Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I make pop-up tooltip balloons stay up longer so I can read them?


There’s nothing that stresses me out more than unexpected or expected pop-up
information balloons that de-pops (if you will) before I’ve had time to read
it. Then, you can’t get it back. How can I get them to stay until I’m done
reading? I have an older PC, a Dell, running Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft
Windows XP, Home Edition with Service Pack 3. I just can’t read it fast enough.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #80
, I take a look at those fast pop-up balloons that sometimes
disappear before you can read them. Fortunately, it may not matter.


Pop-up tooltip balloons

Unfortunately I’m not really aware of a way to change the timing. The problem is that the timing is actually set in some cases, by Windows, but in many other cases by the actual application itself.

So you’d have to run around first, and understand, which applications are throwing up those pop-up balloons – and then go to each of those applications and see if they have a way to adjust the timing. In general, they don’t.

Mouse over the balloon

The one thing I would suggest (and the scenario that I find myself in when things go away too quickly) is that most of those balloons will stay if you immediately move the mouse cursor over them.

In other words as soon as you see a pop-up balloon appear, take the mouse and move it so that the mouse pointer is hovering over that balloon. Don’t click because clicking may take some kind of an action. It should be enough to have the mouse pointer hovering over the balloon.

That should, in most cases, keep that tooltip balloon up long enough (as long as you keep the mouse pointer over it) for you to read it.

That’s about the only real solution I have to this particular problem.

Print screen

If this is really a serious issue that you’re finding happens a lot – and turns out to have any kind of important ramification – then the other thing to do would be to quickly press the print screen key, which will take a screen shot of your entire screen.

You can then paste that into a Paint program, or a Word document, and review the contents of your screen at your leisure.

I have an article on how to make a screen shot that I refer you to there.

Don’t stress!

The good news is that, for the most part, a well-developed application, a well-designed application, is going to use those kind of self-disappearing tool tip balloons for information that is not necessarily important.

In other words, they may pop-up while you’re not even at the computer and that needs to be ok.

So the application designers, who are using these tool tips, are doing so in a way where it should be okay if you ignore them completely. It’s certainly nothing that I would get stressed about – and certainly nothing that should have an adverse impact on your overall experience.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

1 thought on “How do I make pop-up tooltip balloons stay up longer so I can read them?”

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.