You want scrollbars? Here they are

You want scrollbars? Here they are
Mac Tip #572, 27 February 2013

I recently noticed someone complaining that windows in Mountain Lion don’t have scrollbars unless you’re actively scrolling. If you like to always see scroll bars in windows it’s easy to achieve. All you need is a quick visit to the System Preferences window. Here are the details.

Scroll bars are turned off by default in Mountain Lion

No scroll bars in sight.

No scroll bars in sight.

The screenshot above shows a window with a lot of text in it. You can’t see all the text though as the window’s too narrow and not tall enough.

There are also no scroll bars whose length could at least help you guess how much of the content is invisible.

This older Tip talks about ways to use scrollbars to quickly move around a document: Quick scroll, Mac Tip #187/16-Mar-2005. Unfortunately it doesn’t include any screenshots.

In Mountain Lion the scrollbars will magically appear once you hover over, click in or start to scroll the window.

Change the scroll bar setting in System Preferences

Show scroll bars always.

Show scroll bars always.

If you prefer to always see the scrollbars then go to the General pane of System Preferences and check the radio button marked Always in the Show scroll bars section.

Always visible scrollbars

The screenshot below shows my text window now — the scrollbars are visible at all times.

Scroll bars are now visible.

Scroll bars are now visible.

It’s a small and easy fix. How do you prefer scrollbars on your Mac?

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  1. Steve Worona said:

    Thanks for the tip, but what’s still missing is the up and down arrows in the scroll bar that allow for line-by-line scrolling. Large documents — text, spreadsheets, databases — are much harder to manipulate without line-by-line scrolling.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Hi Steve,

      click in the document (just to place the cursor) then use the physical arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll up or down line by line.



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