How to restore scroll bar arrows in Google Chrome

google chrome scroll bar arrows

Sometimes it is small changes that have a huge impact. Google rolled out an update to the stable version of Chrome recently which brought it to version 32. Along with the excellent audio indicators came another change that seems to have impacted -- some -- Windows users especially.

Google removed the scroll bar arrows from the bar. This may not seem like a big deal to you, especially if you are using a drag motion to scroll, the keyboard, or something fancy such as mouse gestures.

But if you have used the scroll bar arrow for most of your computing life, then you may have found yourself without an option that you have used for a very long time.

Reports about the change reached the Google Product Forum ever since they reached the beta and development builds of the browser. But only the implementation of the feature in the stable version of Chrome seems to have fueled the confusion and protest. This can easily be explained by the fact that most Chrome users use the stable version of the web browser.

The initial bug report on Google Code is filled with user protest. Some stated that they would move back to the Firefox web browser if Google would not fix it, while others suggested to go back a version to avoid it.

Official comments by Google employees suggest that the company is monitoring user responses but won't take action at this point in time. This may or may not change depending on how this evolves, or more precisely, the number of new comments the issue gets.

Restore scroll bar arrows in Chrome

If you are a Chrome user who does not agree with the change, you have only one option at the time of writing. I'm not counting downgrading Chrome or moving to another browser as options, even though they may work for you.

Probably the best option that you have is to install the Win7 Scrollbars extension. It adds scroll bars to Chrome again the way they used to be. They appear to have the right width and height, and arrows on both sides that you can use for scrolling if you prefer to do it this way.

Once installed, they look like the ones that you see on the screenshot at the top of the article. While there are other extensions that may work for you as well, this one seems to be compatible with the majority of pages, including Gmail and other Google pages that use customizations.

It won't work on chrome:// urls though, but that is a limitation by the browser itself and cannot be changed. You may also want to enable the extension to work in private browsing mode, if you use it.

  1. Load chrome://extensions/ to display all installed extensions
  2. Check "Allow in incognito" underneath the Win7 Scrollbars extension listing and "allow access to file URLs" if you need that as well.

Closing Words

The removal of scroll bar arrows seems like a small change on first glance. While the majority may not have even noticed that they are gone, for example if they use other means of scrolling, it appears to be a drastic change to users who use them exclusively.

It is interesting to note that this is not the only UI element change in Chrome 32 on Windows. Radio buttons and checkboxes too use a custom non-standard design now which makes them harder to click and interact with.

Are you affected by the changes? If so, what are you doing to resolve the issue?

Update: Scroll arrows are back in Chrome 34 for Windows.

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Responses to How to restore scroll bar arrows in Google Chrome

  1. CoolRaoul January 18, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Unfortunately, "Win7 Scrollbars extension" doesn't works in dropdown menus (like the ones here: http://jsfiddle.net/, on the left side of the page)

    And worse, on this kind of widgets, new chrome scroll bar is even not scrollable with the mouse (only the wheel works)!

  2. Dwight Stegall January 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks for the tip. I don't use Chrome very much so I didn't notice they were missing. But they are back now and working great.

  3. Sylvio Haas January 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    The Win7 ScrollbarS extension does not provide a width bar as they claim in text and photo, only height bar. A pity.

  4. GK January 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    I see, complete morons work at Google too, like the Firefox UI people.

  5. bastik January 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    This is a bad thing. It should not require much code to have those buttons and it should not be a problem for the UI. It should not produce lot's of support questions.

    Streamlining everything is common. This is something for Mozilla to pick up, can't wait to see every browser with just the URL bar, that has a single button. And all tabs get loaded in the URL bar.

    I don't understand why this isn't optional.

  6. eRIZ January 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    It's kinda frustrating - I've been hunting for a system theme with higher contrast between whole scrollbar and its track. Now, Chrome's devs pissed me off because they enforced us to use something weird.

    Earlier noticing how long the page is, was pretty easy for me - just move eye, without closer looking where the track is. What now? Even with this extension it's more difficult because it overrides system theme.

  7. Pierre January 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    That's right and some pages or dialog boxes no longer work correctly.
    Still now, I used to go back to Firefox for them
    But generally I use the mouse wheel

  8. Nick January 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    This extension worked, albeit something that shouldn't be needed!.. why do these companies screw around with standards?.. the "improved" scroll bar still appears in Adobe Acrobat files linked in pages though. I hope Google fixes this and goes back to what is standard.

