Pallium Consulting Services




ToolbarToTop version 1.0 release 1, 6/24/2003
© 2003 Pallium, all rights reserved worldwide.
Written by Bryan K. Ressler, Pallium Consulting Services

What Is ToolbarToTop?

ToolbarToTop is a program that quite simply brings a particular window to the front. Typically you use ToolbarToTop's User Interface to create a shortcut that when run, forces a particular window to the top of all other windows on your computer.

ToolbarToTop was designed to bring Toolbar windows, such as the QuickLaunch Bar or other toolbars created by right-clicking the Windows Taskbar. However, ToolbarToTop shortcuts can be used to activate any top-level window providing that window is already open somewhere on your computer.


You can get ToolbarToTop from the downloads page.


  • ToolbarToTop is distributed as a ZIP archive. To open the archive, you'll need a utility like WinZip or WinRAR.
  • Create a folder called C:\Program Files\ToolbarToTop.
  • Unzip the distribution ZIP file into the ToolbarToTop directory.

Why ToolbarToTop Exists

toolbar 3 toolbar 4 You can use ToolbarToTop to create shortcuts that you put in your QuickLaunch bar (which is in the Taskbar and always visible) to bring other toolbars to the top.

For example, I have the ToolbarToTop icon that is circled in the picture to the right set up to bring my large Music toolbar (shown at left) to the top. That way the larger toolbar is out of my way until I need it, but the toolbar is one click away.

You can also use ToolbarToTop to "surface" windows that you always have open. You've probably noticed that if you click the QuickLaunch icon for Outlook twice, you'll get two instances of Outlook, which is probably not what you wanted. So if you leave Outlook running all the time as I do, you can create a ToolbarToTop icon that will bring Outlook to the top without launching a new instance.

Using ToolbarToTop

ui ToolbarToTop provides an easy-to-use graphical user interface for creating ToolbarToTop shortcuts.

  1. Make sure the "target" window, that is, the window you want to bring to the front using ToolbarToTop, is open on your computer somewhere. It needn't be on top.
  2. Locate the directory into which you installed ToolbarToTop.
  3. Double-click the ToolbarToTop icon. You'll see the dialog shown to the right.
  4. The list shows the names of all the top-level windows currently open on your computer. Select the one for which you want a shortcut.
  5. Click the Create "To Top" Shortcut on Desktop button to create the appropriate shortcut.
  6. You'll get a message box confirming the creation of the shortcut and its file name.
  7. You can make more shortcuts while you're here by repeating from step 4.
  8. When you're done creating ToolbarToTop shortcuts, click Cancel.
  9. Now look on your desktop for the ToolbarToTop shortcuts.
  10. If you wish, you may right-click the shortcuts, choose Properties, then click the Change Icon... button to assign helpful icons to the shortcuts that will remind you what window they bring to the top.
  11. Now typically you'll drag these shortcuts into your QuickLaunch bar, providing you with a one-click mechanism for bring those windows to the top.

How Does ToolbarToTop Work?

(This technical description is only for the curious. Others may safely ignore. smiley)

The ToolbarToTop application takes zero, one, or two parameters. If no command-line parameters are provided, the program displays its UI as described above.

If one parameter is provided that is taken to be the window name to bring to the front. The program searches top-level windows for the first window with a matching name.

If two parameters are provided, they are taken to be the window name first, and the window class second. The window class is a string that the Microsoft Windows operating system uses to identify the class of a window. This second parameter helps ToolbarToTop to distinguish between windows with the same name. Typically it is difficult to determine a window's class, since this information is not exposed to the user by any normal user interface mechanism. That's why ToolbarToTop has a convenient UI for creating shortcuts.

© 2003 Bryan K. Ressler, all rights reserved worldwide.
If you find any errors in this document please email me.