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Pop-up tooltip balloons can sometimes disappear before you have a chance to read them. There are a few ways to capture them before they go away and no need to stress over it.

There's nothing that stresses me out more than unexpected or expected pop-up information balloons that de-pops (if you will) before I've had time to read it. Then, you can't get it back. How can I get them to stay until I'm done reading? I have an older PC, a Dell, running Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft Windows XP, Home Edition with Service Pack 3. I just can't read it fast enough. Thanks!

In this excerpt from Answercast #80, I take a look at those fast pop-up balloons that sometimes disappear before you can read them. Fortunately, it may not matter.

Pop-up tooltip balloons

Unfortunately I'm not really aware of a way to change the timing. The problem is that the timing is actually set in some cases, by Windows, but in many other cases by the actual application itself.

So you'd have to run around first, and understand, which applications are throwing up those pop-up balloons - and then go to each of those applications and see if they have a way to adjust the timing. In general, they don't.

Mouse over the balloon

The one thing I would suggest (and the scenario that I find myself in when things go away too quickly) is that most of those balloons will stay if you immediately move the mouse cursor over them.

In other words as soon as you see a pop-up balloon appear, take the mouse and move it so that the mouse pointer is hovering over that balloon. Don't click because clicking may take some kind of an action. It should be enough to have the mouse pointer hovering over the balloon.

That should, in most cases, keep that tooltip balloon up long enough (as long as you keep the mouse pointer over it) for you to read it.

That's about the only real solution I have to this particular problem.

Print screen

If this is really a serious issue that you're finding happens a lot - and turns out to have any kind of important ramification - then the other thing to do would be to quickly press the print screen key, which will take a screen shot of your entire screen.

You can then paste that into a Paint program, or a Word document, and review the contents of your screen at your leisure.

I have an article on how to make a screen shot that I refer you to there.

Don't stress!

The good news is that, for the most part, a well-developed application, a well-designed application, is going to use those kind of self-disappearing tool tip balloons for information that is not necessarily important.

In other words, they may pop-up while you're not even at the computer and that needs to be ok.

So the application designers, who are using these tool tips, are doing so in a way where it should be okay if you ignore them completely. It's certainly nothing that I would get stressed about - and certainly nothing that should have an adverse impact on your overall experience.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6153 - December 20, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
leon keller jr
December 20, 2012 12:18 PM

Thanx a heap, LEO. I see, that quickly disappearing pop-ups are not that important.

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