  9. John January 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Have not found a solution for those on a Chromebook. I will function without it, but do find Google becoming more annoying to me everyday. I definitely won't be switching to Chromebooks as my primary device anytime soon. I already had some buyer's remorse before this update. Now Hulu has issues in full screen mode and of course Google has screwed up Flash player and so now I wait for Google to fix it.

  10. Redgrave January 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    A lot of things are screwed up in the latest version.

    1. Scrollbars, yet not so annoying.
    2. Sometimes the pages don't load instantly like before, I have to switch between tabs and when I come back to the page I wanted it appears.
    3. The most annoying thing, Flash is screwed up. Youtube, mostly, loads the video but blank, all I have is the sound. I tried disabling one of the two plugings, internal one and the system's one, nothing. It has a mind of its own, sometimes reloading helps, sometimes it does not. Of course, any other browser installed, IE, Firefox, shows that video perfectly.
    4. The menus in Chrome now have some sort of special effects, not sure I like it or not.

    Everything just got screwed up after the update. I haven't installed any addon in between, no settings changed, I checked and double checked everything.

    The only solution, I may have to reset everything to default, which is really bothering.

  11. alaskarebs January 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Very Annoying. No scroll bar arrows is enough to sen me back to IE - peaceout google chrome. next time listen to your customers a little better.

    • c thompson January 21, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      not happy at all miss half the ads on buy swap and sell far too jerkey it was good before now its crap come on google put it back the way the people want it

      customers first or have you forgot

  12. emegeve January 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    How about Rescroller? https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/rescroller/ddehdnnhjimbggeeenghijehnpakijod. It does not look native but it has an option to add scroll buttons.

  13. BobbyPhoenix January 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    I didn't even notice they were gone. I never used them. I use the mouse wheel to scroll. I use this to make it work the way I want: http://antibody-software.com/web/software/software/wizmouse-makes-your-mouse-wheel-work-on-the-window-under-the-mouse/

  14. Gregg DesElms January 21, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Wait... I'm confused. As far as I know, this change happened MONTHS ago! Or did it only happen to we who've been using Chromium-based Chrome-lookalikes (like the IRON browser, or COMODO DRAGON; or even Chromium, itself)?

    For us, the arrows disappeared, and the entire scrollbar, in fact, was replaced with just a slider sort of thingy...

    ...at least on any Google site (or any site the dev of which actually LIKED said sliders and incorporated them, by script, into their own sites) a long time ago.

    For me, the solution was this badboy...

    Rescroller
    http://bit.ly/1dqXgPa

    ...which is extremely customizable. I just love it.

    But I can see that I'd like Win-7-Scrollbars, too. So I'll check that out. But, honestly, I've had to use Rescroller in order to get back the end-of-scrollbar arrows -- at least on any Google site -- for literally MONTHS now! Here... wait... let me see if I can find when I first reported it in Google's Product Forums...

    [moments pass]

    ...okay! Found it! And I see it was more than just "months" ago; it seems it was in 2011.

    SEE | http://goo.gl/QzxI4x

    So I'm a little confused that this is new...

    ...or, wait... are we saying that... oh, wait... I think I've figured it out: Has Google finally done to *ALL* sites when using Chrome what it did back in 2011 with just its own sites viewed in Chrome?

    Maybe that's it. Maybe I got all bent out of shape over it just happening on Google sites, and no one would join me; but now that it's happened in *ALL* sites using Chrome, suddenly everyone's upset. Early warners are never taken seriously, eh? [grin]

    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
    Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

    • Martin Brinkmann January 21, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Gregg, change happens in stages. If you are using Chrome Stable, the change happened recently. If you are using another channel, canary for instance, it happened earlier.

      • Gregg DesElms January 22, 2014 at 8:40 am #

        I see. Interesting. I'm still thinking, though, that what I was complaining about was just the Google sites; because even back then, Chrome -- or even IRON or COMODO DRAGON or Chromium, itself -- displayed the arrow-buttonless sliders on any but Google sites (or the sites of those who intentionally scripted their sites to behave similarly...

        ...and what's happened now, simply, is that Google's put it into Chrome for *ALL* sites.

        If so, then Google's not going to change it back. It didn't listen to us, back in 2011; and, instead, has made it part of Chrome for *ALL* sites.

        Also, just FYI: I've now used the "Win 7 Scrollbars" extension for around 24 hours; and it's definitely better than my earlier-mentioned Rescroller.

        Rescroller's cool, don't get me wrong; but it definitely takes some serious work, using graphic files, to make it look exactly like the original scrollers; and -- and this is even more important -- Rescroller seems to need a moment, once a page is first landed on, to kind of figure things out; and so it delays appearing a bit (can even appear, then disappear for a moment, and then reappear), after which it stays and behaves just fine. But it's still kinda' irritating.

