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A toolbar is a vertical or horizontal row of clickable icons that perform specific operating system or application functions. Toolbars are commonly in Web browsers, word-processing applications, operating systems and websites. They are designed to provide easy and immediate access to users' most frequently used functions.
For example, typical toolbar functions for a Web browser include printing or moving to previously viewed Web pages. The toolbar for a word-processing application might allow easy, one-click document saving, cutting or pasting text, inserting page breaks, or the creation of graphic files or hyperlinks.
Some applications may have several sets of horizontal and vertical toolbars. In addition, as is the case with Microsoft Windows, the toolbar may give immediate access to background applications. In this case, users should realize that these applications may use valuable random access memory (RAM), which can slow computer response times. Also, Web browser plug-ins expose users to spyware and malware vulnerability. Thus, downloading toolbars from reputable sources is highly recommended.
Third-party software developers may sell separate toolbars to enhance or add OS or application features, including immediate access to sports, news, stock prices or local weather via the Web, as well as instant file or image manager access.
Websites may also provide toolbars. For example, toolbars are common on Facebook and other social media sites, and are used to provide easy access to frequently used features.