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Tooltips display additional information upon click, hover, or focus. The information should be contextual, useful, and nonessential.


A tooltip is a message box that is displayed when a user hovers over, clicks or gives focus to a UI element such as an icon, a highlighted word, or a button.

There are three variants of tooltips:

  • Icon tooltip
  • Definition tooltip
  • Interactive tooltip

Live demo


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.

Note that left and right positioning is not available for definition tooltip. This ensures the tooltip does not obstruct important information to the left or right of the trigger word.

Tooltips positioned at top
Tooltips positioned to the left and right.
Tooltips positioned at the bottom


Tooltips provide additional, contextual information. Each variant achieves this for different design needs.

Icon tooltip

An icon tooltip is used to clarify the action or name of an interactive icon button.

Example image of an icon tooltip.


  • The tooltip content should only contain one or two words.


  • Icon tooltips are displayed on hover and focus.

Definition tooltip

The definition tooltip provides additional help or defines an item or term. It may be used on the label of a UI element, or on a word embedded in a paragraph.

Definition tooltip used to define a word within a paragraph.


  • Should contain brief, read-only text
  • Use on proper nouns, technical terms, or acronyms with two letters or more
  • Do not use a definition tooltip on words with fewer than two letters


  • Definition tooltips are displayed on hover and focus

Interactive tooltip

Interactive tooltips may contain rich text and other interactive elements like buttons or links. In general, hiding interactive content in a tooltip is discouraged. Interactive tooltips are best used for onboarding experiences and product tours.

Example of an interactive tooltip in a product walk through.


  • If a user may need to visit an external resource, like while using a form, include a link in your interactive tooltip
  • Don’t use without a label. Consider the context a user needs before clicking a link


  • Interactive tooltips are displayed when the user clicks on an info icon
  • They persist until intentionally dismissed by clicking outside of the tooltip


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