Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Left Sided Windows Scrollbars? 255

Posted by Cliff
from the hasn't-X11-done-this-already dept.
Skin and Blister asks: "Years ago mouse manufacturers realized that not everyone is right handed and (thankfully) created the option of reversing the mouse buttons to accommodate left handed users. Now that laptops (and obviously tablets) have integrated touch technology, the new challenge for south paws is to use a stylus in the left hand to manipulate a scroll bar on the right side of an open window. Does anyone know if there is a way to move scroll bars to the left side of a window in Microsoft Windows XP Pro?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Left Sided Windows Scrollbars?

Comments Filter:
  • by AlexanderDitto (972695) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @11:42PM (#16057161)
    Flip the screen upside down!

    As a lefty, I experience these sorts of problems on a daily basis. Spiral notebooks are a pain, scissors are impossible, and I worry about my efficiency on my Nintendo DS. I lose a substancial number of Bells every day in Animal Crossing. Such a waste!

    Those little things no righty ever thinks about. Heck, grab your favorite pencil or pen, hold it in your right hand, and read the markings on the pencil. If they're right side up, you've got yourself a right handed pen. Switch to the left side, and the letters are upside down! How disorienting.
    • As the son and the brother of lefties, I understand how hard it can be. However, I also know that there are left-handed scissors if you look around a little. HTH, HAND.
      • Re:That's EASY! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @11:59PM (#16057217) Homepage
        Learn Ambidexterity. I am right handed but learned to do many things with ether hand. It's not that hard once you get used to it. If you really have a hard time, use both hands (ie, 2 hands on a mouse/pen) and change to just the other. You'll be using both soon. It can really impress people. :P
        • by fireman sam (662213) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:02AM (#16057235) Homepage Journal
          And if your arm gets tired, you can always switch... OR, use your right hand for the navigation and your left have for stimulation
          • lol!

            That may go down as one of the great aphorisms, like "red sky at night, sailor's delight".

            I'll say it to myself often, so as not to forget:

            "right for navigation, left for stimulation"

            "right for navigation, left for stimulation"

            :)

        • To some extent, that's what my sister did. She bowls left-handed, but plays golf right-handed. She also uses her right hand for the mouse. Not everybody's that flexable, however.
          • by Omestes (471991)
            I read a book about this, forgot the title, so take this with a grain of salt. It turns out that about 60% of lefties (and a signifigant portion of righties) are ambidextrious. I eat left, bowl right, write left, bat right. General rule is that fine gestures are done by the left hand, and more gross gestures are done by the right. No idea why this is, but it seems a general rule in the majority of left-handers. it might be the mental exercise of developing in a right handed world. (School desks... oh
            • by BluBrick (1924)
              General rule is that fine gestures are done by the left hand, and more gross gestures are done by the right. No idea why this is, but it seems a general rule in the majority of left-handers. I suspect that most people follow their "handedness" for actions requiring more dexterity(*) than strength, whereas actions that require strength are performed with the opposite hand.
              For example, people who drive and smoke will often light the cigarette with their natural hand while steering with their "off" hand.

              As

              • by Omestes (471991)
                * There must be a word better suited to this discussion than dexterity, but it eludes me at the moment. ;-)

                xterity, for the dextrals and sinistrals.
              • by gfxguy (98788)
                No, dexterity is exactly the correct word. I'm a righty, I used my right hand for things requiring dexterity, and my left hand/arm for strength. So I hold the bag of groceries, or my child, in my left hand/arm, while unlocking and opening the door with my right.

                They say most people hold their children with their left arm because we naturally want the baby to hear our heartbeat. What a load of crap. We hold hour children with our left arms because we're using our right hand for other things.
        • by SCPRedMage (838040) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:22AM (#16057311)
          I thought you could only take that feat at first level? Or are you implying that /. readers are a bunch of zero-level NPCs?
        • by beezly (197427)
          One of my friends learned to do this "just in case" she had a stroke.

