Home > Articles > Programming > Java

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Individualized List ToolTips

A ToolTip can be assigned to a list component. When the mouse cursor hovers over the component, that ToolTip will appear—regardless of what list item the mouse cursor is over. Although assigning a single ToolTip to the list is okay in many situations, there are times when it's preferable to display item-specific ToolTips (see Figure 5).

Figure 5

Each list item in a list component can have its own ToolTip. In this example, the French word for the day of the week appears as a ToolTip.

To create individualized ToolTips, begin by subclassing Swing's JList class. Declare a constructor that takes two arguments: an array of list item Strings and an array of ToolTip Strings. The constructor uses these arrays to create a single Object array, in which each array element consists of an item/ToolTip pair. This Object array becomes the ListModel for the JList subclass component.

The next step is to override JList's getToolTipText method. Whenever the mouse cursor moves over the resulting subclass component, this overridden getToolTipText method will be called to return the ToolTip text. To do its job, getToolTipText must locate the list item over which the mouse cursor is hovering. Then, the appropriate Object element is retrieved from the ListModel and the ToolTip text is retrieved. This text is then returned from getToolTipText and displayed.

Listing 3 presents source code to an IndividualizedListTT application. This source code declares a JList subclass and shows how to achieve individualized list ToolTips. (The GUI in Figure 5 was generated by this application.)

Listing 3  The IndividualizedListTT application source code

// IndividualizedListTT.java

import javax.swing.*;
import javax.swing.plaf.*;

import java.awt.*;
import java.awt.event.*;

class IndividualizedListTT extends JFrame
   IndividualizedListTT (String title)
      // Pass the title argument to the JFrame superclass so that the
      // contents of title appear in the JFrame's title bar.

      super (title);

      // Exit the application by calling System.exit when the user
      // either selects Close from the System menu or clicks the X
      // button.

      setDefaultCloseOperation (EXIT_ON_CLOSE);

      // Override the ToolTip.foreground color in Swing's defaults
      // table.

      UIManager.put ("ToolTip.foreground", Color.white);

      // Override the ToolTip.background color in Swing's defaults
      // table.

      UIManager.put ("ToolTip.background", Color.blue);

      String [] items =

      String [] tips =

      // Create a TTList component object that displays items and
      // tips.

      TTList ttl = new TTList (items, tips);

      // Highlight the first item in the list.

      ttl.setSelectedIndex (0);

      // Create a JScrollPane and add the TTList to this container.

      JScrollPane sp = new JScrollPane (ttl);

      // Set the JScrollPane's preferred size so that a vertical
      // scrollbar will be displayed with the JScrollPane.

      sp.setPreferredSize (new Dimension (100, 75));

      // Create a JPanel and add the JScrollPane to the JPanel so that
      // the JScrollPane will be displayed at a more natural size.

      JPanel p = new JPanel ();
      p.add (sp);

      // Add the JScrollPane to the JFrame's content pane.

      getContentPane ().add (p);

      // Set the size of the JFrame window.

      setSize (250, 125);

      // Show the JFrame window.

      setVisible (true);

   public static void main (String [] args)
      new IndividualizedListTT ("Individualized List ToolTips");

class TTList extends JList
   TTList (String [] data, String [] tips)
      // Initialize the JList layer of the TTList object.

      super ();

      // Assign a new ListModel to the TTList.

      setListData (createLinks (data, tips));

      // If the TTList displays a ToolTip, we cannot assign individual
      // ToolTips to TTList items.  Therefore, "" is passed to
      // setToolTipText to cancel the default ToolTip.

      setToolTipText ("");

   public String getToolTipText (MouseEvent e)
      // Convert the mouse coordinates where the left mouse button was
      // pressed to a TTList item index.

      int index = locationToIndex (e.getPoint ());

      // If the left mouse button was clicked and the mouse cursor was
      // not over a list item, index is set to -1.

      if (index > -1)
          // Extract the ListModel.

          ListModel lm = (ListModel) getModel ();

          // Get the ToolTipLink associated with the TTList item
          // index.

          ToolTipLink link = (ToolTipLink) lm.getElementAt (index);

          // Return the ToolTipLink's ToolTip text.

          return link.getToolTipText ();
          return null;

   private Object [] createLinks (String [] data, String [] tips)
      // Create an array of references to ToolTipLink objects -- one
      // reference per TTList item.

      ToolTipLink [] links = new ToolTipLink [data.length];

      // For each TTList item, create a ToolTipLink object and store
      // its reference in the previously created array.

      for (int i = 0; i < data.length; i++)
           links [i] = new ToolTipLink (data [i], tips [i]);

      return links;

   // The following class maintains an association between a TTList
   // item name and its associated tipText.

   private class ToolTipLink
      private String name;
      private String tipText;

      public ToolTipLink (String name, String tipText)
        this.name = name;
        this.tipText = tipText;

      public String getToolTipText ()
         return tipText;

      // toString is called behind the scenes by JList's UI to extract
      // the TTList name for display.

      public String toString ()
         return name;
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020