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Hover Scrolling in InDesign CC: It’s a Feature Not a Bug

Today I stumbled across a new “feature” in InDesign CC. I have encountered it before, as it mysteriously wreaked havoc on my documents. Randomly, Conditional Text Indicators would print, and fonts would be changed. But the reason eluded me. Until today. I finally pinpointed the culprit. I’ll call Hover Scrolling.

First, let’s take a look at the perfectly functional, predictable behavior that existed in CS6 and earlier. In order to change what these drop down menus do, you have to click on them and then scroll. It works great and is totally predictable.

Prior to InDesign CC, drop downs in panel never changed without my knowledge.

But now apparently in InDesign CC there is a new feature that lets you interact with the dropdown menus without ever having to click on them. Sounds cool, right? Well watch what can happen to a document without me ever having to click on any of the drop downs. All I did was hover over them and start scrolling with the scroll wheel (or even with a two-fingered swipe on a Mac OS trackpad).

If you have some text selected and accidentally twirl or move your fingers while hovering over the font menu, your typeface will change! I tried to replicate these behaviors in CS6, and it appears just to be a CC feature. For fun, I tried getting this behavior to work with some third party plugin panels, but it appears to only work in native InDesign panels.

So if your documents ever have changes in them that you don’t recall making, it may not be coworkers playing jokes on you or your dog walking across your keyboard. It may actually be InDesign trying to save you a few clicks. But frankly, I rather liked being in charge of choosing when to interact with the drop down menu…

Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn (a.k.a. "Document Geek") has over a decade of print and design experience. She holds Adobe Expert Certifications In InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat, and specializes in writing and designing technical manuals for the marine industry.
Kelly Vaughn

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51 Comments on “Hover Scrolling in InDesign CC: It’s a Feature Not a Bug

  1. There’s a pref in Preferences > Interface to enable/disable Multi-touch gestures, but it doesn’t appear to have an effect. Weird.

    I’ve been using CC for a long time but have not run into this. I think it’s just the way I work. For example I hardly ever have the Conditional Text panel open … but I know you use it a lot.

    So for now it’s probably best to try to keep your panels closed (in the dock) unless you’re purposely doing something with one, and your cursor away from the Control Panel unless you’re actually trying to do something there. Yikes!

  2. I have not run into to as well, but it does “work” with every field, drop down menu and panel I tried. Nice feature, but I think a way to disable it would be really nice!

  3. Wow. How have I never noticed this before? I love it. But I agree, with a sweeping, global, radical interface change like this, there should be the option to turn it off. Nice find, Kelly!

  4. Wow, that has bitten me as well, especially with Apple’s Magic mouse which has a HIGH tendency to ‘move on it’s own’ due to the large touch surface.

    Adobe, at least give us an option to turn it off. Like the selection donut.

  5. I believe it’s bad practice in general, to change the standard behaviour of a well-known user interface control. At least on Windows you are accustomed to the fact that one kind of UI control behaves the same way, no matter what application you find it in.

    I don’t like dropdowns changing their values without explicitly selecting a value. A suggestion for Adobe: Just use the standard controls for the operating system you support, or at least mimic them **really** good if you need to create an environment of your own (which you have done).
    I don’t care much for the black “cool” InDesign look… I just want a fast application that works. As I see it, the UI is a disaster in CC. With (Windows 7) Performance Options set to “Adjust for best performance”, you can hardly see a text that is selected in InDesign. The colours don’t work well at all, and some parts are windows grey and others are CC black.
    … I’m all for Standard, Default, and Expected behaviour.

  6. This is now standard behavior in InDesign CC, Illustrator CS6 and CC, Premiere Pro CC, Flash CC, and others. I realize that this behavior was designed to save users a click, but I don’t want to save a click. I click thousands of times every day. Clicking is NOT a big deal. Having my documents changed wihtout my knowledge IS a big deal.

    While I personally don’t see the benefit of this feature in any programs, I think Hover Scrolling is particularly dangerous in InDesign. Why? Because scrolling is how many users navigate through a multi-page or multi-spread document. InDesign is specifically designed to produce multi-page documents. While I realize that multiple pages (art boards) can be created in Illustrator, Illustrator remains an illustration program, not a long document creation program. In Illustrator, the content on one each artboard generally does not flow onto a second artboard. But in InDesign, it is standard practice that text that flows from one frame to the next, over many pages. And what is that most common way (and perhaps easiest) way to navigate through a document with many pages? By scrolling.

    In some cases standardization is good, but in other cases (such as this) I don’t think that standardization is a good way to go. InDesign should do what I want to to do, not the other way around. Please Adobe, if you’re going to have this feature (which admittedly some people might like), please give us a preference for it, and make the default preference for Hover Scrolling to OFF.

