Is Your Nik Toolbar Missing in Photoshop?

by Feb 15, 2022Photography Blog

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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Is Your Nik Toolbar Missing in Photoshop?

In this article, I explain what to do if you find your Nik Toolbar is missing in Photoshop.

If you found this article, then I suspect your Nik Toolbar has gone missing in Photoshop and you’re struggling to find it. This seems to be a common problem affecting Nik user’s since the new Nik Toolbar or Nik selective tool was introduced. Fortunately, I have a solution that may help. This has happened to me a few times (usually after an upgrade) and I’ve been able to fix it. It’s also helped other users where their Nik Toolbar has vanished inexplicably.

Check the Automate Menu First

This section explains an essential first step to complete before continuing.

Before trying to find your missing Nik Toolbar, you first need to check the Automate menu in Photoshop. Do this by first opening an image in Photoshop. Then in the Photoshop File menu, find the Automate section.

In the Automate section, you should see an option for the “Nik Selective Tool” or “Nik Selective Tool 2”. If you can’t see either of these, you should uninstall and then re-install the Nik collection. After reinstalling the Nik collection check the “File | Automate” menu again to see that the option is now available.

If having to reinstall the Nik collection you still can’t see the Nik toolbar in the menu, you should raise a  support request on the DxO website.

If you can see the Nik selective tool in the menu, select it. Then if everything is working you should see the Nik toolbar appear either on the right side of the screen or in a collapsed state to the bottom left.

Nik Toolbar in two possible positions

If you’ve tried this and still find your Nik toolbar is missing from Photoshop, move to the step below to identify the problem.

Testing for a Possible Scaling Problem

In every example of a missing Nik Toolbar from Photoshop, it’s been a scaling issue caused by the computer display. Here’s a test you can run can help to identify the problem.

Open an image in Photoshop and then convert the background layer the smart filters. You can do this by selecting the layer in the Layers Window and then in the Photoshop Filters menu, selecting “Convert for Smart filters”.

After the layer is converted, click on it in the Layers Window to ensure that it’s selected. Then in the Filter menu select one of the Nik plug-ins like Color Efex Pro. When the plug-in opens apply an adjustment and then save the changes. This should place you back in Photoshop and you will see the Nik plug-in listed under the smart filters in the Layers Window.

Nik Plugin applied as a smart filter

Now click on the eye icon to the left of the Color Efex Pro filter to turn it off. Having turned it off, click the icon a second time to turn it back on. As you turn the filter back on, watch the bottom left side of your screen. What you’re looking for is a progress bar like you can see in the following screenshot.

Nik Progress Bar on the Mac desktop

If you see this, it’s a possible indication that your display is using some form of scaling which Nik isn’t correctly identifying and this may be the cause of the missing Nik toolbar in Photoshop.

The Display Scaling Problem

It’s probably easiest to explain the problem using an example from one of my computers.

I have the Nik Collection installed on 27-inch Mac with a 5K retina screen. The default resolution for the screen gives me a lot of space on the desktop but it can be difficult to read. To make it easier and to help with photo editing and videos, I scale the display so that it looks like 2048 x 1152 pixel screen.

When my Nik Toolbar vanished, I eventually found it by switching my scaling to show the largest display of 3200 x 1800 pixels. If you’re a Mac user, you can do this in the system preferences by selecting the displays option. If you’re a Windows user, you will probably have something similar in your system settings (sorry, I don’t know where).

After making this change to the scaling and opening Photoshop again, I found the missing Nik toolbar.

My Missing Nik Toolbar Solution

What appears to have happened is that the toolbar had been minimised, but to a location that was outside the visible area of my display. Even when I selected to display the toolbar from the menu, it was displayed in an area that I couldn’t see. It only became visible by changing or removing the display scaling.

The simple solution was to maximise the toolbar and then drag it to the top of the screen, on the left. I could then close Photoshop and change my scaling back to my preferred setting. After restarting Photoshop, the Nik toolbar was visible again. Do be sure to close Photoshop before changing your scaling as I’ve found the change can also confuse Photoshop.

This solution has worked for me every time my Nik toolbar is missing from Photoshop. I hope it can fix your problem as well.

I’m very sorry but I can’t enter any support conversations. I’m providing this information on the basis that it has worked for me and several other people I know.

More Nik Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Nik Collection Tutorials page.

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