There’s been some noise on the ‘net about missing scroll up/down buttons in the new Google design. Note that this only affects the browsers based on WebKit (Chrome, Safari and some KDE browsers, to name a few). Here’s a way to fix that.

Update (2014-02-27): User stylesheets have been disabled starting with Chrome 32. If you just want cool scroll-bars, try an extension like Rescroller. If you want to have your stylesheets back, this answer on StackOverflow explains how to do that.

Update (2013-12-23): The horrible extinction of the scroll-bar buttons has spread from GMail to all of Chrome. The style-sheet is now updated to work with recent versions of Chrome and GMail, and look much better than before. The design update is an adaptation of the stylesheet here - I made it a bit simpler (in code) and lighter (in color).

Why are the buttons gone?

As IE before, WebKit has introduced styleable scroll-bars. (Whether that’s a good idea or not is not the point of this article.) The new Google design uses this new feature in a lot of places. This has two effects: 1) the scroll-bars fit in nicely and 2) the scroll buttons are gone. The special CSS selectors provide a very detailed, if verbose, way for making sure the scroll-bars on the site match the design; there’s a great article explaining them at CSS-Tricks.

The solution

I haven’t managed to find a way to disable this feature in Chromium; there’s no way to disable these customized scroll-bars. The best solution I could find is creating visible elements via a user stylesheet where the buttons should be. We can do anything with them, but in this example we’ll just make simple gray boxes.

1. Find the file / text box for custom stylesheets

For Chrome (and Chromium) you’ll need to find a file. The changes will be applied as soon as you save it – there’s no need to restart the browser.

Windows: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\User StyleSheets\Custom.css (%LOCALAPPDATA% is usually C:\Users\username\AppData\Local, where AppData is a hidden folder)

Mac: /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/User StyleSheets/Custom.css Linux: ~/.config/chrom(e|ium)/Default/User StyleSheets/Custom.css

In Safari you don’t even have to leave your browser: you can create stylesheets in the Preferences → Advanced tab. Note that by default you’ll have to restart your browser for changes to take effect. Check out this Macworld hint if you want to work around that.

2. Add custom styles

Any CSS  you enter here will be applied to all pages loaded in the browser. The following snippet makes sure that the scroll up/left button at the start and the scroll down/right button at the end of the scroll-bar are visible as a gray box. It does not contain anything to apply it to only Google applications, but chances are that if you want the scroll buttons here, you’ll want them everywhere.

:-webkit-scrollbar {
    width: 16px !important;
    height: 16px !important;

::-webkit-scrollbar-button:end:increment {
  height: 15px !important;
  width: 13px !important;
  display: block !important;
  background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, right top, color-stop(0%, #ccc), color-stop(100%, #aaa)) !important;

::-webkit-scrollbar-button {
  border: 1px solid #999 !important;

::-webkit-scrollbar-button:vertical:end:decrement {
    display: none;

::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb:vertical {
  width: 15px !important;
  height: 50px !important;
  background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, right top, color-stop(0%, #bbb), color-stop(100%, #888)) !important;
  border: 1px solid #777 !important;
  -webkit-box-shadow: 0 !important;

::-webkit-scrollbar-track-piece {
  background-color: #dddddd !important;