Greetings! This question regards dragging stuff to parts of a document which are "off the screen". For example:

  • Dragging a spreadsheet in iWork Numbers to a part of the document that's "off the screen"
  • Highlighting text across multiple pages using TextMate

When you reach the end of your visible document, OS X auto-scrolls non-visible parts onto the screen, letting you move something to a location off-screen. The same applies when highlight text that spans multiple pages.

Unfortunately this is VERY slow, especially when moving a spreadsheet across a ~100 page worksheet in iWork Numbers. Currently it does this:

  • Dragging stuff "Up" goes semi-slow.
  • Dragging stuff "Down" goes much slower.

How can you speed up auto-dragging?

  • There are no System Preferences options for this (unless I missed it).
  • This is not related to Mouse Scrolling speed
  • My Macbook Pro is not slow (mid-2010 model, 4GB RAM)

My hunch is that this is a Mac OS X API feature of some Cocoa class, so it won't necessarily be a setting that Apple lets you adjust. It effects multiple applications (iWork suite, TextEdit). Perhaps there's a 3rd party utility that allows you to do it?

Thanks for any help!


The speed varies according to how far the pointer is into the area where it scrolls. This allows users fine-grained control over the scrolling speed.

If your window is full screen, you can scroll faster upwards than downwards, because the toolbar and title are larger than the status bar. The same goes for the sidebar on the left (fast), and the right-side scrollbar (slow).

Low-tech solution: Resize the window. Bring more space between the "document viewport" edge (where it starts scrolling) and the screen edge. Move the dragging cursor all the way to the screen edge. You will be able to scroll much faster.


This would make the automatic scrolling speed three times faster:

defaults write -g NSAutoscrollResponseMultiplier -float 3

It will still be difficult (or in some cases impossible) to for example scroll down in a view that is near the bottom of a screen.

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