Fix Missing Toolbar and Panel in Illustrator

Illustrator is a well-known and widely used vector graphic software. Since it is widely used, people might eventually have a few glitches at times. It is not common for there to be issues, but things do happen, however it is not always Illustrator’s fault. Some issues may have to do with the system.

Fix Missing Tools, Toolbar and Panel in Illustrator

How-to-fix-Missing-Tools-and-Panels-in-Illustrator

You may have an issue where some tools don’t appear in the Tools panel, and some panels aren’t listed in the Windows menu. Here are some of the solutions that you may try. Note that these solutions are for Illustrator CS2 – CS5. If you have these issues with later versions of Illustrator, report it to Adobe and check their website and community for solutions.

  1. Retarget the Illustrator Plug-ins folder. (CS2 Only)
  2. Re-create the Illustrator preferences file
  3. Increase system resources
  4. Uninstall Illustrator, re-create the Illustrator preferences file and then reinstall Illustrator. (CS2 Only)

1] Retarget the Illustrator Plug-ins Folder. (CS2 Only)

  • Choose Edit > Preferences > Plug-ins and Scratch Disk.
  • Click Choose, and then select the Plug-ins folder in the Illustrator CS2 folder, and click OK. (The Illustrator CS2 folder is in Program FilesAdobe by default.)
  • Restart Illustrator.

2] Re-create the Illustrator Preferences File

  • Quit Illustrator.
  • Delete the AIPrefs file from the following location:
  • For Illustrator CS5: Users/(user)/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings
  • For Illustrator CS4: Users/(user)/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings
  • For Illustrator CS3: Users/(user)/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings
  • For Illustrator CS2: Users/(user)/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS2 Settings

Note that the files may be hidden so you may have to enable viewing hidden files and folders.

3] Increase System Resources

Quit applications except for Illustrator, including those that run in the background (such as font management utilities), and reduce the number of active TrueType fonts. (To prevent applications from starting automatically with Windows, remove them from the Startup folder). Having too many fonts can cause your computer to use up too many resources and cause illustrator and other software to have problems.

If insufficient system resources are available, then Illustrator may display tools and palettes incorrectly. A damaged preferences file may also cause Illustrator to display tools and palettes incorrectly.

4] Uninstall Illustrator, Re-create the Illustrator Preferences File, and then Reinstall Illustrator. (CS2 Only)

Uninstall Illustrator, re-create the Illustrator preferences file and then reinstall Illustrator.

To uninstall Illustrator: Remove any personal files from the Illustrator application folder.

  • If you installed Illustrator from the Illustrator CD, then choose Start > Control Panel > Add Or Remove Programs. Select Illustrator CS2 and click Remove. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • If you installed Illustrator from the Adobe Creative Suite 2 CDs, then choose Start > Control Panel > Add Or Remove Programs. Select Adobe Creative Suite 2 and click Remove. Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the Illustrator component.

To re-create the Illustrator preferences file, see solution 2.

To reinstall Illustrator:

Insert either the Adobe Creative Suite 2 or Illustrator CS2 installation media

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Related: Fix Missing Menu Bar in Illustrator

Note: If two different versions of Illustrator earlier than CS3 to CS5 are installed in the same folder and you remove the earlier version after installing the later version, some of the toolbox tools are removed (including, but not limited to, the Direct Select Lasso, Rectangle, Paintbrush, and Pencil tools). Similarly, several of the palettes, including PathFinder, Transform, Actions, Transparency, and Navigator, are removed from the Window menu.

Read: Adobe Illustrator keeps changing my colors.

How do I get my toolbars back in Illustrator?

Since the toolbars are connected to the workspace, it could help if you if choose Reset Workspace. To reset the workspace go to the top of the workspace where you see the name of the current workspace, click the down arrow and then choose Reset “name of current” workspace. This may help to reset the workspace to the default and the toolbar may reappear. Side toolbar may go missing if it is unselected in the Window menu, go to Window, make sure Tools is selected.

How do I add missing tools in Illustrator?

Sometimes the easiest way to add missing tools in Illustrator is to just reset the workspace. To reset the workspace go to the top of the workspace where you see the name of the current workspace, click the down arrow and then choose Reset “name of current” workspace.  In newer versions of Illustrator you are also able to add and remove individual tools by going to Window then checking or unchecking the tools.

How can Fonts Affect System Performance?

All TrueType font files are registered in a single key in the Windows registry. PostScript font paths can also take up space in the registry key. If the registry key contains too much information, your system can behave erratically (for example, return errors). To reduce the amount of information stored in a registry key, remove fonts. If you need the fonts, reinstall them in their default folders (C:WindowsFonts for TrueType fonts; C:Psfonts and C:PsfontsPfm for PostScript fonts). If font files are in a folder other than the default folder, the full path to the font is included in the registry. The full path occupies more space in the key and reduces the number of fonts you can install without errors. For example, if the path to font files is C:MystuffBusinessFontsTruetype FontsA-Exxxxxx.ttf, the path to the font file takes up more space than the path to fonts installed in the C:Ttfonts folder.

Why would I need to recreate the Illustrator Preference File?

Illustrator Preference file can become corrupt so it would be best to recreate it. There may also be cases where you make changes to the preference that will eventually make Illustrator have issues, so it is best to recreate it. To recreate the preference file or revert it to the default, close Illustrator, find where the file is stored, and delete it. Restart Illustrator and a new preferences file will be created.

How-to-fix-Missing-Tools-and-Panels-in-Illustrator-CS2-CS5-on-Windows

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Jacob MORRIS

MORRIS is an impassioned technology writer. He always inspires technologists with his innovative thinking and practical approach. A go-to personality for every Technical problem, no doubt, the chief problem-solver!

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