Q: You know those little identifying messages that pop on the screen when I hover my cursor over some icons? Is there some way I can create a similar feature in Word or Excel so readers can get more information about some material in the document or financial statement?
A: Sure, that can be done. Those little pop-ups are called ScreenTips (see screenshot at right), and they first appeared in Web browsers. To be sure, they are wonderful little embellishments that can add a new dimension of information to a report in a very efficient way. They can be triggered either with a click or by passing your cursor over them. You’ll be pleased to know you can create them in Word and Excel. Before I show you how to create them, make sure the application you’re working in can see the ScreenTips. To see if you have set the default to that option, in both Word and Excel go to Options, View (see screenshot below) and be sure you have a check next to ScreenTips.
To create a ScreenTip in Word, type the text you want to act as the icon that will trigger a pop-up message, such as Psst!…click here for a hot tip. Then highlight the text and right-click on it to display a menu that includes Hyperlink (see screenshot at right). Click on it to evoke the Insert Hyperlink screen (see screenshot below).
Notice that Psst!…click here for a hot tip is already in the Text to display box. To add the message that would appear when you clicked on the hyperlink, click on ScreenTip to open the Set Hyperlink ScreenTip screen. Then type your message and click on Place in This Document and click on OK.
Here is what the hyperlink looks like in a document…
…and when you click on it or mouse over it, this message appears:
In Excel, the steps are similar. Highlight the cell you want to hyperlink and right-click to produce the menu that includes Hyperlink and follow the steps above.
The outline of the hyperlinked cell will be identified by a distinctive color, and what that color will be depends on how your spreadsheet’s background is color formatted. The screenshot below shows a light-yellow tinted worksheet with the hyperlink identified with a blue border. In Excel, passing a cursor over the hyperlinked cell will trigger the message (see screenshot below). The process in the Office 2007 versions of Word and Excel is the same as in Office 2003.