    This feature has already cost me time and money from having to reprint pages that InDesign changed without my knowledge. While InDesign can Track Changes, the inadvertent changes from Hover Scrolling are not the type of thing that InDesign allows us to track or record. We get no alert message letting us know that hover scrolling has changed something. The only way we know is when we (or our clients) find the errors, and say “How did that happen?”

    How many reprints will this cause? Only time will tell.

  7. Just did a little experiment: Here are a few of the things that InDesign Hover Scrolling can change without your knowledge:
    -Conditional Text Indicators
    -Paragraph Styles
    -Character Styles
    -Object Styles
    -Fill Color
    -Stroke Color
    -Gap Color
    -Stroke Weight
    -Hyperlink Destinations
    -Skew Angle
    -Column Sanning and Splitting
    -Horizontal Character Scaling
    -Vertical Character Scaling
    -Baseline Shift
    -Stroke Style
    -Start and End Caps
    -Button Type
    -Page Transitions
    -Preflight Profile
    -Corner Options

  8. Personally, it doesn’t bother me and actually it’s more useful in drop down menus where before you had to select something to be able to scroll (which means the selection was applied to the object), but now you can pick the function you wish straight away.

  9. Hi Kelly, I agree completely with you!

    Just to clarify my view on “standard behaviour” above: From my point of view Adobe (CC) is no longer implementing the standard behaviour for dropdown / up/down controls.

    I’d say it’s not standardization to leave a standard. Of course Adobe use their own – new – controls in all of their CC applications… and likely, to them, this is the new standard behaviour.

    My main point is that it’s bad practice to leave the standard behaviour of the controls of the operating system. This point might no be as obvious to MacOS users as to Windows users. According to my experience (limited – I know I’m on thin ice here), user controls in MacOSX applications are more disparate, while in Windows a certain kind of control is more likely to behave exactly the same way no matter the application.

    There is really a need for a setting to turn this new (to me “non-standard”) behaviour off, to avoid scrolling errors, as described by you above. The default behaviour should preferably be the old one.

  10. Wow, now I have a reason that makes sense for why some text seemed to randomly change size in a document I was working on. I blamed it on some sloppy style management on my part. Of course I didn’t have the time to track it down in the heat of the moment as I was focused on getting the document finished.

    For the sake of stressed deadline bound designers everywhere: Adobe please address this!

  11. HoVEr sCroLLIng bITeS agAIN. Apparently it’s not just in panel drop downs. It also affects pop-up dialog boxes. I just found a paragraph style that the Case was changed from all caps to normal. So here’s a few things to add to the list of things that Hover Scrolling affects:
    -Based On
    -Next Style
    -Align to Grid
    -Start Paragraph location
    -Single word justification
    -Drop Caps Character Style
    -Grep Style – Apply Style
    -Bullets and Number: List Type, Character Style
    -Character Tint
    -Opentype Figure Style
    -Opentype: Positional Form
    -Underline Options: Stroke Style
    -Underline Options: Strikethrough Style
    -Export Tagging: EPUB and HTML: Tag
    -Export Tagging: PDF: Tag

    ADobE, PLeasE fIX thIS!

    • Oh. Noooooo!
      We handle hundreds of InD documents a week, thousands of documents early. In practically all of them we _must_not_inadvertently_change_any_formating. The customer has created those documents, and if we start changing stuff inadvertently and randomly, it could easily turn into an economic catastrophe. All it takes is looking away for a second with the wrong type of object selected. Now imagine that happening in a 120-page catalogue that goes out to translation in 15 languages. Plus, this type of change usually goes unnoticed until the very end – or even after it, what with the ever tighter production schedules.
      This behaviour must go! Or at least – provide a way of turning it off, Adobe!

  12. I played around with it a bit myself and found it spooky. Font sizes and fonts change for text without my doing anything to say, “yes, this is what I want.” Scroll wheels are too easy to move without thinking. If this also works with trackpads, it could be downright dangerous.

    I did find one place where it was helpful. Using the scroll button in the Paragraph Style list was easier that using the little scroll arrows. But that may not be part of this feature. While the scroll button let me scroll through the list, the applied style did not change until I clicked on one. That scrolling is to see not to select.

    I suspect Adobe just made a mistake. They intended to bring that easy scrolling with the scroll button that works fine with moving through the Paragraph Style list to more parts of their UI. But what they didn’t realize is that in some lists, such as the top-bar font menu, scrolling to an item also chooses it.

    In short, this isn’t just scrolling to see something, which could be a good thing. This is scrolling to do something, which can be very bad.

    Don’t forget the possible implications. I had a friend who formatted a music CD, not noticing that one little switch in his app had been set to mono rather than stereo. The result was about a thousand CDs burned as mono before the problem was discovered.

    This UI oddity could result in thousands of copies of a book or brochure being printed before the mistake it created is discovered. Not good!

