About ToolTipsFactory for .NET

Advanced, single/multi-line text, image and animated image tooltips.

ToolTipsFactory for .NET is a set of components designed to add visually and functionally sophisticated ToolTips to Windows Forms applications. These components give application developers the possibility to add really dynamic tooltips to their applications, with single or multiline text, images or even animations as content. They also give programmers full control over size and layout of the ToolTip's background, border and behavior.

Why do applications have ToolTips?

ToolTips are a really useful invention. We all know and (in general) like these practical tiny yellow windows that pop-up whenever the mouse pointer hovers over a control in a windows application. Usually they give a hint about the function of the control (e.g. they answer questions like: "What happens if that button is hit?" or "What is this checkbox for?"). In many cases this hint is enough information for the user of an application to proceed without having to look up the information in the online help or - even worse - take that heavy printed manual from the shelf. In other cases they may show actual information about the state of a program, an operation or process, or they just show the complete information in cases where the control size limits the amount of information that can be shown. These days it is a "must" for a professionally designed application, to provide some kind of ToolTips.

Why does your application need ToolTipsFactory tooltips?

By today, almost all professional development environments offer some kind of tooltip-control to be added to a software-project. But usually these controls can only produce the classical tiny yellow pop-ups. As an application developer you know, that the things you can do with these classical ToolTip controls are quite limited. As a matter of fact, there is no way to change the visual appearance of this little helpers. End-users of applications, which make use of classical ToolTips, are literally doomed to stick their nose into the screen in order to read them. As a user and developer you know this well, but you're looking in vain for properties like Fontsize, BackgroundColor, Border etc. in order to provide the users of your applications with a better ToolTip-experience.

That's where the ToolTipsFactory comes to the rescue. The ToolTipsFactory ToolTip components give application developers full control over size and layout of the tooltips. The tooltip layout can be interactively designed in Visual Studio.NET or dynamically configured at run-time. More then forty-five (45) Layout-properties like Font, FontSize, FontColor, BackgroundColor, Border etc. let you create unique ToolTip-layouts, which are not only easily readable, but also perfectly match the layout of your application.

Another shortcoming of the classical tooltip controls is their inability to display other content than text, although there are countless imaginable uses for tooltips that can display much more than single lines of microscopic text. It seems, that the graphical part of the graphical user interface comes to a full stop at the border of the classical tooltips.

Now ToolTipsFactory finally crosses this barrier and brings the graphics to the last graphic-free areas of the desktop - the tool tips!

If you have ever dreamed about showing really dynamic content in your application's ToolTips, no matter if it's text, images or even animations, and having full control over size and layout of the ToolTips content, background, border and behavior, then ToolTipsFactory offers professional software developers with the ideal solution.

The components provided by the ToolTipsFactory are:

  • ToolTipsFactorySingleLine - This component adds a ToolTip to all controls on a form to show one single line of text. Optionally it can display an image or movie on either the left or the right side of the text. The layout and behavior is fully customizable
  • ToolTipsFactoryMultiLine - This component enables the controls on a form to show multiple lines of text in the ToolTip. The number of lines is only limited by the size of the selected font and the vertical screen resolution
  • ToolTipsFactoryImage - With this component it is possible to show any kind of image (icons, photographs, dynamically created drawings etc), in the tooltip. The images can be assigned at design-time in Visual Studio .NET, loaded or dynamically created at run-time by the application
  • ToolTipsFactoryAnimation - This component gives your application the capability to pop up fully animated ToolTips. The animation (the movie-clip) can be assigned and edited at design-time or it can be generated dynamically by the application

All components have the following features in common:

  • 100% managed code
  • Works with .NET 1.0 and 1.1
  • Full Visual Studio integration and support (Version 7.0 and 7.1)
  • Full Visual Studio designer support (dynamic Tooltip testing right inside VS)
  • All layout elements are fully customizable (Border, Font, Background, Content) in code and through Visual Studio designer's
  • Layout elements (Border, Font, Background) can be rendered with solid colors, multicolored gradients, hatch-patterns and textures. Text can be rendered with shadow and the desired alignment can be selected
  • Full transparency support. (E.g. make a multiline text with shadow float over your control, or show a semi-transparent framed photography of the person selected in a listbox)
  • ToolTips can be configured to stay where they pop-up (classical Tooltip behavior) or to smoothly follow the mouse pointer. The latter possibility allows a really dynamic use of ToolTips, like showing real-time mouse coordinates, implement a magnifying glass to look at images or show any information you like next to the cursor when moving the pointer over an image or diagram
  • Layouts can be saved and loaded either at design-time or at runtime. (XML-files)
  • The ToolTipsFactory for .NET components provide their service as extended properties to all controls on a form. (I.e., each control on the form gets a new property, where you can assign the text or image to show in the Tooltip for the specific control)
  • All layout properties of the component can be overwritten through this extended property. This allows making the same ToolTip look different for each control on the form. E.g.: The Tooltip-text for the Delete-Button is red and for the Save-Button green. Layout properties are can be overwritten at design-time or dynamically at runtime

Additional features of the ToolTipsFactorySingleLine component:

  • A symbol (any kind of bitmap-image) can be displayed either on the left or the right side of the Tooltip-text
  • A ToolTipsFactory-animation can be played either on the left or the right side of the Tooltip-text
  • The animation can be edited as described in the additional features for the ToolTipsFactoryAnimation component
  • Smooth, flicker-free display of movies in ToolTips

Additional features of the ToolTipsFactoryImage component:

  • This ToolTip component displays any kind of Image instead of text

Additional features of the ToolTipsFactoryAnimation component:

  • Smooth, flicker-free display of movies in ToolTips
  • A movie-clip can be assigned to each control on a form through the extended property provided by the component
  • A powerful Animation-Editor allows you to create and edit your own movies
  • All kinds of images can be imported as animation-frames
  • Animated Gif-images can be imported and translated in to the ToolTipsFactory Animation-format
  • Imported images are automatically scaled down to the desired size
  • ToolTipsFactory-Animations do not have a static frame-rate. Individual display-time's can be specified for each animation frame. This allows you to create really compact animations (e.g., instead of storing the same image 30 times to get one second of movie showing a static scene, you just define the frame to be shown for 1000 ms)
  • Display-Time of each individual frame can be defined with an accuracy of 10 ms
  • A powerful timing-editor allows you to accelerate or slow down animations with a multitude of timing patterns (linear, exponential, logarithmical, free)
  • Individual frames or groups of frames can be edited with a powerful image-editor (contrast, brightness, fuzzy color replacement) right inside Visual Studio
  • Import and export ToolTipsFactory Animations as XML-files
  • Full transparency support
  • Automatically converts image-formats, depending on whether transparency is needed or not. (I.e., if an a JPEG-image was imported for an animation frame (JPEG doesn't support transparency) and you define a color or a region in the image to be transparent, the image is internally translated into a format that supports transparency)
  • Animations can also be dynamically created or modified at runtime by the host application

Integration with other controls
The ToolTipsFactory can be used and perfectly integrated with other .NET controls. Tutorials and sample projects are provided for the following:

  • Microsoft ListBox
  • Microsoft ListView
  • Microsoft TreeView
  • Microsoft DataGrid
  • Infragistics UltraWinGrid
  • Janus Winforms Controls Suite