This article introduces creating Balloon Tooltips, using available standard APIs. Balloon Tooltips can be very useful sometimes, however if used improperly can be painful for the user. Simply put, the code creates different types of balloon Tooltips. To use this, download the code, and choose the class you want to add in your project. Copy it over to your solution and you are ready to go. Have a look at the code behind the forms (
Form3) in order to use it. The aim here was to keep the code as simple and modular as possible.
There are quite a few excellent articles on Code Project explaining how to create BalloonTips. Some even create them from scratch and are probably more feature rich. While I found these articles very informative, I also felt the need to use the original tips which come with Windows XP. The result is this simple API based project. Most of the code is based on this MSDN article.
I have omitted a notification kind of Tooltip or a Task Tray kind of balloon tip, just because there is already a good example on Code Project.
Using the code
All classes contain explanatory doc comments where necessary. Also code has been provided in both VB and C# to help ease of usage. The solution has been created in VS. NET 2003, hence may not be usable from VS. NET 2002, However the source code shouldn't be a problem.
HoverBalloon: Instead of showing a Tooltip over a control, a balloon tip can be shown over the control. Use this in cases where you want to attract the user's attention to detail. Use this sparingly in your application, so that user doesn't end up seeing a festival of balloons scattered over the form.
MessageBalloon: Has more control over the display of the balloon. The stem, location of the balloon can be changed with this class. This can be shown and hidden at will. Use this whenever you need a non-modal message box.
EditBalloon: Notice how a balloon comes up while entering the password in a edit control, if the CAPS lock is pressed accidentally ? It just reminds the user, but doesn't stop the process. Use this class as a reminder to the user while entering key edit fields.
If using VS. NET 2002 then a manifest file needs to be added to the directory in which the binary resides. (Find one in the 'bin' directory of download). If using VS. NET 2003 then
Application.EnableVisualStyles() needs to be called before any form is loaded.
Enjoy the code, any feedback is appreciated.
If the user has disabled BalloonTips in the registry then this probably wont work. This hasn't been tested on operating systems other than XP, so probably it won't work there.
Provide designer support similar to the
Tooltip control, by deriving from
System.ComponentModel.Component class, similar to the
System.Windows.Forms.ToolTip class at design time.
Ramesh is very much into Microsoft technologies, and silently marvels at the power of Windows SDK.
He juggles his time between his family, work and his computer.