Finding a Lost Menu Bar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

Dave reported a situation in which one of his Word users had somehow completely lost the menu bar. Theoretically, the menu bar should not be "losable," so when such an event does occur, it is a good sign that something is wrong.

There are a few things you can check. First, because the menu bar is treated pretty much like a toolbar, it is possible to undock it and move it anywhere desired on the screen. If you run Windows at a high resolution, undock the menu bar and move it to the far right of the screen, and then change to a lower resolution in Windows, it is possible that the menu bar won't be visible because it is now outside the area of the screen you can see.

If you suspect this is the case, trying changing back to the higher resolution—just temporarily—and moving the menu bar back where it belongs. When you later switch to the lower resolution, the menu bar should still be visible.

If this doesn't do it, try these steps:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Toolbars tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Toolbars tab of the Customize dialog box.

  4. Scroll down the list of available toolbars until you see the Menu Bar option.
  5. It should be impossible to uncheck the check box beside the Menu Bar option, but you can still select the option. Do so and click the Reset button. Word displays a dialog box asking if you want to reset changes to the menu bar. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Reset Toolbar dialog box.

  7. Click Yes.

Hopefully, this will display your menu bar. If it doesn't, try starting Word from the command line with the /a switch. Depending on the problem that may be causing the missing menu bar, this could trigger Word to do some repairs to itself. You can also try exiting Word and deleting or renaming the Normal.dot file, which is the default location for saving many customizations in Word.

If the menu bar is still not visible, there is one other macro-based solution you can try. Run the following macro:

Sub FindBars()
    Dim cb As CommandBar
    For Each cb In Application.CommandBars
        If cb.Position = msoBarFloating And cb.Visible = True Then
            cb.Position = msoBarTop
        End If
    Next
End Sub

This macro steps through every one of the command bars (which means both menu bars and toolbars) and, if they are floating and visible, puts them back in their default position at the top of the Word window.

If you are wondering how you can run the macro when you cannot get to the VBA Editor by using menus you cannot see, remember that you can display the Macros dialog box by pressing Alt+F8, or you can jump directly to the VBA Editor by pressing Alt+F11.

If you continue to have problems with the menu bar, then more drastic action is necessary. There is an excellent article at the Word MVP site that indicates some of the steps (including the drastic ones) that you can take:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/AppErrors/MissingMenusEtc.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (59) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Guidelines for Laser Printer Letterhead

Plan on using printed letterhead in your laser printer? Here are some tips and cautions about doing so.

Discover More

Preventing the Loss of Personal Information

For security purposes, you can configure a document so that no personal information is stored with the document. But what if ...

Discover More

Spell-Checking from the Keyboard

If you hate to take your hands from the keyboard, even to right-click on a word, you'll love the information in this tip. ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Folder Locations for Add-Ins

Add-ins can be stored in a number of different places on a computer system. This tip explains the many different places you ...

Discover More

Embedding Your Phone Number in a Document

One way you can designate your responsibility for a document is to add your phone number to it. There is no need to add your ...

Discover More

Where Are Word's Settings Stored?

Ever wonder where Word stores all its settings and configuration information? There are only three places where this ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share