Sometimes referred to as a bar, the toolbar is a row of boxes, often at the top of an application window that control various functions of the software. The boxes often contain images that correspond with the function they control as seen in the picture below.

Toolbar on a window

A toolbar often provides quick access to functions that are commonly performed within the program. For example, a formatting toolbar in a program such as Microsoft Excel or Word gives you access to functions such as making text bold, or aligning the text, or other commonly used formatting buttons. In a browser toolbars often add additional functionality to the browser that may not come pre-installed. For example, with the Google Toolbar installed, it gives access to handy Google features.

Tip: If you are missing a window toolbar try pressing Alt on the keyboard. Some programs hide the toolbar until Alt is pressed.

Tip: In most Microsoft Windows programs the toolbars can be adjusted, hidden, or displayed by clicking on View at the top of the window and clicking Toolbars. In programs that do not have "View" look in the "Settings" or "Properties" section.

Below are some other examples of "bars" you may come across when dealing with a computer.

Computer software bars

  • App bar - Windows 8 bar.
  • Bar chart - A chart consisting of horizontal or vertical bars.
  • Barcode - A series of lines that identifies an address, product, or other information.
  • Bookmarks bar - Bar showing frequently visited bookmarks or favorites.
  • Commands bar - A bar that shows available commands in a program.
  • Formatting toolbar - Toolbar that shows text formatting options.
  • Formula bar - Bar in a spreadsheet program that allows you to edit a formula.
  • Menu bar - A bar at the top of the screen that gives access to all of the menus.
  • Navigation bar - Gives access to all navigation features in a browser.
  • Places bar - A left-pane bar and area that shows common places to access files.
  • Progress bar - An indicator that shows how long until something is completed.
  • Scroll bar - A bar on the bottom or side of the window to scroll through a page.
  • Split bar - A bar that divides the window into multiple sections.
  • Status bar - One of the few bars at the bottom of the window that shows the status.
  • Title bar - A bar at the very top of a window that describes the program or window.

Computer hardware bars

  • Port bar - A device that allows your laptop to connect to other devices.
  • Space bar - A key on a keyboard that creates a space.

Related pages

Also see: Floating toolbar, Operating system terms, Title bar, Window