Word 2011: Finally supports background window scrolling

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
April 29th, 2011 • 2:43 pm

I have lost count of the number of years that we have had to endure Microsoft Word’s lack of support for background window scrolling — i.e. the ability to scroll through a background document window by simply hovering over it with the mouse pointer and using the mouse’s scrolling control, whether it’s a wheel, a ball, or a surface. It’s probably been a good ten years.

But finally it appears that Microsoft’s engineers have fixed the problem. It was still there in the original release of Word 2011, but I can no longer reproduce it in Word 2011 after the latest update, which brings its version number to 14.1.

And it works properly whether what is in the foreground is another Word document window or another application altogether. In all cases, simply hovering above the background Word document window with the mouse pointer allows you to scroll through that background window with the mouse without having to bring it to the foreground.

I have been moaning about this for long enough. The least I can do is write a final post saying R.I.P. to this particular shortcoming in Microsoft Word for Mac OS X. There are still places in Word where the scroll wheel/ball is not supported, but the problem is now limited to specific lists in specific dialog boxes and no longer affects the most basic aspects of document browsing in Word.

I will never know if my own moaning had anything to do with Microsoft finally fixing the problem, but the bottom line is that it’s fixed, and that’s what counts.

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