Earlier versions of Matlab had an undocumented side-effect in the uicontrol function, of removing the figure toolbar if the figure’s toolbar property was set to ‘auto’ (which is the default value for figures).
In order to restore the toolbar, or prevent its removal in the first place, set your figure’s toolbar property to ‘figure’. This should preferably be done immediately after creating the figure, or in its *_OpeningFcn() function if the figure was created using GUIDE:
The uicontrol issue is now documented in the latest Matlab 7.9 release (R2009b), although it was undocumented for many earlier Matlab releases. Nevertheless, the current documentation, coupled with the fact that this issue was widely reported in the CSSM newsgroup and so is not really innovative, made me hesitate before posting. But I’m currently on vacation and don’t have time for a more detailed article this week (I skipped last week entirely), so I apologize to anyone who feels disappointed. I promise to compensate when I get back from vacation…
A similar issue was reported for GUIDE-created figures, and was reportedly solved in Matlab 7.2 (R2006a).