More and more of the Google web apps replace their scroll bars with CSS based ones that require a mouse to scroll (traditional scroll bar control based ones allow you to use the keyboard for scrolling).

What ways are there to force the Goolge web site products (like Google Reader, Google Mail, Google Plus) to traditional scroll bar controls in various web browsers?


It seems that the keyboard only works with the "main" scroll bar on a page. Since the CSS does not allow you to put the focus on other scrollable areas on a page.

I've tried this in GMail, Google Plus and Google Reader in Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer (and if I remember, the behaviour is the same in Apple Safari and Mozilla FireFox as well).

The "main" (usually the list of messages) scrollable area scrolls with the up/down arrows of the keyboard.

Other scrollable areas (folder list, chat contacts list, etc) cannot be scrolled with the keyboard, but can be scrolled with the mouse wheel.

  • I am not aware of this. Can you post a screenshot of such scroll bar? Which browser are you using?
    – iglvzx
    Mar 13, 2012 at 19:04
  • 2
    In GMail I can use the arrows and PageUp/Down to scroll. Same in Reader. What doesn't work for you? Note: I'm using the new interface to GMail.
    – uSlackr
    Mar 13, 2012 at 19:22
  • @uSlackr, iglvzx: see the edit. Let me know if that explains the situation better. Mar 14, 2012 at 16:38
  • @JeroenWiertPluimers: Secondary scrollbars have never been controllable by keyboard right away. You have to focus the cursor on them to use keyboard.
    – dnbrv
    Mar 16, 2012 at 1:25
  • In the past, you could give those secondary scrollbars focus. I can't any more. Need to find out why. Might ask a new question about that. Main question still says: it even fails with the main scrollbars. Apr 24, 2012 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


Your best solution for now is to use a browser that doesn't support webkit-scrollbar, as if a page has that CSS, your browser will use it.

Here's an explanation why it cannot be "disabled":

::-webkit-scrollbar cannot be simply overridden to get the default style, the only way to do it is to remove all ::-webkit-scrollbar rules from the code. At that point, scrollable areas have to be forced to redraw the scrollbars. To do that you either quickly add and remove display:none; from or do the same thing with overflow:hidden; on scrollable elements. The problem with the first one is that the page flashes white at every page load; the second one is resource-intensive as it would have to whether check any element on the page overflows—not ideal.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.