    If Adobe leaves this feature in, we not only should be able to turn it off, it should be turned off by default.

    And adding to what someone else said, this problem is made worse by the fact that so many Adobe menus use tiny type, roughly 8 point. That makes it harder to see that something has changed.

    Sometime in the next year or so, Adobe needs to add a “Larger” option for its menus and pallets. I have too big displays. I don’t need tiny little pallets. Bigger pallets with larger text and click targets would make my work go faster. I would have to focus on hitting some tiny arrow or icon. And if that’s bad with a mouse, it must be even worse with a scroll pad.

    –Mike Perry

  13. I have also encountered this problem to my great annoyance. The thing that is frustrating me more, is as someone mentioned above, my magic mouse seems to move on its own, specifically in Indesign, Excel and web browsing. I will be hovering and off it goes scrolling off to somewhere else… it has been driving me nuts!

  14. Actually you don’t have to have the text highlighted, just the text box selected and the text tool active. It’s something I would use with caution, but I do like it for scrolling through fonts to see what choices look like live on the page. It’s better than before when you had to have text and font menu entry highlighted (and therefore darkened) and click down each one. An option to turn it off sounds like a good idea to me. Different strokes for different folks.

  15. The fun continues! I found today that hover scrolling also affects the Find/Change dialog box. In the “Find what” and “Change to” fields, the most recent things you’ve entered show up in the drop down. If you hover over these and scroll, they both change. So you can inadvertently change both your “Find what” and “change to.” You do not have to have your text insertion point in these fields for them to be affected by hover scrolling. You just have to hover over them and scroll.

  16. This has been driving me crazy and I didn’t know why! If Adobe feels like they need to leave it in, PLEASE give us the option of turning it off!

  17. When I train newbies to use InDesign, one of the first things I teach, after how to select, is to DESELECT, either by clicking on the pasteboard or by using the shortcut COMMAND+SHIFT+A (on Mac)

    I teach this because I feel it’s very important to get into the habit of deselecting after editing. I consider it the same as choosing “OK” in a dialog box or saving a file after an edit. In my mind, you have not completed your edit until you deselect and save.

    If you want to scroll around, you should have deselected before doing so.

  18. To me, this would by far make the most sense to scroll and press a modifier key. That way, everyone gets his/her way. I can see some cases where I might use this, but I also wouldn’t want to destroy a document with the new feature. I could see this being very handy for trying to whirl through options when creating, but I wouldn’t use it after I had my creativity session and moved more into production mode.

  19. Hover Scrolling strikes again! I just had to reprint an entire chapter of a book because my conditional text indicators got set to “Show and Print.” Please Adobe, give us an option to turn this off!

  20. Interesting, I loved it since its birth, and I use it on a constant basis, I never ran into problems with it. Well, everyone with their workflow.

    Btw, here you have Adobe boasting the new feature for CS6:

  21. I just showed your article to the rest of my print Production team at our agency, then we all gathered around and gasped in horror as I destroyed an entire page worth of formatting in less than 2 seconds.

    There absolutely needs to be some way to turn this “feature” off in preferences! I can see that maybe someone on a touch screen or trackpad might benefit from it, as it may well make repetitive workflow motion more comfortable, but the person building a final mechanical for print will simply have to walk on eggshells. I don’t even want to think what horrible things will happen with less…careful?…users of the program in general. Good lord. *shakes head*

    Someone please send us an opt-out update for this!

  22. Hi Marta, No updates on this issue. I wish there was. But I’ll keep reposting my findings here whenever I find another place where Hover Scrolling has messed up my documents. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep asking about it whenever I encounter any InDesign engineers. There will be a pretty decent sized group of them at PePcon. :) You can probably guess what I’ll be talking to them about…

  23. Once again, I found evidence of Hover Scrolling that applied conditions in the wrong place… I sure wish Adobe would give us an option to turn of Hover Scrolling!

  24. About an hour of beating my head into the wall due to mysterious file changes has lead me to your post. Thank you for explaining the ghost in my machine! Adobe, this “feature” needs to go, NOW! It has royally screwed my files and the client is PISSED.

  25. I am in prepress, so I don’t use InDesign in the same way as a designer would, but I have to ask…. does this problem happen when there is NOTHING selected?

  26. If nothing is selected but the palette or control you hover-scroll over is not greyed out, you will change that preset. Nothing will happen with any existing object, but when you create a new one, it will be drawn with the new setting.
    If, for example, you hover and scroll when the mouse pointer is over the stroke width setting while nothing is selected, and then create a new object, this new object will have the new arbitrarily set stroke width (and every new object created after that as well).

    Since you’re in pre-press, you should be warned that any hover-scrolling over any popup menu inside a dialog also will change the setting of that popup menu. For instance, if you’re in the “Assign Profiles” dialog, any scrolling while the mouse pointer is hovering over the “Assign profile” popup menu will change the chosen colour space.

