MaxIm DL has eight customizable toolbars, rectangular arrays of buttons providing quick access to nearly every command in the MaxIm DL application menus. Each toolbar can be positioned to float anywhere convenient on the screen or "docked" against any of the four edges of the main application window. Toolbars can be independently hidden or displayed. There are seven seven toolbars associated with the normal application menus: File, Edit, View, Analyze, Process, Filter and Color. There is also a Standard toolbar that contains commonly accessed functions of the software.  All buttons on the Standard toolbar are also found on one of the other seven, but it groups the commonest and most Windows-generic functions together for legacy reasons. It also provides a convenient zoom combo box which is not found elsewhere.

There are two ways to determine the command associated with a toolbar button. First, simply point at the button with the mouse; after a brief delay, a "tooltip" will be displayed giving the name of the command. Alternatively, you can configure the toolbar to display the name of the command either underneath or instead of a toolbar button's icon. For more details on this, refer to the customization dialog.

To display or hide a toolbar, use the commands in the Toolbars submenu of the View menu; this submenu can also be called up by simply right-clicking on any background or border area of the main MaxIm DL application window. To make an anchored toolbar a floating toolbar, or vice versa, double-click on either the toolbar title bar (if visible), the "thumb" at the left end of a horizontal toolbar or at the top end of a vertical toolbar, or on any separator between groups of buttons. You can also drag the toolbar from one part of the screen to another using any of these reference points. During a drag operation, the position and orientation of the toolbar's ghost outline warns you if the toolbar will float or be docked on releasing the mouse button. Docking normally occurs when the dragging destination is near the edge of the application window, but you can prevent this by holding down the Ctrl key.

Note: When dragging a toolbar to reposition it to the left or right of another toolbar on the same row, release the mouse button when the cursor is at or above the horizontal midline of its neighbour. If you release the mouse button when the cursor is in the lower half of an existing toolbar, the toolbar will be inserted in a new band just below.

When a toolbar is floating, it can be resized by dragging either of the lower left or right corners, thus altering the shape of the toolbar and rearranging the buttons within it.