Show or Hide Google Chrome Scrollbar (Overlay-Scrollbars)

Whether you have a small screen and you’re trying to maximize screen space or just find the scrollbar is getting in the way, Chrome offers a way you can go in and hide your scrollbar. Similarly, if you have a Chromebook or other operating system that automatically hides this and you’d like to show your scrollbar, you can use these same steps to go in and show it as well.

How to show or hide your scrollbar

  • Start by opening a new Chrome window or tab.
  • At the top of your window in the URL address bar, copy and paste the following: chrome://flags/
  • The page should show multiple drop-down menus saying either ‘Default’ ‘Enabled’ or ‘Disabled’ with a warning at the top of the page saying:
    WARNING: EXPERIMENTAL FEATURES AHEAD! By enabling these features, you could lose browser data or compromise your security or privacy. Enabled features apply to all users of this browser.”
    • They need to give you this warning because these are developer options that can make major changes to your browser. You are modifying the program settings that Chrome has already decided are the best settings for their users.
    • Be sure not to modify anything, unless you know what settings you’re about to change! If you make a mistake, select the “Reset all to default” button located in the top right-hand corner of the page, then restart your browser.
  • Next you’ll need to find and locate ‘Overlay Scrollbars’.
  • Using your keyboard, hold “Ctrl+F”.
  • In the top right-hand corner of your screen, just below the URL bar should now be a small search bar. Type in: Overlay Scrollbars
    • Note: You can also skip the search option and simply scroll through the page to find it.
  • Once you’re able to find Overlay Scrollbars you’ll click the drop down menu adjacent to it, then select your preferences.
  • Your options will be:
    • Default – Default chooses the option Chrome has decided is best for their users.
      • For this setting specifically, Chrome keeps this disabled, which means the scroll bar would be showing.
    • Enable – Enable hides the toolbar. It prevents your scrollbar from appearing, requiring you to hover your mouse over the edge of your window to trigger the scrollbar to appear.
    • Disable – Disable shows the toolbar. This will make the toolbar automatically appear, provided the page is long enough to extend past the page requiring you to scroll.

When you hear ‘Enable’ its reasonable to assume this would show your toolbar, not hide it. However, the term corresponds with the Developer setting we are changing. So when it says Disable, you are disabling this developer option, not disabling the toolbar itself.