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I'm trying to figure out why the WP toolbar/admin bar shows up in the admin section for a non-admin user, but in the frontend it does not - only empty space.

I checked user profile setting, which technically what is used to show/hide it in the front end, but checked or unchecked, it doesn't do anything.

Any ideas as to what might cause this or what to try?

I'm using basic functions to add new menu options to the toolbar.

Any help is appreciated.

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Does it show up if you remove all your modifications to it? – mor7ifer Mar 30 '12 at 1:36

The toolbar requires wp_footer() in your theme. Check if this function is called in the theme, disable all plugins and test with TwentyEleven.

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Try this in your functions.php:

function show_admin_bar_all_time() {
    if ( is_user_logged_in() ) {  
        show_admin_bar( true );
add_action( 'wp_before_admin_bar_render', 'show_admin_bar_all_time' ); 
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