How to Dock and Undock Toolbars In LibreOffice

Modern office software suites can be unnervingly complicated. Like most of its alternatives, the free and open-source LibreOffice sticks its often-used controls above the content area in various menus. But most of the available tools are actually hidden by default—you’ll have to manually add the ones that aren’t visible out of the box. Here’s how.

In LibreOffice Writer, Calc, Impress, and Math, you can click the “View” menu item, then hover your mouse over “Toolbars.” You’ll see a wide array of available toolbars that differs with each program. The ones with the checkmark are currently active and visible.

Clicking any one of the toolbar options not enabled will make it visible, and vice versa. Where the new toolbar appears is not consistent; for example, if you enable “3D-Settings” in Writer, the toolbar appears at the bottom of the window, but the Align Objects tool appears as a free-floating collection of icons that can be moved around.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let those menus stay where they are. For any free-floating toolbar, just click and drag the grey bar at the top of its window. Drag it onto the main toolbar at the top of the screen, the secondary bar below, or even the dock on the right, and it’ll be added where you release the mouse button. A shaded rectangle will show you where it will fall. If you don’t have enough horizontal space in the window, you can drop it onto a new toolbar line.

To do the opposite and pull an anchored toolbar off of its docked position, just click the five dots on the top or side of the tool section. A cross-shaped cursor tells you that this portion of the toolbar can be moved. Click and drag it into the content area of the window to make that toolbar free-floating.

Larger toolbars can be resized horizontally, as with Formatting above, to put the various tools on multiple bars. Additional tools (if there are any applicable) can be accessed via the down arrow button near the close “X.”

For even more advanced control of any LibreOffice interface, click View > Toolbars > Customize. From the “Toolbars” tab in this menu, you can disable or enable any of the single tools in any of the available toolbars. Your settings will be saved to the program you’re using at the moment. You can even make entirely new, customized toolbars with the “New” and “Add” commands.

If at any time you’ve misplaced a tool, or you’re just fed up with the changes you’ve made, click View > Toolbars > Reset to put everything back in its original spot.

Michael Crider has been covering technology on the web since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order. He wrote a novel called Good Intentions: A Supervillain Story, and it's available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter if you want.