          Some people are weird.
        • by TeknoHog (164938)
          I'm right handed but I mouse with my left one. It makes a lot of sense for at least two reasons:
          • The mouse is closer to the active typing area of the keyboard
          • It's easier to use kb and mouse simultaneously, as the more dexterous hand is on the keyboard.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by joshetc (955226)
          Exactly. I'm a lefty. I learned how to use a computer mouse with my right hand and have absolutely no problems with it. I'm actually worse with my left hand than my right hand as I've got years of experience with it. One HUGE benefit to being lefty for any males our there. Well you know. Surfing for porn with your right hand.. You can uh, rest your left one on the desk or something.
        • by Abcd1234 (188840)
          Careful, I've run across at least one article [linkshaender-beratung.de] which suggests that "Converting handedness, whether it be from a dominant left hand to a non-dominant right or the reverse, (especially during writing) does not result in a change in cerebral dominance but rather a multifaceted cerebral disturbance or damage" (emphasis mine) that "can then be manifest in the following primary disorders: disturbances in memory for all three areas of information processing (encoding, storage, and recall); difficulty in concentrati
        • This used to be very common back in the day when all students were required to write with the right hand, back when writing lefty was thought to be a preference and not something you are born with.
    • Re:That's EASY! (Score:5, Informative)

      by SQLGuru (980662) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:02AM (#16057228) Journal
      Yeah, I tell people that I hate using right handed pencils.....Ned Flanders rules!

      per the Question:
      Use FireFox for your browser:
      http://geckotip.mozdev.org/index.html [mozdev.org]

      For your Palm (well, your computer kind):
      http://handheld.softpedia.com/get/System-Utilities /LeftScroll-7380.shtml [softpedia.com]

      Layne
    • by slightlyspacey (799665) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:04AM (#16057242)
      The Imaginary Toolstore [zen.co.uk] carries a number of hard to find items. I recently picked up a left-handed screwdriver as well as a stretchable tape measure from them. You may want to shoot them an email inquiry for the left-handed version of XP. I'm sure they'll be quite helpful.
      • I recently picked up a bottle of washing up liquid which was right handed. Really, they'd actually gone to the bother of designing the bottle so it fits the right hand neatly and comfortably making it less comfortable for the left hand. Of course that means that the 10% of the population out there who are lefties have deliberately been ignored by the bottle designer, manufacturer and the washing liquid marketing department.

        e.g.
        http://www.geofftech.co.uk/50pence/photos/fairy_li quid.jpg [geofftech.co.uk]
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by croddy (659025)
          We right-handers generally call that stuff "soap" and just squeeze the thicker bottom of the bottle anyway.

          Don't make life more complicated than it has to be.

    • by edward.virtually@pob (6854) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:16AM (#16057285)
      As another lefty, I know what you mean. Nintendo's Brain Age [amazon.com], which is centered around entering data via the touchscreen while reading text on the other screen, does exactly what you suggest -- it flips the screen upside down if you tell it you're left handed. Unfortunately, most DS titles do not offer this feature.
    • by slashnik (181800)
      Heck, grab your favorite pencil or pen, hold it in your right hand, and read the markings on the pencil. If they're right side up, you've got yourself a right handed pen. Switch to the left side, and the letters are upside down! How disorienting

      Sharpen the other end
      Saw the original point square
      Presto Hey
        a left handed pencil
    • Spiral notebooks are a pain

      Uh, mine are kind of symmetric, aren't yours? Oh, the helix might be right or left handed, but I don't even know which och those is to be preferred.

      I heard someone say that cars with the driver's seat on the left are more suited for left handed drivers since you can keep your strong hand on the wheel when shifting. (You don't drive a slushie, do you?) If you live in a place where they drive on the left side of the road -- my condolences.

