Updated: 04/09/2024 by Computer Hope

The toolbar, also called bar or standard toolbar, is a row of buttons, often near the top of an application window, that controls software functions. The boxes are below the menu bar and often contain images corresponding with the function they control, as demonstrated in the image below.

Toolbar on a window

A toolbar often provides quick access to functions commonly performed in the program. For example, a formatting toolbar in early versions of Microsoft Excel lets you make text bold or change text alignment with other common buttons. In an Internet browser, toolbars add functionality that may not come pre-installed. For example, with the Google toolbar, you could access exclusive Google features.


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


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

Common computer software toolbars and other bars

Below are examples of software bars and toolbars you may encounter and use on a computer.


See our full list of computer-related terms containing bar using our word and letter search.

What is a standard toolbar?

A standard bar or standard toolbar describes the traditional toolbar in most program windows. These terms are needed because programs like Microsoft Office programs have moved away from the standard toolbar and are using a Ribbon. Other programs have hidden the standard toolbar behind a hamburger menu.

Computer hardware bars

Below are the two most command hardware bars you may encounter and use on or with a computer.

  • 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, GUI, Operating system terms, Taskbar, Title bar, UI, Window