        Your recommended "Win 7 Scrollbars," though, just works; looks right, and doesn't exhibit any of Rescroller's oddities. I can still recommend Rescroller for anyone who wants its kind of customization...

        ...but, honestly, to just bring back the scrollers in a both reliable and no-nonsense way -- the way we've known them since the beginning of the Worldwide Web part of the Internet, itself -- it's "Win 7 Scrollbars" for me. Thank you!

        It's misnamed, though, because the scrollbars it produces are the same ones from back in Win 1.0 days. Win7's got nothing to do with it; and so it's yet another example of young people (in this case, "Win 7 Scrollbars" dev) having no sense, at all, of the past; and a bit of arrogance about their role in the present. Santayana said those who didn't know history were doomed to repeat it (that's a paraphrase, mind you, but it gets the gist of it); today's young people would do well to both learn and grasp the importance of that sage wisdom.

        [sigh] Being old has its frustrations. [grin]

        __________________________________
        Gregg L. DesElms
        Napa, California USA
        gregg at greggdeselms dot com

        Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
        Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

      • SWB January 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

        Gregg,

        I'm the developer of "Win7 Scrollbars."

        If you're seeing Windows 1.0 scrollbars when using it, then something's not working right. I'm 40 years old and have been using PCs since the early 90s (and computers in general since the Atari 400), so I know the difference. :-)

        Here's a visual history of scrollbar design:

        http://pim.famnit.upr.si/blog/index.php?/archives/153-Evolution-and-design-of-scrollbars.html

  15. George Lamson January 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    I could live without the up/down arrows although I really prefer to have them. Unfortunately, it is the fact that on many pages the scroll bars don't work at all for scroll bars internal to the page. I find this especially true on Flickr pages and on Facebook pages. This has driven me back to using Firefox for these sites. I understand Google wants to differentiate itself from Microsoft and that's OK with me, but if you are going to make this change you should make darn sure of the execution before you screw up the stability of the browser. I have to admit that using Firefox again is not that bad and if Google insists on screwing up Chrome to spite Microsoft that I will probably shift my primary browser back to Firefox.

  16. Guest January 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Having discovered the problems with Chrome's scrollbar yesterday (it worked fine a few days previously), I must say that I am not amused at all.

    The slider is not "clickable" using a laptop with touchpad. The up / down scrollbar arrows cannot be used as a failsafe because they have been removed on some obscure whim. I had to resort to using the keyboard arrow keys.

    The reason that all these methods exist is to accommodate different users using different interfaces, with varied accessibility, knowledge and so on. Google has spectacularly alienated its core users at a single stroke, turning accessibility into exclusivity.

  17. Lynne Davies January 23, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    thank you it worked!

  18. Paul Evans January 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    This has become a major issue for me, I need to take screenshots of long scrolling pages and they way I do this is with Snag-It where it can capture a whole page based on clicking on the bottom scrollbar - it auto-scrolls down and stitches together the whole page...no scrollbar = no whole page screenshot.

    I would have let Google know on that bug link, but only people with a certain permission can comment.

  19. Tanya January 24, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    Thank you! Win7 Scrollbars extension works very well on my Vista PC.
    The design of the scroll bar is lousy in Chrome.

  20. Encita January 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Oh thank you, I thought I had stuffed something up. I will try this hack and hope Chrome sees sense

  21. vlynns January 25, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    Thank you! Thought I was going crazy. It's an annoyance but at least now I know its not just me and that Google is aware of the issue. I think I'll just tolerate it for now and hope they fix it in the next release. But, it is frustrating. I'm one that likes to tap the down arrow to go down a line at a time, and now I'm stuck having to click and drag.

  22. Dinesh Ramakrishnan January 25, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Thanks for the tip. It's working. Everyday I browse the web using chrome browser. It's true that even the minor update sometimes annoying. I purely depend on scroll bar arrows to scroll the web page.

  23. Rob January 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    The extension enables slide bar in drop box, immediate problem solved. Larger problem is Google constantly making changes that are not an improvement for everyone and there is never any notification that the change has taken place or how to deal with it. I work with computers 8 - 10 hours a day, they are a tool. I'm reasonable competent but by no means a geek. Shouldn't need to stop doing what I'm doing and determine why there is a problem and how to fix it. Maybe time to change back to IE.

