Tooltips are those 'helpful' yellow tags containing messages that sometimes appear when the mouse pointer hovers over controls in many programs. For various reasons, I sometimes find aspects of their implementation to be unsatisfactory. Fortunately, it turns out to be possible to tweak tooltip characteristics (at least in Cocoa apps) to some extent, by adding various properties to the .GlobalPreferences.plist file, or an individual program's .plist file.
Some of the available properties (their functions are more or less self-explanatory) include:
|Key||Data type||Value / description|
|NSInitialToolTipDelay||-int||Time delay (milliseconds?)|
|NSToolTipAutoWrappingDisabled||-bool||true or false|
Note that this will only affect programs launched after the change is made.
$ defaults write -g NSInitialToolTipDelay -int 10000
To set a separate, shorter delay for the appearance of Spotlight menu tooltips, and also prevent line wrapping to improve legibility of the 'path' info in tooltips for items in the search results, try these changes:
The keys themselves all work in both 10.3 and 10.4 (earlier versions not tested), with the exception of NSToolTipAutoWrappingDisabled, which seems to cause the tooltip to appear as a tiny square in 10.3.
$ defaults write com.apple.systemuiserver \ NSInitialToolTipDelay -int 1 $ defaults write com.apple.systemuiserver \ NSToolTipAutoWrappingDisabled -bool true
Mac OS X Hints