Chrome Smooth Scrolling: finally coming to Windows and Linux

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 8, 2016
Updated • Jan 8, 2016
Google Chrome

Google software engineer Steve Kobes announced yesterday that the company is about to enable smooth scrolling in Google Chrome on Windows and Linux.

This resolves one of the longest standing feature requests for the Chrome web browser dating back to September 3, 2008.

Google Chrome users on non-Mac devices had little recourse previously but to rely on extensions such as Chromium Wheel Smooth Scroller or Smooth Key Scroll to improve the scrolling behavior of the web browser.

While those improved the scrolling usually, they all had drawbacks like disabling threaded scrolling because of their reliance on wheel event handlers.

Some websites and services even implemented smooth scrolling on the server side for Chrome web browsers by scanning user agents but that led to bugs as well.

Chrome Smooth Scrolling

Google plans to enable smooth scrolling in Chrome 49 on all supported platforms with the exception of Mac Os X.

chrome smooth scrolling

The reason why Mac OS X versions of the browser are not covered is simple: smooth scrolling for Mac devices has already launched and been available for some time.

Chrome users not yet on version 49 of the browser may enable the feature in the following way before it launches officially:

  1. Type chrome:/flags in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
  2. Search for the flag enable-smooth-scrolling, for instance by hitting F3 to use on-page find.
  3. Click on the "enable" link".
  4. Click on the relaunch now button.

Smooth scrolling is enabled in Chrome afterwards. You may flip the preference again at any time to disable the feature which can be useful if you notice issues after enabling it. It can also be of assistance when Google enables the feature by default, as it allows you to disable it again using the flag.

Please note that Google may remove the preference in the future.

Smooth scrolling affects scrolling behavior with the mouse or keyboard. It is not applied to input gestures, and won't resolve "browser jank" caused by performance issues.

Google plans to enable smooth scrolling in Chrome 49 unless last minute bugs delay the release.

In other news, Mozilla improved scrolling in the Firefox web browser recently as well by enabling APZ.

Now You: Do you notice a difference after enabling the feature?

Smooth Scrolling finally coming to Chrome for Windows and Linux
Article Name
Smooth Scrolling finally coming to Chrome for Windows and Linux
Google plans to enable smooth scrolling in Chrome on Windows, Linux and Android when version 49 of the browser is released.
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  1. Slam said on March 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    The Smooth Scrolling causes the glitch of fixed headers.

  2. Louis Yang said on March 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    The Scrolling becomes laggy after I enable this flag.

  3. Paddy said on March 4, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    I always turned off Smooth Scrolling in IE and Firefox, it just looked and felt weird to me. Switching it off on Chrome too, now.

  4. D. said on January 9, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Works great. Thanks…

  5. Pierre said on January 9, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I don’t like smooth scrolling : I fond it very unpleasant
    I abandoned Edge at once for this reason

    1. DaveyK said on January 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I feel the same. It’s always the first thing I switch off in Pale Moon. Each to their own, but I’m personally not bothered by animated effects when scrolling.

  6. Teiji said on January 9, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I use the SmoothScroll extension. It works wonderfully and even has presets like iPhone, Opera, IE scrolling. If Chrome’s implementation is as good in v49, then I won’t need to use this extension.

  7. lance said on January 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Enabling that slowed scrolling down no end.Tried it,& sacked it.

  8. seeprime said on January 8, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Smooth scrolling is a nice improvement. Thanks!

  9. Joe Spillman said on January 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for this Martin!

  10. Anonymous said on January 8, 2016 at 5:16 am


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 8, 2016 at 5:24 am

      Right, haha ;)

      1. John said on January 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

        You can always just put “chrome://flags/#enable-smooth-scrolling” into the adress bar.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 8, 2016 at 7:02 pm

        John thanks.

  11. juju said on January 8, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Steve Kobes sounds like a fake name. Name that porn “star” would have.

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