Visual Studio 2013 – Enhanced Scrollbar

When a Visual Studio edition releases much work is undertaken with the Visual Studio Productivity Tools to experiment and try new features that may be broadly useful to developers to incorporate into the Visual Studio product. One such new feature that falls in this category is the enhanced scrollbars that have now been incorporated into the Visual Studio 2013 release.

The first and most visible feature difference are annotations which in the Visual Studio 2013 Preview appear to be turned on by default. Annotations are small colour markers within the scrollbar showing areas of interest within your code, such as the current caret position, code changed since last save, the position of errors or warnings or the position of breakpoints within code. Having these markers within your code help navigate around to areas of interest.


A further feature of scrollbars is placing the scrollbars into a preview mode that turn the scrollbar itself into a shrunk down visualisation of your code in-place in the scroll window allowing you to move around your code in a visual manner using your understanding of the code layout to faster move the code to areas you wish to view in the main code window.

As you can see in the image below the map mode is turned on for the scrollbar, but also a preview pane is enabled to a preview of the code within the toolbar before moving the viewport.


To edit scrollbar preferences, such as the map mode, or to control annotations is easiest found by right clicking on the scrollbar itself and selecting “Scrollbar Options”. To enable the map mode and the preview select “Use map mode for vertical scrollbar” and “Show Preview Tooltip” as shown in the below dialog.


Who knew that scrollbars could be so useful. Hope you like the feature.


Comments (12)

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  1. Ganesh Agrawal says:

    Interesting feature. Should be very helpful. I am going to try it now.

  2. Froogabadoodle says:

    Very cool features.  So far, I am loving VS 2013.  Especially the in-line reference listing within the code files.  Love that.

  3. Thanks for the info Colin.  Looking forward to using these features in production.

  4. amin-kargar says:

    Thanks for the info

  5. Felix says:

    Missing: Words matching the caret location. Productivity Power Tools for VS2012 had color marks for these.

  6. Paul says:

    Please bring back the full option of the scroll bar in the VS2012 productivity power tools. One of the best features was the Words matching caret location, why has this gone and why can I no longer customise the colours?

  7. João says:

    I also agree customising the colors of the enhanced scrollbar was a really good feature in 2012 productivity power tools. It was very helpful, for example, in knowing wich code was collapsed. Please bring it back!

  8. @Paul @João Great feedback. You can vote on our uservoice site here..

  9. Colin Fraser says:

    Great feature, but in bar mode, when there are a lot of marks, it's difficult to spot the viewport location (don't know if that's the right name for it) amongst them.  I haven't found an option where I can change its colour to improve the contrast

  10. Yogurt says:

    Can't we get back the standard scroll bars? These slightly darker gray-on-gray thumbs are barely visible. On my colleague's computer they aren't visible at all in the Light theme.

    The colored stripes are nice and useful but the scroll thumb should be clearly visible and pop out of other parts of the bar.

    As for the preview-type scroll bar, it has very little use unless you have files with only a few hundred lines. Unfortunately, for our stone-age source heritage this is not the case.

  11. says:

    Ability to right click on scrollbar and check boxes or uncheck all and turn off all of those scroll bar enhancement. Having to guess which one is the main scroll bar (gray) is a real pain. Then having to look around on how to turn them off is even more fun and time consuming.

    Hope it helps

  12. apozdol says:

    I concur with Yogurt, can hardly see the scroll bar itself, even after turning all the other stuff off

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