A tooltip is a typically small floating box of textual information that appears after a short delay when the mouse pointer is hovered or placed over an item that has additional information.
One good example are these glossary definitions themselves: in normal articles portions appear as tooltips for words that have glossary entries.
Tooltips are often present for buttons, menu items, and other common controls in Windows applications.
The tooltip, also known as infotip or hint, is a common graphical user interface element in which, when hovering over a screen element or component, a text box displays information about that element (such as a description of a button's function, or what an abbreviation stands for). The tooltip is displayed continuously as long as the user hovers over the element.
On mobile operating systems, a tooltip is displayed upon long-pressing—i.e., tapping and holding—an element. Some smartphones have alternative input methods such as a stylus, which can show tooltips when hovering above the screen.
A common variant of tooltips, especially in older software, is displaying a description of the tool in a status bar. Microsoft's tooltips feature found in its end-user documentation is named ScreenTips. Apple's tooltips feature found in its developer documentation is named help tags. The classic Mac Operating System uses a tooltips feature, though in a slightly different way, known as balloon help. Some software and applications, such as GIMP, provide an option for users to turn off some or all tooltips. However, such options are left to the discretion of the developer, and are often not implemented.