Disappearing Toolbar Buttons for Macros

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 26, 2015)

Gary wrote about a frustration he experienced with Excel. He had some macros, stored in his Personal.xls workbook, that were assigned to some custom toolbar buttons. Out of the blue, the macros disappeared, and Gary couldn't figure out why.

There are any number of reasons why this could happen, so it is very hard to narrow down to a definitive answer. There are a few things to check, however.

Toolbar customizations are stored in a file with an extension .XLB. The main portion of the file name varies based on your version of Excel and Windows. The name may be something like excel10.xlb or some name containing your user ID and a version number. It is usually on the C:\ drive and often in Windows folder or in a personal settings folder (on my system it is C:\Documents and Settings\Allen L. Wyatt\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\Excel11.xlb.)

The XLB file may become corrupt for various reasons. Because of this, it is a good idea to make a backup of the file so that if it ever gets modified unintentionally or somehow gets corrupted, you can just delete the old one and rename the backup.

The XLB file can be "lost" in various ways. Most often it is due to sloppy programming. Some programmers may decide to make changes to the toolbars to add their own customizations, or they may decide to change the configuration of Excel's menus. All these changes get written to the XLB file, and this is not normally a problem. It can become a problem, however, if Excel ends abnormally and the programmer's code doesn't restore the toolbars or menus in the way it should.

Even if Excel doesn't exit abnormally, there could still be problems introduced by the programmer's code. Excel does not include a command to restore the toolbars to some saved configuration. Programmers often write code to check out the status of all the toolbars and then reverse the steps to get back to that condition, but if the code has errors in it, then the toolbars may be left in an unstable or (worse yet) unusable condition. This is bad.

The solution is to rely on your backup of the XLB file. You need to make sure that you save the file so that you can restore it if you detect a problem with the toolbars or menus. If you make any changes that you want to keep, make a new backup of the XLB file. This is nothing but cheap insurance.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2368) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Names

You can use some of the tools in Excel to convert cell references in formulas into names. Converting back (from names into ...

Discover More

Rows in a PivotTable

PivotTables are used to analyze huge amounts of data. The number of rows used in a PivotTable depends on the type of analysis ...

Discover More

Creating a Worksheet Copy by Default

Excel makes it relatively easy to copy worksheets to a different workbook. That doesn't mean it couldn't be made simpler ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Conditionally Playing an Audio File

You can add audio files to an Excel worksheet, but what if you want a particular audio file to play only when a value in a ...

Discover More

Calculating Monthly Interest Charges

Trying to calculate how much people owe you? If you charge interest or service charges on past-due accounts, there are a ...

Discover More

Turning Off ScreenTips

ScreenTips are one of those artifacts of Microsoft trying to make Excel be overly helpful. If the ScreenTips bother you, you ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share