  27. Argh! Hover Scrolling is at it again. My Conditional Text indicators got hidden when they should be showing. It was an easy fix, but it was a little unnerving to have all my carefully applied conditions be invisible, as if I had selected all the text and applied “Unconditional.” When will Adobe give us a preference to turn off hover scrolling?!

  28. This is from a place I found it, and it actually worked.
    Close every Adobe software or anything that has Adobe on it.
    Then follow the instructions:

    1. Close all Adobe applications.
    2. Right click on “my computer” icon
    3. Click properties
    4. Select Advanced System Settings or Advanced Tab (Based on your OS)
    5. Click on the “Environment Variables…” button.
    7. Click New… button on System Variables section, You can also set this in User Variables section, if you would like to keep the change limited to current logged in user
    8. In the “New system variable” dialog, enter UI_SCALE_FACTOR in variable name field
    9. Enter 1 in the Variable value field
    10. Click OK
    11. Launch InDesign and check if it is resolved.

    Source: [2015-05-30]

    I am going to test the variable into 2 or if possible 0.5, 1 was actually good but I am just nerdy to test different variables.

    All the best!

    • @Nina: I was so excited to see that someone had found a way to turn off hover scrolling, but it appears that the fix you describe has to do with large pointer icons for the mouse.

      I got to thinking today and I think that one of the reasons I have so much problem with hover scrolling is that Conditional Text is the only panel that affects the appearance of a document globally, even if you don’t have any frames selected. Since most people don’t use conditional text, it’s much less likely they’ll ever experience a problem with hover scrolling.

  29. Ah yes, Hover Scrolling strikes again! Two years later and this is still problem! Today I discovered a book proof that I sent sent out to a client, and for one of the chapters, the conditional text indicators set to “Show and Print.” Adobe, when will you fix this?

  30. I tried to reproduce. CC 2015, latest version. While passively mousing over these dropdowns, I see that it highlights but it does not take action or even reveal the contents of that dropdown. And I’ve never seen that since the 2013 start of this post. So I wonder if there is a system setting combo that cause this.

    I hope I am doing this right — I simply passed my cursor over the dropdown, I saw it highlight but NOT physically reveal the contents of the dropdown until I clicked. Normal.

  31. to turn this feature off. And once again, this bug bit me again today.Once again, with Conditional Text. You see, Conditional Text is unique in that the visibility of the indicators is global, and can be changed even when NOTHING is selected. So ll you have to do is accidentally hover scroll over the dropdown, and BAM! All the conditional text indicators will show AND print. What a pain!

  32. Hey hey! Nearly three years alter and I am still dealing with the effect of the dreaded Hover Scrolling. Apparently, I had some text selected and accidentally scrolled over the character panel. My technical manual (for who knows how long!), has had a bit of scripty font inside a paragraph of Arial.

    Adobe, please give us the option to turn this off!

  33. I’m commenting here in the hope that I can turn this feature off at some point—and will be notified ASAP. I use a mac so the solution above does not work.

  34. I hate hover scrolling, in Premiere Pro I often need to Vertical Scroll through several filters I have put on a clip to check them or make adjustments, but if I accidentally hover over a drop down menu it can change the whole filter! What’s worse is pressing undo does not undo those menu changes (I guess it is not classified as an action) so I have to manually do it, AND it means I need to re-render my clip; saving a click has cost me HOURS!

    Please make a way to turn this off Adobe, it SUCKS!

  35. Hover scrolling is worse than Hitler. I’ll echo what others have implied: attempting to undo the mayhem wrought by hover scrolling has cost me boatloads more time than just clicking like I want to, like I’ve been able to for all these uncounted centuries. All right: years, at least. Whoever thought it’d be a good idea to force hover scrolling on the masses without the ability to turn if off is a sadist and should be repeatedly mocked and laughed at until the shame forces them to repent in dust and ashes. Seriously, hover scrolling sucks ping pong balls and needs to die. I am not a fan.

  36. Hmm… I seem to be one of the few people who rejoiced when Adobe added this feature. It is SO much easier to change number values quickly, without having to type it or tediously click through the menu.

    For all you folks using trackpads, there’s your problem; invest in a decent mouse and all your problems will go away, and you’ll be way more efficient to boot. Get a Bluetooth wireless one, that way you don’t have to deal with cords or dongles when you’re out and about.

    • To be clear, I prefer the way Adobe have done it in Illustrator, where it increments/decrements values one by one and not just by the ones in the dropdown list like in InDesign.

  37. Once again. Hover Scrolling has caused problems in my documents. Adobe, when will you develop on OFF switch for this?

  38. its simply unbelievable, that after 4 years of begging for this supersimple feature (while paying lots of fees), no one at adobe is even interested to comment, nor fix this stupid nonsense…

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