Automation is one of the most important keys to maximum productivity. Think how painstaking day-to-day work at a desk would be if there weren’t simple keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + A to select all text, or Ctrl + LMB (left-click) to open a link in a new tab.
Modern browsers do a good job of basic keyboard shortcut functions like navigating between tabs, changing the zoom level, stopping the page from loading, and more. However, autoscrolling is largely ignored, despite being extremely useful.
If you have an external mouse and are running Windows, chances are good that you will be able to middle click. Middle-clicking on an area of ??a web page in most modern browsers will turn your cursor into a multidirectional crosshair. When you move your mouse away from the starting point of this crosshair, the page automatically scrolls.
However, did you know that Mac and Linux users are not offered this feature at all? Some websites may also explicitly block automatic scrolling. It is also possible that you are running Windows but do not have a middle-click mouse, or your laptop trackpad does not support three-finger click. In these cases, you’re out of luck – or not?
Google Chrome: Use the AutoScroll plugin
If you are using Chrome, it is much easier to use an extension built specifically for that browser. We found that no other Chrome extension can match AutoScroll when it comes to simulating the auto-scroll feature when the middle Windows button is pressed.
To install AutoScroll, go to the extension page and click the Add to Chrome button. When finished, you should see a multidirectional cross in the extensions bar to the right of the address bar.
For the extension to work properly, you need to restart Chrome. You can do this manually by closing and reopening your browser, or if you want to save your tabs, type “chrome: // restart” in the address bar and press Enter.
After restarting Chrome, right-click the AutoScroll extension’s icon and select Options.
All options here speak for themselves, except for those indicated in the base table. These options allow you to set the range of pixels within which the cursor must remain to activate auto scrolling.
The only initial changes we recommend here are to optionally disable one of the bottom two parameters in the base table. If you are already using the MMB (middle click) or Ctrl + LMB (left click) keyboard shortcuts for other purposes, you can disable one of them to prevent conflicts.
After that test how AutoScroll works by going to a website with scrolling content – I suggest Support Geek . Press MMB or Ctrl + LMB to see if the extension is working. You should see a bi-directional crosshair under the cursor. Although the up and down directions are only visually displayed, you can also scroll left, right, and diagonally in any direction.
Other browsers: Use Autoscroll Bookmarklet
The bookmarklet Autoscroll was developed by Tim Harper in 2008 and still works today. To use it, simply turn on your browser’s bookmarks bar, which is usually below the address bar, press and hold the large Auto-Scroll link on the page, and drag it up to the bookmarks bar
If you cannot find where to enable the bookmark bar, right-click in the address bar area of ??the browser user interface. You should see an option to enable it there, although in some browsers it might be called the favorites bar.
If done correctly, you should see a new bookmark in the bookmarks bar labeled “Autoscroll”. Below is what it looks like in Firefox, but it should look the same in every modern web browser.
This little bookmarklet is very powerful. To make sure it works in your current browser, click on any scrolling web page. The default speed is very slow, but then you should notice that it scrolls down. You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to control the Autoscroll bookmarklet while scrolling:
- 0-9 – sets the scrolling speed (the higher the faster)
- – (minus) – decreases the scrolling speed.
- = (equal) – increases the scrolling speed
- Shift + – (minus) – quickly decreases the scrolling speed
- Shift + = (equal) – quickly increases the speed scrolling.
- Q – stops scrolling.
Both of these solutions should give you all the tools you need to automatically scroll as you read, reach the bottom of an infinitely scrolling web page, and any other purpose for which you need automatic scrolling. Enjoy!