Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: ScreenTips without Hyperlinks.

ScreenTips without Hyperlinks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2020)


Mark wants to have a ScreenTip appear when someone hovers the mouse pointer over a word in his document. The problem is, when he tries to create a ScreenTip using the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, he can't create a ScreenTip unless he provides a destination (such as a path, bookmark, or URL). Without the destination, the OK button remains grayed out.

This behavior, as described, is built into Word and there doesn't seem to be a way around it. There are several workarounds that could be tried, but perhaps the best solution is to simply create a hyperlink that goes nowhere. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the word or phrase that you want to activate the ScreenTip. (This would be the word or phrase that the person would hover the mouse pointer over in order to have the ScreenTip displayed.)
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Bookmark tool, in the Links group. Word displays the Bookmark dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Bookmark dialog box.

  5. Give the bookmark a name, such as Bk1, and click on Add.
  6. While the word or phrase is still selected, press Ctrl+K. Word displays the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
  7. Click the Place in This Document button at the left side of the dialog box. Word displays a list of locations. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

  9. In the list of locations, choose the name of the bookmark you created in step 4.
  10. Click the ScreenTip button. Word displays the Set Hyperlink ScreenTip dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  11. Figure 3. The Set Hyperlink ScreenTip dialog box.

  12. Type the text you want to use for your ScreenTip and click on OK.
  13. Click OK to dismiss the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

Now when someone hovers over the word or phrase (from step 1), the ScreenTip appears. If they decide to "follow" the hyperlink, all they do is end up right back at the bookmark you defined in step 3—your original word or phrase.

Of course, the phrase you selected when you created the hyperlink will appear as a link—normally blue underlined text. If you don't want this type of treatment, apply a different format to the hyperlinked phrase or change the characteristics of the Hyperlink style.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13230) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: ScreenTips without Hyperlinks.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 9 - 0?

2020-01-10 15:38:02


Nice post Allen,

In Office 2013 (and likely other versions) you can also add a screen tip with via end notes and foot notes. This will append the word with a superscript suffix counter defined by the current style and add a separator line at the end of the section or the end of the page at the footer. The screen tip will display whatever text is written in the section.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to this method is that the screen tip does not include any additional text (unlike the hyperlink's "Ctrl - Click to Follow").
Other benefits are the ease of updating the screen tip text and the mouse cursor changes to indicate a note when it is moves over the word. Depending on your requirements, the superscript may or may not be an advantage and you can use the hidden checkbox in the font options to hide it. The major disadvantage is that you cannot use the hidden property on the notes section because that will result in an empty screen tip bubble. However, if your document has a solid background then you can match the font color to blend in and become invisible. The separator line can also be edited (or removed entirely) by viewing the document in draft mode, clicking "Show Notes" in the references tab, and selecting the appropriate separator from the drop down box.

There is some interesting behavior that comes along with this method. Double clicking the superscript when editing the document will take you to the note location but this does not seem to be the case while in read mode. I haven't tested every character but it seems that the screen tip will be displayed for every character to the left and right of the superscript until a space is encountered. This means, if the superscript font matches your background, you could have two words separated by the superscript and it will look like two words separated by a space space and they would both have the same screen tip. You can also combine multiple notes with each other or with a hyperlink. Only one screen tip can be displayed at a time and different screen tips will appear depending on the where the mouse cursors intersects the word.

2018-10-23 20:47:42

Murray Neish

Hi Allen,

Thanks for posting this tip. I was looking for a way to add screentips to acronyms in long documents. The following VBA code assists with automating the process. The macro attempts to find the meaning of the acronym from a glossary table (if present in the document).

Just add the following code to a standard module in the normal .doc and you're off to the races :)

Sub createNote()
'based on
Dim timeStamp As String, bookmarkName As String, screentipText As String
Dim rng As Range
Dim answer As Integer
timeStamp = Format(Now(), "yyyyMMddHHmmss")

If Right(Selection.Text, 1) = Chr(32) Then 'last character is a space
Selection.MoveEnd unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=-1 'remove trailing Space
Set rng = Selection.Range
Set rng = Selection.Range
End If
'check for bad bookmark names
If Not InStr(1, Selection.Text, "-", vbTextCompare) = 0 Then
MsgBox "Sorry I can't help you with that one!"
Exit Sub
End If

'assign name of bookmark

bookmarkName = Selection.Text & "_" & timeStamp

'add bookmark
With ActiveDocument.Bookmarks
.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Name:=bookmarkName
.DefaultSorting = wdSortByName
.ShowHidden = False
End With

'add hyperlink & screentip [todo if possible, find adjacent cell to glossary term in table, use to pre-populate tip input]
screentipText = ReplaceinTable(Selection.Text) 'remove non-ascii characters
rng.Select 'restore focus to sending text
screentipText = InputBox(Prompt:="Add hover text:", Default:=screentipText, Title:="Hover Text Maker")

'check fer cancel of inputbox
Select Case StrPtr(screentipText)
Case 0 'Cancel
Exit Sub
Case Else 'continue
End Select

ActiveDocument.Hyperlinks.Add Anchor:=Selection.Range, Address:="", _
SubAddress:=bookmarkName, ScreenTip:=screentipText, TextToDisplay:=Selection.Text

'remove hyperlink formatting
With Selection.Font
.ColorIndex = wdAuto
.Underline = wdUnderlineNone
End With
End Sub

Function ReplaceinTable(textToFind As String) As String

Dim orng As Range
Set orng = ActiveDocument.Range

'if used as sub add inputbox for texttofind
With orng.Find
Do While .Execute(FindText:=textToFind)
If orng.Information(wdWithInTable) Then
Set orng = Selection.Range
ReplaceinTable = CleanTrim(orng.Text, True)
GoTo lbl_Exit
End If
End With

Exit Function

End Function

Function CleanTrim(ByVal S As String, Optional ConvertNonBreakingSpace As Boolean = True) As String

Dim X As Long, CodesToClean As Variant
CodesToClean = Array(7, 10, 13) 'bell, carriage return and linefeed

If ConvertNonBreakingSpace Then S = Replace(S, Chr(160), "")
For X = LBound(CodesToClean) To UBound(CodesToClean)
If InStr(S, Chr(CodesToClean(X))) Then S = Replace(S, Chr(CodesToClean(X)), "")
CleanTrim = S
End Function

2018-08-01 07:36:09


Now if only we could un-bold the "Ctrl+Click to follow link" from the tip...

2015-11-05 13:44:38

Michael E. Marotta

Thanks! I have been with Word since 2.0, but there is always something new to learn. On my last assginment, I had Word 2013, but used it only for basic text document production. Here, with Word 2016, I have a mandate to do much more.


2014-11-11 17:03:12

Stu Gallie

Very helpful. Thanks! You have to wonder why Microsoft wouldn't provide this functionality in Word. Seems like a really good way to include a bit of definition on words or terms (especially acronyms) when writing a document.

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