The Case of the Vanished Menu Bar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

3

Imagine this: You are typing along, minding your own business, creating a literary masterpiece, and then bam! Out of the blue, your Word menu bar disappears. It was there one minute, and then it is just gone. Did you suddenly go into full-screen mode? No, a quick press of the Esc key doesn't have any effect (as it would if you were in full-screen mode). What do you do?

The menu bar is treated almost as if it were another toolbar. To see if the menu bar has just been "turned off," press Alt+T (which would display the Tools menu, if the menu bar were visible) and then press C (for Customize). You should see the Customize dialog box appear, and the Toolbars tab should be selected. Somewhere on the list of available toolbars is the Menu Bar. Make sure this option is selected, and then click on Close.

If the foregoing doesn't fix your menu bar, the next thing to try is to run a macro to restore the menu bar. This is helpful if your menu bar really is displayed, but is just not visible. (For instance, it is behind another toolbar or is just off-screen.) The following macro will do the trick:

Public Sub ResetMenuBar()
    With CommandBars("Menu Bar")
        .Visible = True
        .Position = msoBarTop
    End With
End Sub

The macro references the menu bar, makes sure it's visible and then resets it to its more usual position of being docked at the top of the Microsoft Word window.

Of course, entering and running a macro can be interesting if you cannot see the menu bar to begin with. The trick is to simply press Alt+F8 to pop up the Macros dialog box. Now you can create and run macros just as you normally would.

If you still can't see your menu bar, then the problem is that one of the data keys in the Registry has become corrupted. This is where Word stores information that controls how configurable items are displayed on the screen. Fortunately, if this particular data key is removed, Word will recreate it when it first starts. Unfortunately, this data key is not removed if you uninstall Word. Thus, uninstalling and reinstalling won't fix any problems with a corrupt data key. Instead, you must directly edit the Registry. Try these steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Start your favorite Registry editor.
  3. Locate a data key that looks like the following (the 11.0 part will differ, depending on your version of Word):
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Data
    
  5. Rename the entire key to something else, or simply delete it.
  6. Close the Registry editor.
  7. Restart Word.

It should go without saying, of course, that any time you make changes in the Registry you run the risk of really messing up your machine. Don't delete or change any other information than what is detailed above. You may also want to back up your Registry before making any changes. (You can find out how to do Registry backups in any decent Windows tutorial book.)

Another caveat is that by renaming or removing the data key (and thereby forcing Word to start over from scratch), you lose many of your other customizations. Thus, you may want to have in mind exactly what those customizations are so that you can redo them after restarting Word.

Another excellent article on the edit-the-Registry technique is available on the Word MVP site and can be found at the following address. (The article goes into much more detail on the process and ramifications than I have the space to do here.)

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 (1486) 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. ...

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Comments

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What is 7 - 0?

2017-05-09 11:24:17

Bob Garant

WOW! Two days of searching, trying, deleting, re-installing and nothing worked for my menu bar and toolbars. Even from this tip Win10 would not let me create the macro, I had to go into the registry as described above.

YOU THE MAN! Thank you!

Ottawa, Canada


2016-08-28 12:41:45

Robert

I have a tool bar the contains shortuts to sites. These shortcuts are created automatically when I go to a new site without exiting old site. That tool bar is difficult to read. Can I make it bigger or clearer.
Robert


2016-08-27 05:50:55

Yossi

Hi Allen,
I've experience that problem yesterday. Out of the blue sky, while typing the screen was toggled to full size and it looks like in "read mode only".
pressing escape key only made it to go back to its original size. Since then the menu bar [tools, actions, file, help and more] vanished!
I've tried few things like restore windows to a good known point in time, also re-install office. Nothing, ziltch, nada.
When right mouse on the top bar I noticed the "restore button" was grayed out.
I also tried to create the macro but could not move to the "edit" box, it was grayed too.
Win 10, Office enterprise 2013.
I'm desperate now, it looks that many option are disabled.
Any Ideas?
Thank you and sorry for English.


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