Tooltip for disabled controls

John Smith John_Smith at
Thu Apr 4 14:53:05 PDT 2013

Idea shows tooltips for disabled buttons and so does Windows for disabled ribbon controls in Paint and Outlook as well as and back/forward buttons in IE 9.

Idea does have an ability when you mouseover a disabled menu item that it shows a description of the disabled menu item in a status bar at the bottom of the screen (it's a pretty subtle UI cue and easily missed) - not sure if you want to support that kind of functionality.

-----Original Message-----
From: openjfx-dev-bounces at [mailto:openjfx-dev-bounces at] On Behalf Of Tom Schindl
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 2:40 PM
To: openjfx-dev at
Subject: Re: Tooltip for disabled controls

I think we start to mix different things. Disabled control should NOT receive events but they should show tooltips. Disabled controls in SWT does not receive any events!


On 04.04.13 23:34, Philipp Dörfler wrote:
> Eclipse shows tooltips for disabled buttons, too.
> ~ philipp
> Am 04.04.2013 um 23:08 schrieb Sven Reimers <sven.reimers at>:
>> Hi,
>> Well, looking at my favorite IDE (NetBeans Swing) I get tooltips on 
>> the disabled buttons in the toolbar (anybody interested in checking 
>> with Intellij or Eclipse?).
>> At least it seems as if Swing provides this feature - so is it really 
>> that bad design?
>> I have to check our own big Swing-based app, but I think I can follow 
>> Scott's idea - sometimes it is easy to guide the user by displaying 
>> info on hovering with the mouse (maybe this behavior gets deprecated 
>> with touch?)
>> So I am still in for a disucssion if this is technically feasible.
>> -Sven
>> P.S. I can see people coming from Swing saying - "JavaFX? No Tooltips 
>> on disabled controls? Even Swing did this by default" ;-)
>> On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 8:08 PM, Scott Palmer <swpalmer at> wrote:
>>> I find it bizarre that this is being considered as "bad design".  It 
>>> depends on how it is used.  Users find the feedback helpful. I use 
>>> the pattern extensively with positive results. It avoids confusion 
>>> for the users (always a good thing).
>>> When I have a complex form, where some choices invalidate others, 
>>> Tooltips are great to explain why certain choices can't be made. You 
>>> don't want to hide the disabled controls because it is very useful 
>>> information for the user to see that the options can be available in 
>>> some cases.  The form can already be complex, so trying to fit these 
>>> messages into the normal layout just makes it awkward.
>>> I also have cases where some options are simply read-only depending 
>>> on the situation.  For consistency I still show the same control as 
>>> when they aren't read-only.  The tooltip explains why the value can't be changed.
>>> For TextField I can actually set it to non-editable. But for 
>>> checkbox there is no such option.
>>> I think the concept of "disabled" on a Node is not the same concept 
>>> as disabled on a Control. For the Node case I agree with it not 
>>> getting events.  For the Control case I just don't want the control to be active.
>>> I do have ways to workaround this for some controls. As mentioned, a 
>>> TextField can be made non-editable instead.  But with a button it's 
>>> more of a hack.
>>> Of course *the framework shouldn't be dictating design* anyway.
>>> That said, I expect the combination of me being out numbered and 
>>> more importantly the difficulty of the fix, means that I'm going to 
>>> lose this one.
>>> Scott
>>> On 2013-04-04, at 11:38 AM, "Will Hoover" <java.whoover at> wrote:
>>>> -1
>>>> I don't think supporting the use of tooltips on disabled controls 
>>>> is a
>>> good design pattern to follow (not to mention the overhead of 
>>> typically unnecessary event propagation). If the behavior is really 
>>> desired they can use option #3 or a similar solution using an 
>>> icon/image with tooltip adjacent to the control.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: openjfx-dev-bounces at [mailto:
>>> openjfx-dev-bounces at] On Behalf Of Pavel Safrata
>>>> Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:34 AM
>>>> To: openjfx-dev at
>>>> Subject: Tooltip for disabled controls
>>>> Hello,
>>>> we've got a request to support tooltips for disabled controls. 
>>>> Tooltip
>>> can be used to explain why the control is disabled which sounds reasonable.
>>> Jira:
>>>> We have the disableProperty on Node. When a node is disabled, it is 
>>>> not
>>> picked, so no mouse events are delivered to it, so tooltip can't be 
>>> shown as it is based on mouse events.
>>>> Perhaps not delivering events to a disabled node was a bad decision.
>>>> First, there are use-cases where disabled node wants them (showing
>>> tooltip). Second, for ignoring node during picking we have the 
>>> mouseTransparent flag and it would be nicer if these two flags were 
>>> orthogonal (the reason they're not is probably that mouseTransparent 
>>> is much younger). But the behavior can't be easily changed - 
>>> controls, and possibly other nodes in user apps, rely on the existing behavior.
>>>> There are three basic approaches.
>>>> 1. Make the events delivered to the disabled nodes. We would either
>>> break backward compatibility (and fix controls), or introduce yet 
>>> another flag, something like pickIfDisabled. Then we would enable 
>>> picking for the disabled control which would make the tooltip work. 
>>> But it would make the entire control work, so we would somehow have 
>>> to disable other event handling for such controls.
>>>> 2. Don't change event delivery and rather introduce some 
>>>> control-layer
>>> solution specific to tooltips. Maybe the disabled control 
>>> registering a special tooltip area on its parent or something like that.
>>>> 3. Do nothing and force users to workarounds like put the disabled
>>> control into an enabled Pane and set the tooltip on the Pane. Sounds 
>>> horrible, especially for complex applications.
>>>> Thoughts? Ideas?
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Pavel
>> --
>> Sven Reimers
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