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WikiProject Computing (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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Who designed it, Xerox PARC? I have no idea)

  • I vaguely remember that Bill Atkinson did for the Lisa project at Apple, but I don't have any sources for that. I've got my eyes open.--AviDrissman 16:53, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Has anybody else had problems with scrolling since they uploaded the latest Windows update? Now when I scroll, it wants to jump two pages instead of just one. RickK 04:31, 7 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Scrollbar: is the thing you move from left to right and up and down  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 5 September 2007 (UTC) 

Origin of the name "scrollbar"[edit]

It has been suggested [1] [2] that the name "scrollbar" is derived as a metaphor from the noun scroll. I can't find a verifiable source for this etymology, though. --Jruderman 18:58, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Pretty sure that the idea of "scrolling" a computer display is derived from the use of the teleprinter as a computer output device. In the early days of computing, before display screens, computers would print all their output to these devices, which would necessarily have large rolls of paper. After display tubes ("glass teletypes") replaced them, the idea of "scrolling" through screenfulls of text remained. (As the article notes, many teletype-era conventions remain to this day, such as the control characters in ASCII.) But I don't have any verifiable sources for any of this, either. But Merriam-Webster does date the verb form of "scroll" ("to progress, move, or be revealed as if by the unrolling of a scroll") to 1973. If I had access to the OED, that might settle this question.Exia (talk) 17:02, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Poor User Interface Design[edit]

I think mention should be made that the scrollbar is regarded as an example of poor user interface design. Experienced users do not recognize this through years of familiarity but novice computer users find it counter-intuitive that to move the document down you move the scrollbar up.

This boils down to whether the user thinks of moving the viewer or the "viewee". It is more intuitive to think of moving what you are looking at, as in many applications (eg Adobe Reader) where you can drag the document in any direction using the mouse. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

"Poor user interface design" is subjective, but if you can cite a verifiable source for that opinion, I think it would belong in the article. A Pattern O (talk) 03:37, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps we should add a small section on how the size and position of a scrollbar is determined. Historically a scrollbar is one of the more complex basic user interface tools. The actual mathematics as such depends on the size of the document to be scrolled in a particular direction, the viewable area in that direction, the maximum and the minimum size of the scroll bar, and the current position of the document being viewed along that axis.

The size of the scrollbar is directly proportional to the location and size of the view box on the medium. So basically h = \max(s\frac{v}{w}\,\bmod\,s,m), where h is the handles length, v is the view port size, m is the minimal scrollbar size, s is the size of the scrollbar and w is the size of the document. Modulo operation to prevent the scrollbar to be larger then the maximum allowed if the window is smaller then the view port, and the max function to ensure it does not get to small. In some cases the size of the window could be rounded up to a power of two so that a bit shift could be used instead of a division for quicker calculation. (and indeed a min function instead of a modulo, which may be quicker with the use of boolean logic).

The positioning follows a similar formula and is relative to the position of the medium behind the view port, or alternatively the position of the view port over the media. There is special case for the bottom of the view in the case of the minimal size for the scrollbar being reached. y = t\frac{s}{w}, where y is the position of the edge of the handle, s is the size of the scrollbar, t is the top of the length of the area 'above' the viewport, and w is the size of the document.

--Chase-san (talk) 21:31, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Any info on customizing scrollbars?[edit]

I'm not sure how-to info is appropriate, but many current GUIs either delete scrollbars (recent versions of Ubuntu) or make exceedingly narrow scrollbars (recent versions of MacOS) which can be an ergonomic hazard for users who are clumsy or have arm/hand injures. Something on this, and maybe a link to info on how to solve this, might be appropriate to the article. (talk) 00:04, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Spelling is scroll bar not scrollbar[edit]

This whole article has one glaring mistake. Scroll bar is two words, not one. You'll see "ScrollBar" without a space used in code that accesses the library to render one, but that's because spaces aren't allowed in names, and even then you can tell it's supposed to represent two words because of the capitalization. See an example here: On the same page, you'll also see the correct English spelling used in the explanation text as two words. 2606:6000:FFC0:6:6015:96A6:563:FECD (talk) 00:08, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, but ya know what: "scroll bar" is on the page, as well as "scrollbar" and "scroll-bar". Google indicates that the spelling is commonly misunderstood. Even a respectable-looking place like YourDictionary inconsistently uses 2 spellings on the same page! The Cambridge Dictionary would seem to be the most authoritative resource on-line, so I think we should go w/that. AngusCA (talk) 19:24, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Looks like Cambridge Dictionary agrees with the Microsoft example, as does FOLDOC Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing. The proper spelling is two words. Who agrees that we should change the article title from Scrollbar to Scroll Bar? (talk) 05:11, 2 May 2015 (UTC)