Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Sometimes referred to as a bar or standard toolbar, 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 demonstrated in the image below.

Toolbar on a window

A toolbar often provides quick access to functions that are commonly performed in the program. For example, a formatting toolbar in a Microsoft Excel gives you access to things like making text bold or changing its alignment, along with other common buttons. In an Internet browser, toolbars add functionality that may not come pre-installed. For example, with the Google toolbar, you can get access to exclusive Google features.


If you are missing a window's toolbar, try pressing the Alt key on the keyboard as some programs hide the toolbar until Alt is pressed. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, some programs and apps may only show a hidden toolbar if the mouse cursor is positioned at top of the window.


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

Common computer software toolbars and other 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.
  • Browser toolbar - Any toolbar in an Internet browser.
  • 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 pane 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.
  • Spacebar - A key on a keyboard that creates a space.

Floating toolbar, Google, Operating system terms, Title bar, Window