How can we show extension icons in a new Chrome installation?

Normally, in Chrome, once extensions are installed, icons appear to the right of the address bar. Sometimes, you have to drag the address bar to the left of the options icon, and then it will appear. If there are more icons then room to show, chevrons "<<" appear so you can access extensions from a drop-down.

On new Chrome installations only, with active extensions installed that do show up on other existing PCs, I've got a group of PCs that we just can't get any icons to show up, and we are stumped: If you've already had chrome installed before 12/24/2015, then you may be able to get the address bar to resize and then see your installed extensions, (sometimes with great difficulty).

However, we've just installed Chrome on two new Windows 8 and Windows 7 PCs, and another Windows 7 already had about 20 extensions active, yet no icons were showing, (and possibly had never been showing). None of these three PCs showed any icons, (with installed and active extensions that do have clickable icons), nor did any show the ">>" allowing you to access extensions from a drop down. None had any resizer icons showing next to the address bar when hovering, and none appeared no matter how hard we tried to hover, click, and coax the resize icon from hiding, using dozens of tricks we read about over the years, (some of which worked in the past). Yet, I have about five other PCs that do have either the chevron, or at least some of the icons showing. With these other existing Chrome installations, grabbing the resize icon was easy, so you could resize.

Our conclusion is that the current version of Chrome is broken, and if icons never did show, then the icons won't ever allow icons from extensions to show. When searching for answers, we found quite a few posts in Google's support site, going back seven years or so. Many of the posts had fifty or more replies, half or more who never got a reliable answer that worked, and were closed with some cheery message that said if anyone "still had a problem" to open a new question.

If motivated, it can't be that hard for Google to fix: By simply ensuring that there is a visible object to grab at all times to resize the address / Omnibar to make room for the icons. So for now, don't use any extensions that require an active icon, or use a different browser if installing a fresh copy of Chrome for PCs.

What are we missing?

2 Answers 2


Adding extensions to a newly installed Chrome that are know to work, should just make your icons appear automatically. The extension I was trying to make show up, just didn't work in any version of Chrome. Install the "LastPass" extension, which is one that I know does show up. With work, you should see this, just to the immediate right of the OmniBar: <--|--> (which you can click and drag left or right to resize).

If you'd like to verify the setting, just view the default preferences file here, after adjusting the OminBar size (URL address bar to the left of the settings icon). After, (and only after), modifying the size by dragging with your mouse the first time, you can search for the string: "toolbarsize" in this file, (the "preferences" file name has a blank file extension):

"C:\Users\%CurrentUser%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Preferences"

Note: there are also separate preferences files kept in
...\profile 1\ ... , or
...\profile #n\ ..., as well as,
...\Default\ ...
(Although you could modify these manually after shutting down Chrome, YMMV, so don't count on modifying these files safely.)

The following settings = [mean:]

"toolbarsize":-1,"ui" = [show ALL extensions {which have icons}]
"toolbarsize":2,"ui" = [show first 2 icons]
"toolbarsize":9,"ui" = [show first 9 icons]


Clicking on the puzzle piece icon next to the user icon allows you to set the extensions to show or not show next to address bar.

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