Visibility layers have disappeared ffs

Hello again everyone,

I have recently noticed a problem with Blender that I am really frustrated about. It seems that on every single project I have ever made, there is a small area on the icon bar of each view window that shows two groups of tiny buttons that are used to control the “view layers” (or whatever they are meant to be called). Clicking these would show different objects that have been put on different layers. Usually you would select an object in object mode and press M to move the objects from one layer to the next, and then use these tiny buttons to view the objects that you put on each layer.

Well, on the project I have just spent an entire month working on, it seems that these buttons have completely disappeared.

Why is that? And how can I get them back?

If you mean the layer buttons, if you are in local view you won’t see them. Switch between local and global view with numpad /
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:Manual/3D_interaction/Navigating/Global_or_Local_View

Wow thank you for your speedy response! I hit that key and the buttons did indeed reappear - thank you! But it begs the question, what is “local view” for exactly??

If you have a complex scene, select an object you want to work on, select local view and everything is removed so you can work on it without distraction.