Any ideas on how to add a "simple" screentip in MS Word (Office 365)?

Hello all,

I thought I would find this c/o Google quite easily, but appears not to be a common request:

In Microsoft Word for Mac, v16.49 (part of Office 365), I am writing a fairly technical document, that has plenty of definitions/acronyms being used. [Kindly assume that I need this to be done in a particular way, so do not have control over the style – and my workarounds to make this easier to read for others, are limited.]

One suggestion, that I thought would be simple, would be to add those “tool-tips” to the words requiring explanation, that then appear when hovering over the word in question.

Currently, the only way I can see to add a tooltip, is when it is added to a link. As below, OK only becomes active – when the “ScreenTip text” has been added, after I also add a URL link/email address/cross-link to somewhere else in the document. The latter is not always feasible, since bi-directional becomes tricky.

Does anyone know of a way to add the ScreenTip text without an internal link?

Current result:

Have you considered just using the “Comment” option as a part of MS Word’s “Track Changes”?

If it would work for your situation, the nice thing about it is that people can turn the “Track Changes” view on/off depending on whether or not they want to see the comments/definitions.

Or, if you could make a ‘glossary’ of terms at the end of the document, you could make the tooltips link to those, but that, I suspect, might not be something within the ‘spec’ of what you re expected to produce.

Guess there’s no way to do that. In printed documents, which still seems to be Word’s default paradigm, one would use a footnote for that case, so consider also that in addition to @tjluoma suggestion for comments.

Screentips require that you link to something. You can link to something external or you can link to the document. I agree that making bookmarks to the footnotes or endnotes and then linking to them so you can put screen tips makes the most sense from a finished product perspective.

If you can’t do endnotes or footnotes, then linking to a glossary as was mentioned above is also a good option. From a technical writing perspective, it is often a good idea to include a glossary anyway unless there is some logic to the acronyms that you can clearly explain.

@ldebritto – many thanks, footnotes not really an option, since we don’t need them to be visible in the printed version – it is purely intended as an internal “guide” to the reader, as they are navigating the document. The same terms are used over and over again, and so we don’t want the “assistance” to be overly-pronounced, but there on a needs-only basis. As an aside, this is in the academic context, so colleagues would be very familiar with using footnotes – but as mentioned, not really what we are after in this particular case.

@tjluoma Yes, comments are being used now – but we want to use keep them there for a specific purpose (explaining the context/ramifications of a clause/its underlying rationale etc.). So don’t want it to be mixed with what we hoped the tooltips would offer. The Glossary option appears to be closest then to what we will need to use, albeit that it then depends on the underlying link.

@jahala thanks for the suggestion.

My hesitance with the glossary was the lack(?) of bi-directionality. As far as I know, assume that Term1 appears on pages 1,4,5,9,21,25 – the tooltip over each of these would then “link” to Term1 inside the Glossary – but if a colleague then clicked on that link, they would land on the Glossary, but there would be no way to have them jump back to either pages’ 1,4,5,9 etc., again, correct?

That said – it is the closest to what we need. Yes, the “link” would be created, but if they hover – the tool tip appears.

What I am now wondering about, is linking all the places to a simple “explanation paragraph” at the end of the document (or at the start), that explains how the tooltip functions, and that they must simply hover, to wait for it to appear (and not click on it immediately).
Presumably, we would be able to link from all over to the same “explanation paragraph”, but have each tooltip individually tailored for the word in question, which would then bring about pretty much what we are looking for…

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

I may have a work-around: Put the word ‘javascript’ in the address field. Here’s a screenshot from Word.

It’s not beautiful, but it works.

If someone clicks on it, they get an error message that the link isn’t valid, but they won’t lose their place.

Credit to @jahala for making me think of it when they said:

and that made me think “Well, JavaScript links don’t always work like that… I wonder…”