Overview

A tooltip is a popup that displays information related to an element when the element receives keyboard focus or the mouse hovers over it. It typically appears after a small delay and disappears when “Escape” is pressed or on mouse out.

Usage

Use when

  • Providing a short description of a page element or control.
  • Describing the action of an icon-only button.
  • Revealing the full text of truncated data.
  • Revealing the purpose of a menu that has a dynamic title.

Don’t use when

  • Providing a description longer than 10 words.
  • Your application exists on mobile devices. There is no hover state to activate the tooltip.

Specifications

  • Icon tooltips and interactive tooltips may be positioned top, bottom, left, or right to the trigger item.
  • The container of the tooltip text may be aligned to start, center or end.
  • Do not make the tooltip larger than the element it appears from.
Tooltip positions

Behaviors

  • Icon tooltips appear on hover and focus.

Editorial

  • Keep it brief—aim for fewer than 10 words.
  • End full sentences with a period. Using “&” is OK. No “!”.
  • For brevity, don’t spell out numbers: Use 12, not twelve.
  • Use tooltips to present small amounts of data. Tooltips are similar to toasts, or micro-conclusions, which give the user a short confirmation.
  • Use the past tense rather than present perfect (was submitted vs. has been submitted). We avoid the past perfect tense because it lacks clarity for translators.
  • Use sentence case for tooltips.
  • Never add a link to text in a tooltip.

Accessibility

  • The element that serves as the tooltip container has role tooltip.
  • The element that triggers the tooltip references the tooltip element with aria-describedby.
  • Make sure tooltips are part of the page’s tab sequence, so they can receive focus.