  24. Daniel Odulo January 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    This must be such an embarrassment for Google! This not only affects the scroll of the main window, but EVERYTHING, down to drop-down/combo boxes, which became impossibly difficult to use while these imbeciles take their time to fix their mess-up! Such level of incompetence from a company such as Google is beyond comprehension. Their solution should have been firing the entire team responsible for that module.

    My biggest issue is the (now completely useless) scroll bar within the combo boxes, which the recommended extension does not appear to resolve. So - either wait for Google to fix the screw-up, or downgrade.

  25. CoolRaoul January 27, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Just received the latest Chrome stable channel update ("32.0.1700.102m"): even if the new design (flat and without arrows) is still there, scrollbards in subwindows/combo boxes are working proprely now (can also be scrolled with the mouse)

  26. Parm Bilkhu January 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    You genius! Thank you, Google Chrome was driving me crazy without the scrollbar arrows!

  27. lc January 28, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    I installed the scrollbars. It worked for a day or two, but today it's gone. When I go back to re-install, google says I already have them. But I don't. Bummed.

  28. Nadia January 29, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    Thank you so much! This was DRIVING ME CRAZY! :)

  29. sabrina January 30, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    And what of us poor outmodes on a lappy???? Its been driving me insane I have to click with one hand and move the scroll bar up and down with the other! This little lappy can't handle most pages as its only got a 15" screen so I have to scroll side to side and up and down. (Why web site makers cannot just add some coding to make webpages adjustable I do not know! I used to add it into my webpages back in the 2000's). We're in the age of money it seams as if anything a 'team' of plebs can 'invent' as a reason for doing some work so they can claim overtime gets approved by managers so that they too can look important! Frustrates me that efficiency and effectiveness as well as good old fashioned brain cells have gone from most large companies! How about some customer service for christ sake! since when did competitive companies get to control our choices in products? I'm marching my preverbial arse to another web browser as this one is always crashing and doesn't put its customers first clearly!

  30. Belinda January 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Martin,

    You are my hero! Thank you so much for this tutorial. It was an easy fix and now my scroll bar arrow is back!

  31. Claude February 2, 2014 at 4:41 am #

    It's annoying not to have the arrows at the top and bottom anymore. Used to be when I could place the cursor on the bottom arrow and with one hand, click to move the page up gradually as I read/need. Now, when I click at the bottom, the page jumps too far and I have to use the now skinny scrollbar to move it back down. I hesitate to go in to try to download to get the arrows back, concerned that I might mess up something else - not confident with downloads. It wasn't broken, why did it need "fixing"?

  32. Pippa February 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    My issue is the lack of scroll wheel. I am constantly forgetting that chrome is without that funvtion now and it drives me insane. I moved to chrome a few years ago as I wasn't keen on IE or firefox. I really like it for everything else but unfortunately I need my scroll wheel functionality back so I may have to look elsewhere. Why in this society where personal freedom is so cherished do we as consumers not get choice in these things? Surely we should be able to customize something like this to suit our individual needs?????? Or is that too logical?

  33. xaxa February 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    Welcome to future...mouse with wheel :O

    • Levy Smith February 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      If it ain't broken, don't fix it. The scrollbar arrow feature is minimally invasive and hardly noticeable if you do not use them. The thing with "future" technology is that if you try to force it upon people, they'll go find other means of acquiring what they need (in this case uninstall Google Chrome and load another web browser).

      FYI, mouse and wheel have been around for ages, it is not a thing of the future but a thing of the past. A thing of the future is scrolling with your eyes, a feature some phones already have.

  34. Levy Smith February 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    I've noticed the scroll-bar arrows gone earlier. At first I thought it must be something wrong with my computer where it didn't fully load everything while I was browsing. Then I noticed the same thing on other computers I used and realized it was a design change.

    Please add a link in your post or maybe a sticky to direct us to the Google forum page where people request this feature back. I can easily go search for that forum post, but I'm at work and would rather do work related things rather then surfing the web.

  35. b3hr February 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    Can I use the win7 extension if I am running win XP? If not, what is the solution?

    • Martin Brinkmann February 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      I do not know. I'd guess it works, but I cannot say for sure. Best, just try it out and if it does not work, uninstall the extension again. Please report back if you have tried it out.

    • Gregg DesElms February 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

      You know, @b3hr, it's not going to be too awfully much longer before even only asking a question like yours begins to become unreasonable because of Microsoft's support for XP ending soon; after which it becomes just a hugely bad idea to continue to use it. Would you think it reasonable if someone asked if the extension would run on Win98? Or even WinNT or Win2K? At some point all Windows versions must be retired, and the time of others in the world not wasted with questions about them. I'm sorry.

