Friday, February 10, 2012

Hidden / Lost Menu and Toolbar

There has been something of a rash of people loosing either the toolbar or the menu bar in Thunderbird.  This is probably only going to get worse as the intention is to hide the menu bar on windows 7 machines, so here are the simple instructions to fix the hidden things.

Application Menu:  With the release of Thunderbird 17 there is an application menu entry on the Toolbar that is shown below.  Clicking the application menu will provide access to most of Thunderbirds menu options.  Most support articles on the web however do not refer to this application men, but to the Full menu bar

Full Menu bar:  Pressing Alt will show it long enough to enter some key strokes.  Pressing F10 will make it visible for a longer time..

Toolbar:  Once you have the menu bar visible, selecting the view menu item and then toolbars will show the list of toolbars you can have visible.

For the main Thunderbird windows, the options are as shown above

The Mail Toolbar is the main toolbar with Icons on it.
Menu bar is the application menu. This can be made visible either by holding the ALT key or pressing F10
Status bar is at the bottom of the screen
Quick filter bar has the same effect as clicking the magnifying glass icon on the toolbar or Tab bar (Up to V11)

If you are in the compose window the options are shown above.  It is only from the composition window (click write or reply etc). that the toolbars shown in that windows can be set.

Menu bar is the menu for the composition window only. This can be made visible either by holding the ALT key or pressing F10
Composition Toolbar is the main window toolbar with send on it
Formatting bar is the bar that has formatting information on it like font name and size
Status bar is the footer at the bottom of the screen. Used for feedback and by add-ons. In my case I can access a translation add-on there.

Tabs and toolbars:
From Thunderbird version 11 toolbars will be under the tabs, and the toolbar that appears will be dependent on the 'context' of the tab.  What this means is that the mail toolbar will not be visible unless the tab is a mail tab. Lightning will have a Calendar toolbar, and some other tabs will have no toolbar at all.  This change is I am told in preparation for bringing compose in a tab and address book in a tab to fruition.  For those that are interested these Thunderbird bugs refer to the change and the request I made to provide an option to opt out of the change.

In response to customer complaints about the change, the Rise of the Tools add-on was born to reverse the layout changes and put the toolbar and menu back on top.


  1. Hi Matt,
    "Pressing F10 will make it permanently visible."

    Even with F10 the menu bar will disappear after a certain time or after having changed the focus with the mouse.
    Thunderbird 10.0
    Bernd S.

  2. Thanks Matt. This worked. Once you press F10, you just need to go back to View > Toolbars and check Menu Bar. Then it stays put. Larry

  3. Thanks, Matt -- I used F10 and then checked Menu Bar. Arlyn

  4. THANK YOU !! You are a nice to help like this !

  5. Guys I havve lightening installed and sorry to say this is not working for me. ONly way to tgerl back from calendar view to mail view is to use "Cntrl 1". Seems crasy Deane

    1. Each of the entries on the toolbar can be accessed by Ctrl + a number One will always take you back to the folder pane, because it is defined at the first pane always. Ctrl+2 will take you to the bext tab and so one. Personally I only have about 3 tabs open because I do not use the tabs to read mail. If you have a very large number of tabs open I suggest you right click a tab abd select close all other tabs. Thunderbird will work better is you keep the number of tabs open to as minimum as each open tab consumes memory and makes the application slightly slower.

    2. Thank you for an elegantly simple solution to a disappearing menu bar that is one of many Thunderbird flaws that should just not happen.

  6. Thanx from Prague, Czech Rep.

  7. Thankx dear, It's perfect solution