Toolbar Madness

By on July 23, 2007

I have this love/hate relationship with toolbars in software. There are some things to like about toolbars, especially when dealing with new & unfamiliar software. But for apps I use every day, keyboard commands are much faster and easier than steering the cursor all over the place. The toolbars just clutter up the UI and take screen space away from what I’m working on.

The thing about toolbars that got my blood pressure up this morning was Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional. I had four documents that I needed to put on my screen to compare, but in Acrobat 8, instead of having the toolbars anchored below the menu bar as is done with most other apps (even in Acrobat 7), they are attached to each window. So with four documents open, you have four sets of toolbars. If those windows are cascaded one behind the other it’s no big deal. But if you tile those windows, there goes about 40 percent of your screen real estate. Click on the thumbnail for a closer look at what my screen looked like this morning.

Grrr.

The one positive thing that came of this is forcing me to learn a new keyboard command to hide the toolbars (F8). I’d still much rather have it the way it was before without uninstalling version 8.

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