ScreenTips in Word are small popup windows that display descriptive text about the command or control your mouse is hovering over. You can also create your own ScreenTips for words, phrases, or images in your own documents.

Normally, ScreenTips are created using a hyperlink which would take you to a different location in the document or a web page or create a new email message, if it’s an email link. However, you can create custom ScreenTips using bookmarks if you don’t want a regular hyperlink.

Before creating a ScreenTip, you must make sure the feature is on. To do this, click the “File” tab.

On the backstage screen, click “Options” in the list of items on the left.

The “General” screen should display by default. In the “User Interface options” section, make sure the “Show feature descriptions in ScreenTips” (the default setting) option is selected. This turns on ScreenTips and Enhanced ScreenTips so that more information displays about a command in the default, built-in ScreenTips you see when you hover your mouse over commands on the ribbon. Enhanced ScreenTips can include the command name, keyboard shortcuts, art, and links to Help articles.

NOTE: The “Don’t show feature descriptions in ScreenTips” option will display ScreenTips but not Enhanced ScreenTips. You will only see the command name and maybe a keyboard shortcut.

Click “OK” to accept the change and close the “Word Options” dialog box.

To create your custom ScreenTip, highlight the word, phrase, or image you want to which you want to attach a ScreenTip and click the “Insert” tab.

In the “Links” section of the “Insert” tab, click “Bookmark.”

NOTE: When you hover over the “Bookmark” command, notice the ScreenTip that displays. This Enhanced ScreenTip includes the command name, a description, and a link to find out more about the command.

On the “Bookmark” dialog box, enter a name for the bookmark in the “Bookmark name” edit box. It’s common to use the word to which you are linking, or something related to it. Click “Add.”

NOTE: You cannot have spaces in your Bookmark name.

The bookmark is added and the “Bookmark” dialog box closes.

Now, we’re going to make the bookmark link to itself, so when you click on the link, it won’t go anywhere and we’re going to add text to our ScreenTip.

Make sure the word, phrase, or image to which you want to attach the ScreenTip is selected, then press “Ctrl + K” to open the “Insert Hyperlink” dialog box. Under “Link to” on the left side of the dialog box, click “Place in This Document.”

In the “Select a place in this document” box, under “Bookmarks,” select the bookmark you just created. If you don’t see the list of Bookmarks, click the plus sign to the left of “Bookmarks” to expand the list. To enter the text for the ScreenTip, click “ScreenTip.”

Type the text for the ScreenTip into the “ScreenTip text” edit box on the “Set Hyperlink ScreenTip” dialog box. You can also copy text from your document, or from another program, and paste it into the “ScreenTip text” edit box. Click “OK.”

Click “OK” on the “Insert Hyperlink” dialog box to close it.

When you hover your mouse over the word, phrase, or image to which you attached your ScreenTip, a popup displays containing your custom text.

Notice that the ScreenTip says to press “Ctrl + Click” to follow the link. Because we created a bookmark that links to itself, the link essentially goes nowhere. When you click on it, the cursor flashes a bit and moves to the beginning of the bookmark. You can remove the “Ctrl+Click to follow link” message from the ScreenTip; however, this means you don’t need to press “Ctrl” before clicking on a hyperlink. One click on a hyperlink will immediately follow the link.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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