Finding a Missing Toolbar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 11, 2014)

Have you ever lost a toolbar in Word? It is possible for toolbars to not only vanish (as when you choose not to display them), but to get completely lost so that you cannot display them even if you try to reinstall Word. If you are in this situation, there are a few ideas that you can try.

First, it is possible, in the present world of Windows, to overlay objects on the screen. This means your missing toolbar could actually not be gone, but simply behind another screen object. The trick in this case is to find it, and the only way to do that is to start moving objects around to see if this uncovers the toolbar's location. Try hiding your other toolbars one at a time and see if the missing toolbar shows up. Once you find it, move it to the middle of your document. Reactivate all your other toolbars, then reposition your formerly missing toolbar.

If you can't seem to locate the toolbar this way, it is possible that the toolbar is simply "out of range" for your screen resolution. This can be the result of recently changing to a lower screen resolution, or a macro or add-in that assumes a higher resolution than you are using. In this instance, simply change to the higher resolution and see if the toolbar becomes visible. You can then move it to a more central place on the screen and go back to your lower resolution.

The next possible solution relies on the fact that Word stores toolbar customizations in templates. The most commonly used template is Normal.Dot, and it therefore stores most of our customizations. If you quite Word, rename your existing Normal.Dot to a new name (such as OldNormal.Dot), and restart Word, your toolbars should be back to their default condition. If the missing toolbar is suddenly visible, you know it was a problem with your template file. If you have other customizations and macros you want to transfer from the older version of Normal.Dot, you can now do so using the Organizer tool.

If such a "brute-force" method isn't to your liking, several readers suggested simply creating your own replacement toolbar from scratch. Use the techniques described in other issues of WordTips to create a custom toolbar that includes all the features you miss from the errant toolbar.

If you have a bent toward using macros, the following simple steps will help you recover a toolbar that is either behind another object or off the visible area of the screen:

  1. Make sure at least one toolbar is showing; it doesn't matter which one.
  2. Start recording a macro. The name of the macro is not important, as it will only be temporary.
  3. Use the mouse to drag one of your visible toolbars from its current position to the center of the screen.
  4. Stop the macro recorder.
  5. Move your toolbar (the one you moved in step 3) back to its normal location.
  6. Go to the macro editor and choose to edit the macro you just recorded.
  7. Search for the command that actually moved the toolbar and change the name of the toolbar (in the command) to the name of the toolbar you cannot locate. For instance, if you have lost the Formatting toolbar, change the name of the toolbar in the command to "Formatting".
  8. Close your macro and save the changes.
  9. Run your new macro.

The result should be that your missing toolbar is "dragged" to the middle of the screen by the macro. You can then move your toolbar to the place on the screen you want it to reside.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1709) 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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