Tooltip for disabled controls

Scott Palmer swpalmer at
Thu Apr 4 15:11:29 PDT 2013

That's another issue (already filed) you can't put a tooltip on a
MenuItem at all in JavaFX.  You can with Swing.

Anyway it seems clear that tooltips on disabled controls is standard practice.


On 2013-04-04, at 6:03 PM, John Smith <John_Smith at> wrote:

> 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!
> Tom
> 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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