    • While I understand the scissors and can well imagine the Nintendo (though I don't know it), I can't understand why spiral notebooks should be a major problem. If the spiral is left or right just depends on whether you write on the "front" or "back" side of the sheets. Since the sheets usually have lines/square on both sides, that's entirely up to you to decide (BTW, I usually write on both sides anyway, so half the pages I use have the spiral on the "wrong" side, and I never experienced any problem with it)
    • by Marillion (33728)
      I used to take the Bic tube pens and pop the ends out and flip the tube. When my parents got personalised pencils (proceeds benefited the school) there was an option to get the name printed so that the name appeared right side up in the left hand.
  • Sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Centurix (249778)
    Buy Nextstep...
    • Or, for OS X... (Score:3, Informative)

      by jcr (53032)
      @interface NostalgicScrollView : NSScrollView
      {
      }
      @end

      @implementation NostalgicScrollView

      - (void)tile
      {
      [super tile];
      id contentView = [self contentView];
      id scroller = [self verticalScroller];

      NSRect contentFrame = [contentView frame];
      NSRect scrollerFrame = [scroller frame];

      [scroller setFrameOrigin:NSMakePoint(0.0, NSMinY(scrollerFrame))];
      [contentView setFrameOrigin:NSMakePoint(NS
  • then create and use a TTF font that is "upside-down", and set your text direction as right-to-left.

    !em rof skroW
    • by morie (227571)
      Setting your text direction the other way will change the position of your scrollbar (was noted above). Essentially, all you have achieved is that the screen wil fill botom to topupwards instead of downwards.
  • but it's application-level for most things. Nothing you can do about it through Windows.
    • If we're going to worry about which side scrollbars should be, we should also worry about minimize, maximize and close bottons. True, you can already do that with the single button on the upper left side of any application, but for consistency's sake, it should be, well, consistent.
  • by phorest (877315) * on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @11:53PM (#16057192) Journal
    Left-Handed Linux could get ~10% of the desktop market!
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @11:54PM (#16057194)
    Most people would find such an interface difficult to use... particularly in countries where people read from left to right.

    A left-sided scrollbar would require you to constantly drag the mouse back over the top of your working area, despite the fact the cursor is more likely to remain present on the right side of the screen when not being actively used for editing. This is also why you often see tool palettes placed on the left side of a working area, since you are likely going to be very near whatever in your work area required a tool change.

    A similarly confusing configuration would be to have your application menus appear at the bottom of the screen and scrolling upward to select the option you need.
    • Most people would find such an interface difficult to use... particularly in countries where people read from left to right.

      A left-sided scrollbar would require you to constantly drag the mouse back over the top of your working area, despite the fact the cursor is more likely to remain present on the right side of the screen when not being actively used for editing. This is also why you often see tool palettes placed on the left side of a working area, since you are likely going to be very near whatever in

    • I have the Firefox extention where the mouse is a little hand, and you can grab and drag a webpage from anywhere (like a PDF) and I realized while reading your comment that I keep the mouse-hand on the left side of the screen, even though I'm using a right handed mouse. People are different. I think the submitter wants it to be an option, not force everyone to have left sided scrollbars. Just like most people don't set their mice to left handed, but it's a great option for those that like it.
  • NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP already do use left-sided scrollbars. This was probably a consequence of using DPS for window drawing, but there you have it.
    • by jcr (53032)
      This was probably a consequence of using DPS for window drawing, but there you have it./I)

      No, DPS had no bearing on how you lay out controls in a window.

      I'd like to seethis implemented as a user preference. It would be very simple to fix at the framework level.

