursor) on the trackpad to  select the window you want to change to.

f) 4-finger down: Shows desktop; similar to Windows key+ D

g) 4-finger left/right: Like Windows+Tab key combo. Open 3D window cycle panel with the perspective look. To cycle the windows forward, tap/swipe one(or more) finger keeping the other fingers on trackpad. (If you lift the fingers, the panel disappear zooming up the active window.) Each tap cycles to new window. When your cycle reaches the desired window, lift the four fingers, the window come up and become active for your use. I can't figure out how to cycle backward though; I mean Windows+Shift+tab option.

Now the main problem I faced was this one. When I actually want to scroll with two fingers, sometime it zooms in and out. If you have same problem, may be you can try disabling the zoom options so that you accidently don't zoom when you actually intend to scroll.   If you ever need Zoom options, use keyboard shortcuts (Ctr+, Ctr-, Ctr0)

Control panel> Mouse> CypressTrackpad > Click to Change Cypress Trackpad Settings > 2-Finger Gesters
Uncheck Zoom In/out Rotate boxes

I did this fix and it's working perfect so far.
If you want to enable the old style single finger scrolling, you can do that too.

Hope this might be helpful to someone with the same problem. Please let me know if I'm missing something so that I can learn from you.

UPDATE (June 20th): I was going crazy before I figured this work around but now I'm starting to like this option. There is a small learning curve to master this gestures, but once you get used to it, it'll become very convenient for your everyday browsing (if you use touchpad a lot; not using mouse). May be you need practice for 5-10 minutes. I would suggest you to give it a try.

UPDATE (July 4th):  I updated to the new Cypress trackpad drivers (v and my experience went from awesome to awful. It gave me a frustrating 5-10 minutes of scrolling with jerky movements all the time. So I immediately restored to the old system state with System Restore. May be I'm missing something. I'm not sure whether the trackpad adapts and stores the usage behavior to give better performance? The driver version which I find working well is

UPDATE (Dec 5th 2011):  I accidentally happen to see Dell Reps response to my Dell XPS 15z review on The update is that there is a new driver available for Cypress Trackpad. I copy paste the response here if anyone want to try it out. I'm currently test driving the new drivers and so far it looks interesting. I'll post my feedback on Dell forum soon.

Response from Bill BivinEnd User Computing SolutionsDecember 1, 2011
Thank you for the excellent and well considered review. We very much appreciate the feedback. I wanted to provide an update specific to the touch pad drivers. The latest driver reduces the CPU load to peaks of roughly 2% each and a maximum combined average over a 30 minute sample of 1.9% in a normal usage scenario. Please try out the new drivers and post on the Dell Forums if you have any feed back.


  1. I can't get used to the multi-finger scrolling, it just doesn't work smoothly even after a few days of trying.. But also the regular scrolling settings are a pain, it doesn't respond well.. So I have uninstalled the Cypress drivers and now the touchpad is using the standard windows 7 drivers. The advantage is that scrolling is super smooth again, the disadvantage that I can't disable tap to click, and the touchpad is pretty responsive so sometimes it taps randomly.. Cheers!

  2. Thank You So much it really helped since there's no manual saying what all the gestures were, thanks

  3. hello
    thanks for the info, is there any way atall you can add 2 finger right click, that would make this pad / laptop perfect! :)

  4. @Anton: Sorry to hear that Cypress multitouch didn't work well for you. As far as my experience goes, I'm pretty happy with the 2-finger scrolling. I'm using the drives shipped with the laptop.

    @Anonymous: I'm glad that my post helped you. Dell was disappointing in putting a clear manual. They should have put a youtube video explaining the multitouch trackpad usage like Apple did.

    @trackman: You're welcome. Ya, that would be a great feature to have. But I'm not aware of such an option with the current drivers. May be Cypress/Dell will roll out a new driver set with more advanced features soon.

  5. Thank you very much for your help. It is very helpful.

  6. I was just looking for a guide on all the gestures and not only did you do a great job of that but you absolutely nailed the problem with the two finger zoom being problematic when all you want to do is scroll down. Been having exactly that problem so now I've disabled zoom as well and have never looked back haha.

    One thing I wanted to ask was how do you enable middle click by pressing both buttons on the trackpad. On other Dell laptops you've been able to go to mouse properties and choose this option but it's not there under mouse properties on the 15z! A minor thing but hopefully you might know how to enable middle click? Thanks in advance!

  7. @Anonymous and knoobs: Thanks for your nice words.

    @knoobs: Are you sure the other Dell laptop you mentioned uses Cypress touchpad? I guess the middle button option is available with Synaptic one. AFAIK, Cypress doesn't provide middle button option with the current drivers. Sorry

  8. Thanks for all the great information. Have you had any problems with the WiFi card in this laptop? I have just ordered one and read that a few people had issues.

  9. @Armand: You're welcome. WiFi card is working perfect for me so far. I too read some reviews about the WiFi issues. May be they got some defective pieces.

  10. I found that two fingers on the trackpad + left button click = right button click. I find I inadvertently do this all the time and it is actually quite annoying. There doesn't seem to be way to disable it in the settings.

  11. I have to echo anonymous' concern immediately above. When I click with the left button and drag on the trackpad, either to select text or to pull the window scroll button, it pops up a context menu that is very difficult to close. I've deselected all of the multi-finger gestures, but I haven't figured out how to stop this VERY frustrating behavior. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated!

  12. @Scott: I'm sorry to here the problem you have. May be this is not the case, but it seems like your buttons are reversed(?). Try click with right button and drag to select text in a browser or somewhere.

  13. to ENABLE SMOOTH SCROLLING in Firefox using the 2-finger gesture:

    Options -> Advanced
    General tab, then go to the browsing section.
    Tick Smooth Scrolling

    Hope this helps all those Firefox users out there :)

  14. @Patronza: Thanks for sharing your experience. Somehow it was already enabled as default option in my firefox settings.

  15. I was careful to check that I had not reversed the button functions on the touchpad, because that was the first possibility that came to mind. I came across a solution that is imperfect but far better than any other I've tried. Uninstalling the Cypress Touchpad driver forced it to default back to the Windows driver, and the touchpad is now working much, much better. This means losing the multifinger gestures, but I wasn't using those anyway. I definitely recommend this solution for others who have been frustrated with the same problem.

  16. @Scott Prinster: It's unfortunate that you are not able to use the advanced touchpad functions. I guess some software/driver installed(any mouse software/driver, gaming console etc) to your laptop has some conflict with Cypress touchpad. By the way, did you try reinstalling the latest Cypress drivers after that?

  17. Hi, nice article. Very helpful information. I'm looking to buy a new lappy and is considering the 15z. A good touchpad is definitely an important criteria for me. Could you please comment on the tapping a little more? For instance, does it support 2 and 3 finger taps? If so, what type of functionality can you assign to it?

    I am using a MSI laptop right now and I am able to program my 3 finger tap to be a middle button click (which triggers loading a link to a new tab in a browser). Is this able to do the same?

    Thank you in advance for you help. :)

  18. Hi Hao, Good to know you find this post interesting. It's not tapping, but two finger scrolling and three/four finger swiping movements as I described. Sorry, I'm not aware of a middle button option or programmable option for XPS 15z. It would have been cool to have that option. For work, I use an advanced programmable Logitech mouse which is not only extremely efficient and fast but also less tiring for my wrist.

  19. Thanks for your reply! I agree that using a mouse would be more efficient sometimes. I use one at work as well. But sometimes when desktop space is limited, good touchpad and touchpad software will be night and day for a good user experience. I write code at work, and sometimes I would prefer reaching for the touchpad instead of the mouse when I have to constantly go back to my keyboard.

    Anway, I might not have clearly asked my question so I apologize for the confusion. I am referring to tapping 1 finger translate into a left click. Tapping 2 fingers would translate into a right click. Tapping 3 fingers would translate into a middle click. These few features are normal for most laptop gestures using the Elantech touch pad drivers and Mac's own multitouch software. Programmalbe functions vary for the 3 finger tap between the 2 though. So far my research shows that Elantech is second to Mac's touchpad multitouch software, if not better for more flexibility to what you can do with those taps.

    I was wondering if the Cypress drivers could do the same.

  20. Ok, I see. Well, I'm not sure whether Cypress touchpad can do the same. Right and left click is done by the conventional two buttons near the touchpad. You have limited choices to change it. No middle click option or multiple taps are recognized as far as I know. It would have been nice to have those features considering the premium price of these laptops.

    Hope that helps in your purchase decision. But if you ask in Dell forum, you might get an authentic expert opinion.

  21. Hi, thanks for the touchpad instructions. The xps 15z was my first laptop ever (lol) and my command of the touchpad was rather embarrassing in front of my MBP friends until i came across your blog. Also your tip about turning the function keys into multimedia keys in your review on the Dell site was very helpful too!

    I don't know if you've found out already as it's not really that important but i just found that to scroll backwards in the 3D perspective screen, you have to hold down the tab button while tapping.

  22. oops, I meant shift button in above post

  23. Thanks for your feedback about the post and your tip on backward 3D flip. Cypress touchpad on XPS15z has some limitations compared to MBP. But I hope you'll enjoy your new laptop.

  24. I am not getting the cypress Window which i can see at the first post of this thread.,,,, can you please help me with that? & also i am not able to find the disable touchpad option when i have a mouse hooked up with my laptop. I am using XPS 15Z.

    1. May be you can right click on the system tray cypress icon and open the window.

  25. Hi! First, thanks for making this guide, it was really helpful. Second, you can middle click by having a finger on each clicker and clicking (it'll only physically click on one side for some reason but it registers that you have the two fingers down). I'm really thankful for this because i'm super dependent on middle clicking but i don't use a mouse.
    btw i have a dell XPS 13, idk if it varies too much between different laptops but i guess it might.