MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers

May, 2006


Here's more than you ever wanted to know about scrollbars. When will you have a scrollbar? What's a thumb and how do you move one? There are some handy hints for moving through your messages.

When They Appear

Whenever an area gets too short (vertically or horizontally) to show everything inside, a scrollbar pops up. This goes for buttonboxes, too -- you can scroll through the buttons! If you want to experiment, try using the grips to make a buttonbox smaller.

Length and Position of the Thumb

The thumb (the movable part of the scrollbar) tells you about the text you're viewing. The thumb's length shows what percentage of the text you're seeing. The length of the thumb is inversely proportional to the length of the text -- the shorter the thumb, the longer the text. The thumb's position shows what part of the text you're seeing. If the thumb is at the top of the scrollbar, you're seeing the top of the message. If the top of the thumb is about three-fourths of the way down the scrollbar, you're about three-fourths of the way through the message. And so on.

Moving the Thumb

To see different parts of the message, move the thumb. Do that by clicking one of the mouse buttons and, sometimes, sliding the mouse:

Button 2
The second button relates the position of the message in the window to where you move the pointer. Button 2 is probably the most flexible and is the one I usually use:
Button 1
The first button moves the line of text at the right of the pointer to the top of the area. I like to use this for scrolling forward through the text:
Button 3
The third button moves the line at the top of the window down to the pointer's location. Think of it as the opposite of the first button. I use it for scrolling backward through text: