How to fix your toolbar issues

FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Larry,

Somehow I created a weird toolbar on the side of my Windows desktop? How do I get rid of it?

R. L.

Dear Larry,

My toolbars in Word have somehow disappeared? What should I do to make them return?

K. W.

Dear Larry,

My toolbar in Outlook went away, and now I can no longer click Send/Receive when I want to. Is there a way to get it back?

L. E.

Dear R. L., K. W., L. E.,

So, loyal readers. Do you know the answer to these questions? You should. Remember? You’re staring at something on the screen — an icon, a picture, a toolbar, a you-name-it — and wondering how to rename it, resize it, format it, delete it … whatever. Most of the time, the answer is, Right-click it.

The right mouse button is the best Windows help there is. Right-clicking an object in Windows (left-clicking if you’ve trained your mouse to be a south paw) generally pops up a menu of choices that applies to that particular object.

If you consider yourself a right-clicking novice, take your mouse in hand, and let’s get ready to rumble … err, click. One note of caution before we begin though. If you accidentally move your mouse while you right-click, Windows treats that as a “right-click and drag,” which displays a different pop-up menu. If you don’t see the menu you expect when you right-click, you probably moved the mouse during the click. If so, try again, and “steady as she goes.”

How did that toolbar appear on the Windows desktop? That’s actually a feature of Windows, but many people stumble upon it by accident. Look at the top or far left of the toolbar. Does it say “My Computer?” You probably dragged the My Computer icon to the edge of the screen and dropped it there, thus creating this toolbar. Maybe it reads Documents, which indicates you dragged your Documents icon to the edge of the screen. In any event, ridding yourself of this toolbar is just a right click away.

Simply right-click a blank area of the toolbar (if you right-click an icon on the toolbar, you’re asking for help with regard to that icon, not the entire toolbar). In the pop-up menu that appears, click Toolbars to see a list of all available toolbars — the check-marked items are the ones on display. I suspect the one you created appears near the end of the list. Click it (with the left mouse button) to make it go away.

What if the toolbar is missing in action? Then what? Just right-click the blank area of the screen where the toolbar would normally appear. To restore your toolbar in Outlook, right-click near the top of the window or on the right side of the menu bar, then left-click Toolbar.

In older versions of Word, right-click near the top of the window or on the right side of the menu bar, then click the toolbar(s) that are missing: I suspect that would be either “Standard” or “Formatting.”

More often than not, the answer may be right (-click) before your eyes.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.


Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm — now in its 15th year of business — catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 203-625-7575, visit or send email to [email protected]

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