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Deploying ToolTipText effectively for end users

This user-submitted tip provides a simple way for end users to turn on and off ToolTips.

This tip originally appeared on VBCode.com. Please let others know how useful it is via the rating scale at the end of the tip. Do you have a useful VB, .NET or Visual Studio tip or code to share? Send it in.


I have always had a love/hate relationship with ToolTips. I like them as a method of conveying simple help information to an application user but realize that, by default, they are small and hard to read and that they can become annoying once the user has mastered the application.

Recently I discovered how easy it is to change the characteristics or the ToolTips from the properties/appearance tab of the desktop. Then I realized that by using the tag property of the controls on a form as a backup to the ToolTipText, I could effectively let the user turn ToolTips on and off.

When my applications start, I loop through the controls of a form and copy the ToolTip text for each control into the tag property for that control. Then I check to see if the user wants ToolTips or not from their saved options. If they do not, I loop through the controls and set the ToolTip text to null. If the user changes back to wanting the ToolTips, then I copy the tag to the ToolTip and they become active again.

So far this has worked well. It seems that once in a while the user must restart the program to get the new setting to work, but that seems like a very small trade-off.

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