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This page last modified: Dec 22 2006
title:Emacs toggle hide show menu and tool bars
description:How to hide or show Emacs menus and toolbars.

This document tells how to hide the tool and menu bars in
Emacs. Normally the only reason to do this is to gain a little extra
screen real estate. Personally, I only use the keyboard commands. I
simply never have need of any items in the tool or menu bar that
aren't bound to keys I use everyday. On a smaller monitor, the extra 3
or 4 lines of space is nice.

Emacs may be wonderful and has built-in apropos search for extensive
help but what about when you don't know the name of a thing? Synonyms
haven't made it into help files. (We can put a man on the Moon and a
rover on Mars, but we can't use synonyms in help files?)

Just a note to the Emacs documentation writers: I took me half an hour
to track down the name of the tool bar, i.e. the function
tool-bar-mode. A picture or even something on the tool bar that says
what it is when you mouse-over. The buttons have tool-tips. The tool
bar could use a tool tip. 

The menu bar is the top menu in both graphical and non-windowing
(non-graphical) Emacs. Thankfully, this has a common name and is
called a menu bar in Windows, Macintosh, and X Windows. The menu bar
has these entries: File, Edit, Options, ;; Buffers, Tools, Emacs-Lisp,

I will use the typical command and key conventions for writing the
commands. This convention is described in detail in:

You can toggle (switch between on or off) with this command
M-x menu-bar-mode

Add the lines below to your .emacs file to disable the menu bar.

;; arg >= 1 enable the menu bar. Menu bar is the File, Edit, Options,
;; Buffers, Tools, Emacs-Lisp, Help
(menu-bar-mode 0)

The tool bar is the extra bar you see below the menu bar when running
a graphical version of Emacs. The tool bar has icons on it. I would
not have called these "tools" since that word generally seems to mean
something like a pencil or paintbrush. Whatever. Synonyms might be
task, quick reference, shortcut, icon, button, gui. 

Toggle the tool bar:
M-x tool-bar-mode

Add the following lines to  your .emacs file to disable the tool bar.

;; With numeric ARG, display the tool bar if and only if ARG is
;; positive.  Tool bar has icons document (read file), folder (read
;; directory), X (discard buffer), disk (save), disk+pen (save-as),
;; back arrow (undo), scissors (cut), etc.
(tool-bar-mode 0)