      -jcr
  • The natural motion of a right hander is to slide to the left. If the scroll bar was on the left, it would be easier for a right handed person to slide on over and grab it. I do most of my scrolling using a wheel mouse now anyway.
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      What about us who use touchpads? It seems to be more natural to, uh, er, not use it all. Well, up and down seems more natural, but maybe that's due to scrolling all the time.
  • by edward.virtually@pob (6854) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:03AM (#16057238)
    Left-handedness is an issue with mice. Some are curved to fit the right hand, or have extra button layouts designed to be operated with the right hand. But I fail to see any connection between left-handedness and the aesthetic issue of which side the scrollbars are on. Your left hand is equally capable of moving the mouse left or right. The desire (vs. need) to have the scrollbars on the left is felt by enough people that the X Window Sytem provides this, but I think it unlikely Microsoft will ever go to the effort of making it an option in Windows.
  • by svunt (916464) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:05AM (#16057244) Homepage Journal
    Scroll Lock, then use arrows. As a lefty, I tried seeking software solutions, but just like meatspace, learning to work around things is easier than stocking up on left-handed crap. I use my mousewheel, and I dare say I hit home, end, pageup, pagedown more often than most right-handers. As for the left-handed mouse having the buttons switched, WTF is that about? I haven't found a game where my middle finger can't cope with the clicks yet, is that the supposed benefit of the switch?
    • by Ozwald (83516) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:47AM (#16057397)
      As a lefty, the best kept secret is that we have had the advantage for a long time now. Only we can point and click/drag things on the screen with our right hand while using a pen or typing with the left. Right handed people can't do that. For them, the right hand is the boss. It has to do the mouse, type, write, but can never do all at the same time.

      Of course some of those bastards know this. That's why they add the option to swap the mouse buttons around. It's all evil conspiracy to mess with our heads and take away our advantage.

      Oz
      • by grcumb (781340)

        As a lefty, the best kept secret is that we have had the advantage for a long time now. Only we can point and click/drag things on the screen with our right hand while using a pen or typing with the left.

        BINGO. My computer has a mouse on the right side and there's a stylus and tablet on the left. When I'm doing graphics work - which is a fair amount of the time - I hold the mouse in one hand and the stylus in the other. It's nice to be able to alternate between the two as well, because I have carpal tunne

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SpectreHiro (961765)
        I made a friend of mine very jealous when he was watching me Photoshop one day... One hand on the mouse, the other holding a stylus. I'd kill to actually have two separate cursors (one for each). Sounds like a fun software project, but I don't have the skills just yet.

        Oh the power I would wield. The power.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)
        Only we can point and click/drag things on the screen with our right hand while using a pen or typing with the left. Right handed people can't do that. For them, the right hand is the boss. It has to do the mouse, type, write, but can never do all at the same time.
        Right handed people can do the exact reverse: type with the right hand and mouse with the left. At least that's how I do things when I'n not touch typing with both hands.
      • I dunno, I'm righthanded and I can use the mouse fairly well with both hands. Nowadays for most desktop work I use my left hand for mouse, and for games I might use the right hand.

        I think most people can learn to use either hand to do stuff. It's just not worth the trouble for most.

        Most people's brains are asymmetric and tend to specialize, so even though a person is apparently right handed and they use the right hand exclusively for writing, they may still prefer to use their left hand for rubbing/scratchi
    • by mnmn (145599)

      You have a good point!

      The home pgup pgdown arrow keys and numeric keypad should be moved to the left!!

      I cant wait to debug a lefty's computer as a righty.... hitting ENTER on the left. The left pinky is so underused.
      • by Tharkban (877186)
        I remapped capslock to backspace and my left pinky now has a purpose.
      • by jZnat (793348) *
        You don't consider shift, tab, ctrl, alt, win, and fn to be used enough by your left pinky? I'd say that it's used more than my right pinky (which is just return, shift, /, ;, ', and \).
  • I'll jump on the bandwagon of people that ignore the fact that you specifically state that you're using WinXP Pro and suggest that you switch to a different OS. Scroll bars are on the left in every Plan 9 program I can think of. This is also true in those programs' ports to other OSes (such as wily, the acme clone for Unix). For that matter, most X11 terminal emulators put the scroll bars on the left, and so do some other old X programs...
    • by pilkul (667659)
      Yeah! I also recommend switching to GM's electric car prototype for all your driving needs. Alternatively, try a Model T Ford.
  • If you are using a Right-To-Left language, Windows will reverse most of this stuff for you.

    Of course, this includes menus, windows... everything mirrored.

    It's all or nothing.

  • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @12:45AM (#16057390) Homepage
    On Windows, if you are using a Right-to-left language (such as Hebrew) the scroll bar appears on the left side. It should be possible to customize any locale to put the scroll bar on the left. You'll probably have to resource hack your locale file.
  • by shoolz (752000) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @01:05AM (#16057457) Homepage
    You are asking for an interface standard adjustment that will benifit ALL users, not just lefties.
    • The menus of all apps are on the top left, the furthest away from the scrollbar - just like righties have to use;
    • The start menu for Windows/Linux distros that I've used are on the bottom left, the furthest away from the scrollbar - just like righties have to use
    • The menus of most web sites are on the left, the furthest away from the scrollbar - just like righties have to use;
    • I could go on, but everybody gets my point...
    If you find compy interfaces tough to use, it's not because you're a leftie, it's because these interface wrinkles haven't been ironed out yet for righties OR lefties.
    • by modeless (978411) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @04:48AM (#16057974) Journal
      Scrollbars should die. They are a terrible interface for scrolling, and they should be replaced with something better. The arrow buttons on the top and bottom are useless, the bars are way too thin as mouse targets on today's high resolution screens, yet they take up two whole sides of whatever you're scrolling, the size of the scroller part is often too small, the changing size of the scroller is often inconsistent, the behavior of releasing the drag when the mouse moves too far away is braindead (only Windows does this thankfully), the pageup/pagedown functionality when clicking on an empty area of the scrollbar is unreliable because it stops working when the scroller reaches the mouse pointer, they are *not* at all intuitive (though people have learned to use them), I could go on and on.

      The mouse scroll wheel was a step in the right direction but the implementation sucks there too. It should scroll continuously instead of clicking by lines, it should control the thing under the mouse instead of having its own weird focus rules (again Windows stands alone here), and pushing the wheel button should give scrolling control directly to the mouse Y-axis instead of that weirdo autoscroll thing.
      • The mouse scroll wheel was a step in the right direction but the implementation sucks there too. It should scroll continuously instead of clicking by lines.

        This is an excellent idea!!! It should work like an analog stick: the further you turn it, the faster the page scrolls. And when you let go of it, it returns to neutral position and stops scrolling. The physical appearance of the wheel should remain the same, though.

        Bookmark the parent so you can use it as prior art when the new type of mice hit the

  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @01:21AM (#16057510)
    Shut off the computer and learn to throw (or hit) a fastball
  • Why not just use your right hand to hold the stylus? Sure it would take practice, but if I had to reach across what I was looking at to scroll I'd learn to use my left hand. It can't be that hard.
  • by Aussie (10167)
    in XP
    Ctl+Alt+down arrow

    Voila ! scroll bars on the left :)
    • in XP
      Ctl+Alt+down arrow

      I'm on an XP (Pro) computer and that's not doing anything. What's it supposed to do?
  • I wonder what the problem with mice is for left handed people?

    Let's say you write something down on paper with your left hand. Then the main problem is that your arm is in the way when writing left to right. So left handed people often have their hands all curled up just so they can see what they're writing.

    But with a mouse, there's no arm in the way to hide what's on the screen. So what's the practical advantage of putting a scrollbar on the other side?

    • by munpfazy (694689)
      There is no problem with mice. The problem is touch screens. From the parent post,

      "Now that laptops (and obviously tablets) have integrated touch technology, the new challenge for south paws is to use a stylus. . ."

      But, if you ask me, scroll bars are more or less impossible to use anyway. Give me a rocker button or an equivalent stylus gesture any day. A device that requires dragging scroll bars around with a stylus is broken, no matter which hand you want to use.
  • by ndb (536827) <brownn0@gmail.com> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:13AM (#16058015) Homepage
    Has anyone thought of Ned Flanders' Leftorium? You have to able to find a left-handed WinXP there!
  • Get over it already! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Butterspoon (892614) <Butterspoon+slashdot@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:16AM (#16058019)
    I am strongly left-handed but when I was introduced to this new-fangled mouse thingy, I always moused with my right hand, probably because that was how my desk was laid out at first, and was not very comfortable mousing with the left. Unfortunately, after a few years of intensive Doom-playing (LH on keyboard, RH on mouse), I got a touch of RSI in my right writst which meant that mousing right-handed became painful and I now mouse exclusively with my left hand. (I only switch over when playing a FPS.)