      Even if you could only afford to step-up to Vista, you could make it quite livable with the various hacks and adjustments that can be found out there which ultimately make it finally work properly without irritating the bejeesus outta' you. Win7 is, you know, really only Vista, but fixed.

      I'm sorry... I don't mean to rag on you, but as I read your question, it was hard not to utter, aloud, to myself, "who cares?" I loved XP... still do. But it's dead, now (or at least soon will be). It's reasonable, then, for others to start becoming intolerant of those who just won't let go of it; and it's equally reasonable, now, finally, for software makers to stop guaranteeing that their stuff will still work on it. Again, I'm sorry... don't mean to make you feel bad; but it's time. Seriously. It's time.

      __________________________________
      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

      Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
      Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

  36. Q February 11, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I have also noticed that in addition to the new/y implemented behavior affecting the scroll UI in in Google Chrome, the scrolling behavior of the mouse scroll is now broken in Chromium Frame / Google Chrome Frame (tested in Chromium Frame 32.0.1700.0 (232870)). This seriously cripples the Chromium Frame.

    • Q February 11, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      After further examination, more than the scroll UI the no longer works in Chromium Frame. Other UI things are also broken (like UI keyboard navigation).

      It might be best to avoid the at least the "31" and "32" version series. The "32" version series seems to yield more problems (tested in Chromium Frame) than the "31" version series (though both have notable malfunctions)

      I have tested version 30.0.1599.0 and have determined the problem does not appear to be present.

  37. caroline February 20, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Thanks for your advice - the extension does the job on our inexpensive laptops exactly as you say.

  38. Chris February 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  39. Aggeingo February 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Thx google, for making my disabled dad not able to read news, browse youtube and such. He controls the pc with his mouth. He can left click, double click and right click. No scrollbar.

  40. Sharon March 1, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I installed the win7 scrollbar extension not long ago. Haven't downloaded any other extensions. Now I have "safe price" adware that pops up in Amazon. Totally bypasses security software. Coincidence? Don't think so.

  41. Terry March 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks so much. works great.

  42. Michelle March 22, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    People who think this is a UI oversight by Google got it wrong. They have some smart cookies working there and they definitely have a major plan for Chrome and Chromium, and it doesn't involved you using this headless browser for automation or other background activities. The reason Google removed the scrollbar and the ScrollTo function hardly works, it because their plan was to remove Webkit as the default Android browser and replace it with a crippled version of Chrome for developers. Why? Because Google are likely using a haedless Chrome browser for their own googlebot scraping and they don't want to include a similarly capable version with Android or Windows, just in case app developers bypass Google's own websites and develop any useful applications for the public. Same as what Twitter did with its popular API, it effectively shut it down. Google knows the Webview is the key to consumer eyeballs and they don't like it. They're stuck with Chromium for Android but they would rather cripple it than give developers full functionality. Their V8 Javascript engine is embedded in the browser and written in C, too much power for developers to handle and may take eyeballs away from Google's all ancompassing apps. For all they say, Google do NOT want an ecosystem of apps, they want to BE the ecosystem themselves. Anything with half a brain could've seen it coming over the past few years.

    • SAUNDRA BLACKWELL March 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      DEAR SIR, MY ARROW INDICATORS DISAPPEARED, ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE, I AM NOT A COMPUTER TECH

      AT ALL JUST A REGULAR USER.

      I AM FINDING OUT THAT THE STUPID DUMP-- HIGH TECH MINDS ARE AT IT AGAIN. JUST DOING MESS WITHOUT

      CONSIDERING THE OUTCOME FOR JUST PLAIN FOLKS.

      THANKS FOR LISTENING

  43. Some guy April 9, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    It's not just Google that is pulling this kind of crap, but they are particularly egregious. Look at gmail... No sort feature. They say the search replaces it, but that's BS. If I do a search that pulls up 1000 emails, guess what helps me find what I'm looking for a little better? A sort feature. That's like saying that an automatic transmission replaces the need for brakes.

    I'm getting really tired of this "streamlining" crap that the tech world has been shoving on us because they're reaching the end of Moore's law and can't rely on more powerful, higher capacity tech to get their lazy code to work right anymore. Make your changes invisible, don't remove essential parts of the user experience!

    I know that's not all it is, of course. It's also the Apple Aesthetic. No buttons. No wires. And too many words or even pictures? Right out. Except that's only really fine if you're a great-grandma using facebook to look at pictures of her grandbabies. For people like me who have used computers for 20+ years, this kind of crap just makes it harder to do what we've been able to do all this time.

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