The place to learn about your Mac. Tips and tutorials for novices and experts.

Set Scroll Bars to Always Display on Your Mac

Operating systems like OS X and Windows are constantly being updated with new features, but for the longest time, you could always count on seeing scroll bars in windows, no matter what operating system you used. But then multi-touch gestures hit the scene and OS X Lion was released, and the scroll bars were gone. Poof! Just like that.

Actually, that's not entirely true. By default, the scroll bars in Lion and Mountain Lion are designed to be displayed automatically when input from a mouse or trackpad is detected. But that can be annoying in its own way. For example, if you need to get to a specific part of a document, you'll have use a multi-touch gesture to scroll first, and then click on a scroll bar after it appears.

If the default scroll bar setting on OS X annoys you, you can use this tutorial to bring the scroll bars back permanently. With a couple of clicks, you can ensure that scroll bars are always displayed on your Mac, in every application. Here's how to do it:

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences.

  2. Click General. The window shown below appears.

  3. Set Show scroll bars to Always.

  4. Close System Preferences.

Now the scroll bars will always appear in all of your windows!

Meet Your Macinstructor

Matt Cone, the author of Master Your Mac, has been a Mac user for over 20 years. A former ghost writer for some of Apple's most notable instructors, Cone founded Macinstruct in 1999, a site with OS X tutorials that boasts hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month. You can email him at: [email protected].


Copyright © 2016 Macinstruct. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.