Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Recover your lost toolbar

ArcMap and ArcCatalog remember where you place toolbars so the next time you start the application they are in the same location. This is a great capability until things go wrong.

If you use dual screens then switch your machine to a single screen, you may have 'lost' a toolbar or two. This fix is easy but is a wholesale change and affects all toolbar placements.

ArcMap and ArcCatalog remember these settings in 'Normal' files. On a windows os, they are stored in:


If you've lost a toolbar off-screen, follow these steps:

1) Close ArcMap and/or ArcCatalog (whichever one is causing the problem).
2) Navigate to the directory listed above.
3) Rename the Normal file to 'OldNormal'. (You should keep the old one just in case!)
4) Restart your application.

This creates a new 'Normal' from esri's install and places all toolbars in default position. Unfortunately, this procedure affects all toolbars which may cause you a bunch of work replacing them to your preferred positions. BUT, if you really needed the one off-screen, then this does the job.

I remember from way back there were other methods for toolbar recovery. If anyone wants to add their method, go ahead. I'll add to the list as time goes on.

Take care all!


  1. Curtis Price of the USGS sent me a few links to esri support. I thought I would just post them here so you have more resources. The one using regedit is particularly helpful as it documents something I was really hazy on.

    Problem: Missing toolbar
    Problem: ArcMap will not display the Attribute Table dialog box for a layer
    Bug: The Identify Results window does not display

    Thanks, Curtis!

  2. I know this is an old post, but my workaround is to just add the individual missing tools to a visible toolbar using Customize. Then I don't lose all of my 'normal' settings. Next time I'm back on dual monitor, I can always remove them.

  3. Thank you so much. Changed external monitor (which I run as a dual screen setup). It was such a quick and easy fix, and I'm really grateful for the advice you put out there! Best wishes to you.