Scroll Bar Options

Your an customize how the scroll bars in macOS work using some settings in System Preferences. You can decide whether the scroll bars are always present, or only when scrolling. You can also decide what you want to happen when the space above or below the current position is clicked.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Scroll Bar Options.

Let's take a look at using Scroll Bars on your Mac. Now I've got a very large TextEdit document here and you can see there's no scroll bar on the right. But if I use my trackpad with two fingers and I go up or down you can see the scroll bar appears there. Not only that I can move my cursor over to the scroll bar after it appears and I can drag it. So I can go through the document very quickly. I can also click in the scroll bar, say down here, and it will jump a whole page or jump up a page. If I move my cursor away from the scroll bar and wait, you can see it disappears.

But you can change all this if you go into System Preferences and under General there's a whole set of items here just for scroll bars. So, for instance, you can determine when they show up. Now the top two settings are very similar: Automatically based on mouse or trackpad, or When Scrolling.

Now with my trackpad they're identical. But from what I hear when you have a mouse sometimes having that first setting depending upon the type of mouse you have will mean the scroll bar is always there. But for me When Scrolling works the same.

Now if you change to Always the scroll bar permanently goes there which is how Macs used to look a few generations of the OS ago. So you can always see where you're at. Some people like this a lot because the scroll bar gives you an indication of where you're at in the document. For instance, if I'm in the middle of the document I can see I'm in the middle of the document. Not only that I can see how much of the document I'm looking at because that is the height of the scroll bar. Whereas if I turn it off you can see I really have no idea. Am I at the middle, the beginning, near the end? I have no idea. So having it set to Always is very useful.

I also find it very useful when using Screen Sharing because it's hard to get the scroll bar to appear otherwise. So it's hard to scroll through items using Screen Sharing.

Now your other options here are how to use the space above and below this part of the scroll bar which is called the Thumb here. So I can drag the thumb up and down. But when I click below it, it will jump one page down or above it, it will jump one page up. I can change that behavior to jump to the spot that's clicked. So if I wanted to jump to the end of the document I can click down there near the end and it jumps to the end. I can jump to the top, I can jump to the middle. I can still click and drag the scroll bar thumb itself to get to where I want.

So you have those options. I like to use the default options when I can of having it set to automatic and jump to the next page when I'm using a trackpad on my MacBook and on my MacPro so it's very easy for me to use two fingers to scroll and anytime I want to see where I am in a document I can kind of scroll up and down just a little bit to see it appear there.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Scroll Bar Options”

    2 years ago

    Again you have shown how simple some everyday tasks are. Making Mac easy to use

    James Cordes
    2 years ago

    Long ago Mac scroll bars had arrows at the top and bottom of the scroll bar that enabled small amounts of scrolling. I would like to have these back when I have a very large document or lists — I’m thinking especially of “Photos” view (Cmd-1) in the Photos app. Is there any way to get these arrows back?

    2 years ago

    James: Typically you use gestures to do that now. If you use a Trackpad then two fingers up or down do what the arrows used to do. The Magic Mouse has that too. If it doesn’t work for you, check your Trackpad or Mouse System Preferences to make sure you have that gesture turned on, and maybe see if you changed it to something else.

    Don Kryzak
    2 years ago

    Excellent video on scroll bar options. Good luck with your Patreon option which I support.

    2 years ago

    What text editor document are you looking at ie pages? Is “notes” from iphone available on mac.

    2 years ago

    Brian: Yes, I am showing TextEdit in the video. Notes is one of the core apps that comes with your Mac. If you use iCloud, Notes will sync between iPhone and Mac.

Comments Closed.