A common Lightroom annoyance is when a panel suddenly disappears. You would be surprised at how often someone contacts me in a panic because he or she can’t find a needed panel. They have looked everywhere and they don’t understand what happened to it.
In Figure 1 you can see what the problem looks like. The Basic panel is missing from the top of my Develop module panel set.
Though the solution to this problem is easy, it isn’t obvious. I usually instruct students to look for solutions in the View and Window menus when the interface doesn’t look right. But in this case you won’t find the answer there. Now will you find it in preferences either. Instead you need to use our old friend, right-click.
Figure 2 shows the menu that is displayed when I right-clicked on one of the panel headers (the bar that has the name of a panel) on the right side of the Develop module. This menu gives you the ability to conceal/reveal a panel in that set by unchecking/checking it. As you can see, Basic is unchecked. All I have to do is click on Basic in the menu to reveal it again. Problem solved!
My guess is that panels initially go missing because a user accidentally right-clicks a panel header and then compounds the accidental click by accidentally clicking a panel name on the pop-up menu when attempting to navigate away from the menu.
I honestly don’t see much value in intentionally hiding individual panels. If panels are taking too much screen real estate, you can choose Solo Mode to save space as I did in Figure 2. Solo Mode allows only one panel to be open at a time. Each panel set, right and left in every module, can be controlled individually with Solo Mode, which gives you greater control over your Lightroom setup.