How to Show a Missing Top Bar in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator could populate a missing top bar menu. This menu allows you to control several things, like page orientation and font options. However, the top bar is critical to the application and is heavily used in favor of the drop-down menus. So how do you show a missing top bar in Illustrator?

Missing toolbars in Illustrator can lead to delays and cause confusion that could slow the project and cost you money. Keep your cool! You could make a mistake that costs more time and make things worse. Read on and learn all you need to know about showing the missing top bar in Adobe Illustrator.

Showing a Missing Top Bar in Illustrator

The top bar could be missing for several reasons. These reasons could range from a simple keystroke push to updating software. The critical thing to remember is that you can always use the options along the top of the application to gain functionality. Therefore, you should start with the easiest fix and work your way down the list until the problem is solved.

Using Keystrokes is the First Place to Start

Sometimes the answer to your problem is simple. For example, when the top bar doesn’t appear, the first thing to try is to hit the Tab key. By hitting Tab, you will force the top bar to reappear. It is a straightforward process, but if that doesn’t work, you can move on to the next step: trying the Window option from the top.

Next, You Should Try the Window Menu

If clicking the Tab key a few times doesn’t get the job done, there could be an issue with the Controls in the Window section. There are many menus and rulers to choose from in the Window section, and you should try them out to see which ones improve your workflow.

The steps to change Controls in the Window drop-down menu are as follows:

  1. Click Window – You should choose Window from the top of the screen. Window is home to all the things you can add to your workspace and has tons of valuable tools inside. It would be best to look for Control, which is near the top of the list. Click control and move on to the next step.
  2. Control – Once you have clicked Control, you will see the top bar repopulate at the top of the screen as soon as you can click through all the options and see that none are greyed out or unusable.

Of all the options in the Window, menu Control is the one that allows you access to the top bar. In the top bar, you have different options, and with a bit more browsing in the Window menu, you can find out how to place those options around your artboard. If working in the Control panel doesn’t fix the problem, you could need to update your software.

Updating Your Version of Illustrator is a Good Idea

It could be the software that keeps the top bar from appearing. Often there are bugs in older versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud that will cause menus to disappear and your settings to be moved around. One of the great things about Adobe is they give you several options to update your software.

Some of the ways you can update your version of Adobe Illustrator are:

  • Auto Update – The most common way your Illustrator updates is with the auto-update option. This allows your software to get needed updates whenever it accesses the internet or, at times, the user chooses. Ensure that your software has auto-update by clicking the option in the Preferences tab of Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Manual Update – If there’s a reason that your auto-update isn’t working, you should try and do it manually. Click the Apps tab in Creative Cloud and browse the program you will update. Once there, you should see an Updates icon near the top.

Keeping your software up to date is a good idea because it keeps any unforeseen problems from happening, and you can concentrate on your work. Once the updates are installed, restart Illustrator and see if the problem persists. If so, another option requires a clean boot state that will allow the computer to fix the issue internally.

A Clean Boot State is a Fantastic Option

There are often bits of leftover code from other versions and projects that could contain malware or some program that prevents Illustrator from loading correctly. Doing a clean boot allows these types of programs to be stopped before interfering with functionality. To get to the Clean Boot State programs, you must press Enter during the computer booting process.

The steps to run a Clean Boot State are as follows:

  1. Selective Startup – When the menu appears during the Safe Mode process, you should see a menu that has a few bullet options. One of these options is Selective Startup. Selective Startup lets you choose the programs that run when booting and can be used as a buffer for spyware and malware functions.
  2. Services – The next tab you should look for is the Services tab. Here it would help if you concentrated on disabling Microsoft services with the box at the bottom of the menu. From here, you click restart, and your computer will boot in Clean Boot State.
  3. Trial and Error – Now that you are in Clean Boot State, you should go back and allow specific programs to run until you see the problem occur. This takes time, but once you find the bad program, it is easy to remove, and your top bar problem is solved.

The trial and error portion of the steps could take time. Therefore, it would be best to restart in Clean Boot State as many times as needed to resolve the issue. Please note that creating a save state is encouraged when doing this process.


A missing top bar in Adobe Illustrator can be a headache. The guides and rulers are essential to the projects, and the top bar allows users to change different design aspects in a single location. When the bar is missing, you should search through the Window menu or press the Tab key to see if it appears.

Often the best options are simple, and you should make sure you start with the simple tasks before getting into the reboots in safe mode that could be in your future. No matter what the issue was, you can restore the top bar in Illustrator by following a few simple procedures.