MacMost Now 855: Mountain Lion Scroll Bars

Scroll Bars in Lion and Mountain Lion will appear and disappear depending on your actions. You can set them to always be present, or to change based on your input device. With two fingers on your trackpad, you can scroll easily. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 855: Mountain Lion Scroll Bars.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. In today's episode let's look at using scroll bars in Mountain Lion.

So with the release of Lion in 2011 scroll bars changed. Instead of automatically being there when needed, they only appear when you are actually scrolling. At least it depends on your settings.

For instance here in this Finder window we can see that we have more items than can fit in the window at this size and there is no scroll bar here to click on.

Instead what you are supposed to do is use the trackpad with two fingers, or you can use two fingers on a magic mouse or a scroll wheel or some other scrolling device on another type of mouse. So I am going to use two fingers here and scroll up and you can see the scroll bar appears on the right and it will fade away after a second or so.

Now if I actually move the cursor it won't fade away. Instead it will stay there and it will actually get larger in Mountain Lion when I hover over it and now I can actually scroll up and down. As soon as I move over here and stop moving the mouse it disappears again.

Notice also I've got a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom. The same thing here. If I keep moving the mouse as I may actually get there and I go it it gets larger. I can now use it and then I move up here and stop moving the mouse it will then go away.

You can change this by going to System Preferences to General and here you have a couple settings. Show Scroll Bar is the important one. You have three settings and one here is Always. Turning on Always means that the scroll bars will always appear just like they did before Lion.

The alternative to that is only When Scrolling. The default is Automatically based on mouse or trackpad. So what happens here is if I have a mouse plugged into my computer then I will get the scroll bars always showing and if I have a trackpad then they will only show when scrolling. So it kind of switches between the two of them. Handy for people that say have a computer and switch between the two. But if you have both installed, then since there is a trackpad installed, the scroll bars will only be there when you are scrolling.

So let's take a look at the alternatives. If I click Always and I look here I can see now there are scroll bars in the document window. If I go and say only when scrolling you can see they disappear.

You also have some keyboard alternatives to using the scroll bars. For instance if I just used the arrow keys it will select an item, the first item here since I have nothing selected, and I can go down and as I continue to move down items the scroll bars will appear and move as you would expect as I move with my selection there.

Now if I don't want it to actually select anything I can actually hold the fn key on the keyboard and use the up and down arrows and it will actually scroll for me. In this case it is a very short little window so it just scrolls to the very bottom immediately and to the top.

Basically the fn key and the up and down arrows are giving you page up and page down ability.

So here I am in Safari, for instance, and here I can see if I scroll up and down using two fingers on my trackpad the scroll bar appears and then it goes away. Likewise if I keep the mouse moving it will stay there and then get larger as I hover over it. Now if I stop moving it will go away. If I use the function key, the fn key, and up and down it will jump basically the entire page at a time.

Likewise the fn key and the left and right arrows act as the beginning and end buttons on extended keyboards. So I can jump all the way to the bottom or all the way to the top.

Also some applications, like Safari, you can just use the up and down arrow keys to scroll a slight amount or even hold it down to kind of do a continuous scroll. I can do it with left and right as well. So you have that ability. It doesn't work on something like the Finder because using arrow keys to move between selections. But here in the browser you don't move between selections like that so you are actually able to control scrolling with the arrow keys. No mouse, trackpad, or any cursor movement needed at all.

So what do I use. I leave it on the default which basically means with my trackpad I don't see the scroll bars until I need them. However one instance where it is handy to have the scroll bars always on is if I am using Screen Sharing to control one Mac from another. Then it is really handy since I can't really do the scrolling and it doesn't understand that I can't. So having scrolling turned on Always for that situation is useful. Otherwise I try to stick with the default.

I try to use the arrow keys a lot but most of the time I just use two fingers on the trackpad. If you have been using computers for a long time you may not be used to that so it may take some adjustment to get used to it but it is well worth it. It is much easier to control the scrolling on the page with two fingers on the trackpad than it ever was to do using the scroll bars.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 10 Responses to “MacMost Now 855: Mountain Lion Scroll Bars”

    Darrel Plant
    6 years ago

    The new(ish) scrollbar system (sans up and down arrows) kind of sucks for tablet users. No fine control of scrolling without either dropping the pen or using the other hand to access arrow keys.

      6 years ago

      If I was a tablet user, I would set the scrollbars to always be visible, and then also drag it, not click it. Still not great, but was it ever great for tablet users? Was the key the up and down arrows at the top and bottom of the scroll bars? Isn’t there a way to scroll using the pen and tablet like you can using two fingers on a trackpad?

    Joel Anderson
    6 years ago

    One thing that bothers me about the appear-as-needed scroll bars in Finder is when I move my mouse down towards the bottom of the window and they get larger (the horizontal one), it makes it very difficult to interact with the last list item in the Finder window (since the scroll bar overlays 90% of it). Know of any settings or workarounds for that problem?

      6 years ago

      I know what you mean. I either just expand the window a bit, or click on the item above it and mouse down.

    Barb McKillop
    6 years ago

    MacBook Pro:
    I downloaded Mountain Lion when it came out. Video 855 Scroll Bars. I went into my documents and tried to scroll like the video says…Doesn’t work.I have my settings like the video says. What am I doing wrong? : )
    thanks you

      6 years ago

      Which option are you using? The video describes many ways to scroll. Which one is not working for you?

    John C Stires
    6 years ago

    I’ve had several problems with the bottom scroll bar when I need the bottom folder or file; it jumps into the way.

    Paul Schluter
    6 years ago

    The fn+arrow keys were a godsend to learn. Especially left/right.

    Linda Lyn
    6 years ago

    Hi Gary
    I think a word of thank you would not be enough I have waited for Mt Lion to be on the market but when I got it hate it because the Scroll Bar problems
    Now I am happy that your instructions had help me get it right.

    Thank you again.
    Linda Lyn

    6 years ago

    Thanks for the video. As a Windows convert, I am used to having scroll bars being displayed in my window at all times, but I do not think I will ever get used to having them appear and disappear occasionally.

Comments Closed.