In Mountain Lion scroll bars are turned off by default, and are only seen if actively scrolling.

How do you enable them, so that they are seen all the time ?


See screenshot. Change the radio button for Show Scroll Bars to Always. To access this screen, go to System Preferences -> General.

enter image description here


Terminal Command

Alternatively, if you like Terminal commands (for scripting or BetterTouchTool gestures), you can set scroll bars to always be shown with the following command:

defaults write -g AppleShowScrollBars -string Always

To reset this, you can use the following command:

defaults write -g AppleShowScrollBars -string WhenScrolling

You may have to restart the app (or Finder: killall -HUP Finder) for the change to take effect.

Per App Setting

As well as being set globally, these Terminal commands can be used to change the scroll bars specifically per app.

defaults write com.apple.Terminal AppleShowScrollBars -string Always

Replace com.apple.Terminal with the bundle identifier of the app that you want to change.

  • 2
    You definitely like your Terminal commands, Applescripts & Automations :)
    – Simon
    Aug 26 '13 at 14:25
  • 2
    @grarside For the sake of simplicity (or for people who know nothing about Terminal Commands etc, whichever way you look at), I shall accept Dave's answer as the correct one. However your knowledge as per my comment above is excellent !!
    – Simon
    Aug 26 '13 at 14:38

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