jQuery Tooltip Example: Customizing Your Tooltips

jquery tooltip exampleVisit just about any website, and you’ll spot a standard style tooltip almost every time. A tooltip is just a message that pops up on the screen whenever you hold your cursor over various objects on a webpage, such as icons, images, hyperlinks, or any other element in a graphical interface. Essentially, tooltips are like a floating, unobtrusive caption for web objects, functioning as a way to describe something on a site without having to take up space in the overall page design to do it.

With jQuery’s tooltip plugin, however, you will have much more control over the customization process. This means that you don’t have to settle for the standard, somewhat plain appearance of native tooltips if you feel their presence is necessary but brings down the aesthetical appeal of your website. You can learn more about jQuery, which is used extensively in the website design industry, by reading about using it to create a website layout in this Udemy blog. If you think jQuery sounds like something you might like to add to your website building repertoire, check out this in-depth beginner’s course.

The Basics

To get started with jQuery Tooltip, you need two things. The first is a trigger, which is simply the element you designate to show the tooltips when the cursor is placed upon them. For example, the following line of HTML code could function as a trigger, since it is the element you want to display the tooltip when a cursor is placed on it:

<img src=”sample.jpg” title=”Insert tooltip text here”/>

You’ve just laid out the foundation for what will eventually become a stylized tooltip with jQuery. However, the trigger elements are not the only thing needed to get started. You’ll also want to create an element to house the tooltip triggers. This can be any kind of element, such as <div> or <table> to name a few possibilities. This will allow you to assign different styles to different tooltips if you don’t want to go with just one type every time a tooltip shows up on your webpage. Going back to the example above, your full HTML code would look something like this:

<div id=”example”>
<img src=”sample.jpg” title=”Insert tooltip text here”/>

Of course, you could always have multiple trigger elements within this <div> field, so if you wanted to insert multiple pictures with tooltips, you could add as many images as you wanted before inserting the </div> tag that closes out the element.

Customizing the CSS

When you’re using jQuery Tooltip, the plugin will automatically generate the tooltip element and apply a default styling for it in your CSS coding, but if you want to take full advantage of the software, you will want to tinker with this a bit. Here, you can manage things like positioning of the tooltip and control other aspects of its appearance, such as a border around the outside, the color of the border, or even change the color of the background behind the tooltip text. For instance, if you modified the tooltip CSS file as follows, you would be modifying numerous aspects of the default tooltip style:

border:1px solid blue

Editing the CSS as shown above gives the tooltip specific styling instructions, such as giving it an absolute placement on the page (the margin and padding lines influence position), assigning a blue border, and making the tooltip text appear on a solid background. These are just a few things you have the power to customize with jQuery Tooltip, however. Using this plugin, you have the ability to match your tooltip to the exact same look and feel of the rest of your website. If you want to learn more about CSS coding and what it can do to bring your website to life, take a course in CSS Fundamentals at Udemy.

Bear in mind that jQuery is easy to work with even if you don’t feel like tackling the CSS customization yourself. Since jQuery is intended to make the coding process simpler for users, it comes with several premade styles to choose from. You can play around with the different styles and determine if one of them suits your needs well enough without having to get into a high level of manual coding. You might also consider looking into ThemeRoller, an application that makes customizing the appearance of all your tooltips a quick and pain free process.

Activating Your Script With JavaScript

You’ve determined what graphical elements (or just the one image element in this example, although you could have multiple elements) you want a customized tooltip to appear over, you assigned it a div id of “example”, and you’ve customized the CSS of .tooltip to give it the unique look you feel best goes along with your site. Next, you’ll need to code the activation process with JavaScript. This is a simple process that only involves selecting the trigger elements with jQuery. In this example, you would select the <img> tag with a corresponding “title” attribute and also happen to reside in the “example” <div>. This all refers back to the initial HTML code previously inserted into this example.

$(#example img[title]”).tooltip();

This is the final step in ensuring that your tooltip is ready to be seen by visitors at your website. It simply instructs your customized tooltip to come into play when the mouse is hovered over any image with the “title” component inside the div with the id of “example”, as mentioned above. If you’re interested in JavaScript programming but don’t feel very knowledgeable about it, consider learning the basics of JavaScript in this Udemy course.

Hiding Your Customized Tooltip 

One final note to keep in mind, however, is that native tooltips are designed to disappear after initially popping up. This anticipates that a user at your website is going to read the text you want to appear in the tooltip and then want it to disappear so as not to continually block the element it’s being displayed over. With a little more JavaScript, you can easily mimic this effect to make sure that your tooltips aren’t permanent fixtures on your page. Keeping in mind the examples above, you might enter something like this:


In just a few lines of programming, you’ve just ensured that your tooltips don’t become a nuisance to your website. The number 500 above references how many milliseconds it takes before the tooltip appears (show) after a cursor is held over the element in question, and how quickly it goes away after first appearing.

Interested in learning more about web design? There are many job opportunities for web designers and developers, and now is a great time to brush up on your skills and get in on the action. Maybe you aren’t necessarily interested in making a career out of it, but you’d like to learn the basics so you can custom design your own website as a hobby on the side.

Either way, this HTML for Beginners course at Udemy is a perfect, low-stress way to get your feet wet and learn a little more about the basics of HTML programming and the world of web design. Take action today and follow up on your interests; by learning more about a topic that intrigues you, you may discover a new hobby to be passionate about or turn into an expert in an industry you never expected to be involved in.