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Mac OS X Horizontal Scroll Trick

logitechv270.jpgJust stumbled across a cool little Mac OS X trick today:

1. Open an application where you must scroll horizontally to see information — like an image file in Fireworks, Photoshop or Illustrator that's been zoomed large.

2. Hold the shift key and use your mouse scroll wheel — the screen will now scroll horizontally!

This appears to be an OS X system level feature, so it should work in any app where you can scroll horizontally, though I have not tested it deeply just yet.

I don't know how well known this trick is among Mac users (it was certainly a surprise to me), but I'm already finding it indispensable in detailed graphics work.

Enjoy! :-)

Reader Comments (21)

This is very cool and interesting thanks.
September 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCrackedButter
Very interesting, and what puzzles me the most is, that I found out, by coincidence yesterday, while browsing in Safari, so this is not new to me ;-)
September 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichel Christensen
I've been using this trick for so long now that when I use a Might Mouse I mistakenly try it. I still try to use the shift key to scroll horizontally, even though the scroll ball can scroll horizontally without the shift key.
September 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Escobar
Windows has the same feature, if you hold the control key.
September 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEric
If you hold the control key on the mac it zoom...

September 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
doesn't appear to work with the mighty mouse. :(
September 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjosh
the mighty mouse has the horizontal scroll built in...
September 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermichael
Shift doesn't work for me, but Command does. So far, I've tested this trick in Cubase and Photoshop. Thanks!

[My keys aren't remapped, but I do have drivers installed for a Logitech mouse and a Matias keyboard, so who knows.]
September 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterC
Windows has the same feature, if you hold the control key.

Not system-wide. Windows has the idiotic feature of scrolling sideways if the window isn't big enough to need to scroll top to bottom. Handy! :-|
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercolin
I've been affected by this for at least a year or more. I say 'affected' because it's not so much a feature as it is a bug.

SHIFT is used to extend a selection, so when using it and wanting to scroll the view vertically (to get a longer selection), instead you get treated to a horizontal scroll. Wow, nice and obtuse.

Perhaps this will eventually get mapped to CTRL scroll or something else less offensive than SHIFT.
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBruno
I can't be the only one who figured this out two years ago!

For Bruno, and anyone else:To extend a text selection by a single character, use Shift + Left/Right Arrow keys.To extend a text selection by a line, use Shift + Up/Down Arrow keys.

Yes, perhaps it should be the Option or Control key when you want to scroll horizontally with the wheel, but so what? Why should it matter what other key is held down to adjust the axis of the scroll wheel? It has little berring as an editing tool -- it's meant primarily for navigation.
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDown10
Nice trick!

I find the two finger scroll option with trackpads even more handy, since you can scroll in any arbitrary direction.
September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPygy
Awesome tip Mike! Works in Firefox as well, I just tested it in this page, I assume it's system-wide.

I already knew about using the command key and scroll wheel to increase/decrease font sizes in Firefox. Also, you can do zooming with Google Maps without a modifier key.

(And I use a cheapy Logitech mouse...)
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPete Prodoehl
Thanks for the notes everyone -- seems this was popular with Jon Gruber and several other Mac blogs too. Great!
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

Great, thanks for the tip.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohannes

You rock! Thanks for the great tip
Worked for me with Logitech M570 on Mac OS 10.6.8

November 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Unfortunately Apple has removed this feature in Mountain Lion entirely.
One of many drawbacks in their "progress".

March 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFelix

so many years on a Mac and I did not know it... thanks, man!
and it is not removed in Mountain Lion, works just fine.

June 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentershpokas
Man. This tip is awersome! I never liked Magic Mouse, so I use a Razer Orochi mouse and the horizontal scroll was the only thing missing to me. Thanks a lot.
April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKalil Maciel
Thank you soooo much for this !!!!!!
September 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWouter
This really helps! Thanks a lot from Russia!!
May 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIvan

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