How to Replace a Worn IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint Cap


The TrackPoint (trademarked by IBM) is a device that looks like a pencil eraser, positioned between the letters G,H, and B on the IBM ThinkPad series laptop keyboards. Some users passionately call it "the nipple". TrackPoint is a 'pointing stick' used like a mouse, for times when a mouse is not available or where space for operating a mouse is limited. The forefinger moves the device, while the thumb press related keys/buttons located in front of the space bar.

A pointing stick on other brands of laptops, like the TrackPoint, is useful on smaller machines such as netbooks (aka. tablet PCs), where limited space may not allow standard sized touchpad below the keyboard. However, ThinkPads come equipped with a TrackPoint even when a touchpad is present on the laptop.

The cover (cap) on a TrackPoint will be worn after heavy use and over time, even under normal circumstances, because it is made from rubber. Here are instructions on how to replace a worn IBM/Lenovo Trackpoint cap with a new one >>

Things You'll Need

  • New IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint cap(s)
  • An aerosol duster, or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol
  • Tweezers, optional
  • Do a "TrackPoint" keyword search on the Internet. You will find many suppliers selling aftermarket parts, namely the replacement cap for IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad pointing stick. The caps come in many colors, even in clear (transparent) to suit your taste.

    Aside from the colors, there are 3 basic shapes to offer. Refer to insert image, from left to right, they are: soft rim, soft dome, classic dome. The 'classic dome' is standard on older IBM ThinkPads, while the 'soft rim' is used on newer factory installed laptops for Lenovo.

    Pick your choice for the TrackPoint as packages are sold in mono-shape or mixed, and, can be purchased in single color or multi-color packs.

  • Turn off your ThinkPad laptop. Pinch the old TrackPoint cap on the keyboard using your index finger and thumb, or with help of tweezers. Lift the cap straight up from the device while firmly holding it. Discard the damaged cap.

  • Blow with an aerosol duster or use a cotton swab damped with rubbing alcohol to clean, if you see dust and debris settling on the TrackPoint itself.

  • Place a new cap on the Trackpoint by carefully aligning the groove on the underside of the cap to fit the TrackPoint head. Once aligned, press down the new cap on the Trackpoint device head to secure in place. Turn on your ThinkPad laptop and test use the TrackPoint with its new cap on. Your ThinkPad TrackPoint cap is good if the pointer navigates smoothly and freely when in use.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are several names for the 'pointing stick' used and trademarked by different manufacturers. Examples: on HP/Compaq, it is called 'PointStick'. On Dell, it is called 'Track Stick', 'FineTrack' on an Acer, while 'AccuPoint' is called for on Toshiba's, and many more.
  • The TrackPoint is also called "the nipple" by some ThinkPad owners.
  • Timely replace a worn cap to prevent dust and other debris collecting on the TrackPoint underneath. Dust can enter through the cracks on a broken rubber cap.

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