    Anyway, to the point in hand: I'm well aware of and irritated by the "dextrism" that pervades manufacures goods (numeric keypad on the right is my pet peeve) but honestly I had never given the position of the scroll bar a second thought until I read this article. It's just a waste of effort to have to acquire a left-handed version of every common product, and if you've got to the point where you're complaining about where the scroll bar is then you're just overdoing it. I mean, mouse pointer too far from the scroll bar? Give it a nudge and - look! - it's over there, near the scroll bar! Problem solved! Or use the wheel and forget about it. It's not even clear that this is a case of dextrism - the scroll bar has to be somewhere; this is more likely to be influenced by text reading direction than the majority dominant hand.

    You have to be able to adapt to the environment you find yourself in. Putting up with default computing environments makes you more comfortable when using random machines and makes your machine a *lot* easier to use should anyone need to do something quickly on it over your shoulder. I've got a left-handed colleague who swaps his mouse buttons and I have to help him with stuff on his computer from time to time. Just can't adapt to it, no matter how many times I use it.
    • Ironically, i'm a righty and I scroll with my left hand all the time -- on my Logitech keyboard there's a mouse wheel attached to the left side of the keyboard and I frequently just move my left hand over and scroll with my middle finger instead of grabbing for the mouse.
    • by Sketch (2817)
      I went the opposite way. I'm right handed, but when I set up my first dedicated gaming PC for playing quake, the only desk space I had free was to put the mouse on the left (but not reverse the buttons). So I always play FPS's left handed now. I normally mouse right handed otherwise, though I can mouse around just as well with the left if it's more convenient now too...like if I have to use a left-handed person's computer at work. The mouse buttons being reversed drives me nuts though...I can't get used
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:35AM (#16058071) Homepage
    When your Windows locale is for a right-to-left language, the scroll bars, menus and everything is reversed and on the opposite side too. This works in pretty much all applications.

    So, Windows does support it. The question is, how do you enable it in an English left-to-right OS?
  • I'm right handed, but like many had to switch mouse hands due to shoulder pains. It only took a week to lose the "hadicapped" feeling, and couple more to feel fluent in all but the most exacting tasks (i.e. 3D modeling etc. where a pixel or two counts took manybe 2 months).

    I found it very helpful to switch mouse buttons at the same time. Feels much more similar to use the "same finger" than the same button. YMMV.
  • Okay, so exactly why do left-handed people reverse their mouse buttons?

    They're the left and right buttons. Software responds to a left button click, not to "a click of the button that happens to be under your index finger". I use a mouse with either hand - without swapping buttons - and manage to click the button on the left side of the mouse without any confusion.

    I can understand that some mice have an awkward shape, which is annoying to hold in the left hand. But who added the option to reverse the button
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lyonsden (543685)

      Actually they are not 'right' and 'left', they are 'primary' and 'secondary'. However, they are commonly referred to as right and left - but that's typical in a right-hand dominated society.

      Even Wikipedia avoids the sidedness distinction in an article about contextual menus [wikipedia.org] and this one specifically about mice [wikipedia.org].

  • This is a snap to do programmatically for Windows programs, pretty much regardless of how you write them. If you write a Windows pogram using System.Windows.Forms (i.e. the .NET framework), just set the RightToLeft property to true, and whenever a scrollbar that would automatically appear appears, it appears on the left side. Ditto MFC programs -- just set the "Layout RTL" property to true.

    I never learned enough about the Win32 API to know whether a window class has a similar property, but I suspect it does
  • A lot of people will and have suggested learning ambdexterity at least, or right handedness in the extreme. Well I say that's crap. Cut off your hand. That's right, cut that lefty bitch off. You'll never have to hear or make complaints about left and right handedness again. In fact, most people will be too PC to mention hands at all and you'll be left (pardon the pun) with no other options.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig

Working...