Poshy Tip - jQuery Plugin for Stylish Tooltips

I almost hear you asking - why another jQuery tooltip plugin? Well, I actually never planned creating this plugin until I reached the final stages of designing this website and decided to add some pretty tooltips. So I started looking for a tooltip plugin that allows easily creating stylish tooltips and also includes the most useful features for such a script. However, I wasn't pleased with the results I found so I ended up writing a completely new plugin and am now making it available for all.


You might be eager to take a look at some examples so here is the demo page right away. And below you will find a short introduction.

Notable Features

OK, so apart from the awful name, is there anything interesting about this tooltip plugin?

A Single Background Image for Scalable Tooltips

Suppose you need to code a scalable tooltip that looks like this (i.e. a tooltip with auto width/height based on the content inside it):

A figure showing a tooltip mockup that should be used to create a scalable tooltip on the page

The Usual Approach

To achieve this with most similar plugins out there you would need to slice the image into multiple separate images - for the corners of the box, for the sides, etc.:

A figure showing how you would normally need to slice the mockup into 9 images in order to code a scalable tooltip

The Poshy Tip Approach

But since the tooltips only work when JavaScript is enabled anyway, why not apply some JS magic which would make our life easier and save our server some additional requests? This is exactly what Poshy Tip was designed to do. With this plugin, you can create a scalable tooltip by just using a single background image for the tooltip body:

With Poshy Tip you need just 2 images - one for the tooltip body + 1 for the arrow

You need to create one big image for the tooltip body - e.g. something like 1024x768 pixels (which should be enough for anything you may want to display inside a tooltip in the browser viewport). You then have to set it as a background image for the tooltip container DIV in the most trivial way:

.tip-yellow {
	background-image: url(tip-yellow.png);

Poshy Tip detects when a background image has been set for the tooltip container DIV and creates a scalable frame from it that wraps the inner contents of the tip. Finally, you just need to specify what should be the size of the background image frame around the inner content by setting the following option:

bgImageFrameSize: 10 // pixels

And the result:

A figure showing the scalable frame created from the background image that wraps the inner DIV

You can, of course, tweak the margin/padding of the inner DIV if needed.

Advanced Positioning Options

With Poshy Tip you can position the tips relative to the mouse cursor or to the target element and align them in every possible way horizontally and vertically (note the alignTo, alignX and alignY options). In addition the script makes sure the tips are always displayed in the browser viewport and also automatically positions the arrow (if available) on the appropriate side of the tooltip body.

Asynchronous Loading of the Tooltip Content

Poshy Tip supports using a function for returning the tooltip content and the script also passes an update callback function as an argument to this function. By using this callback, you can easily update asynchronously the content of the tooltip after it has been displayed. You can see a quick example on the demo page.


You can find usage examples and a list of the options and methods available on the demo page.


Like jQuery, Poshy Tip is dual licensed under the MIT and GPL licenses.


The Poshy Tip source code is also available at GitHub:

git clone git://github.com/vadikom/poshytip.git

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  • Very nice article. It's very nice tooltip popup plugin. Thx

    #40 by: manakmichal on August 24, 2010 at 00:16
  • Good post. That is one wonderful Poshy Tip Approach. CS3 works great on images. But also have to try those plug-ins.

    #39 by: Chad Wilson on August 14, 2010 at 04:19
  • admin

    @John Yoder: I believe I answered you in the forum. Please let me know if you still have any questions.

    @otter: Was thinking about this at some point during the development process but actually I decided to not disable the title attribute on hover when the poshy tips are shown just onfocus (like on form elements). I am still not sure which is the better approach here.

    @Nyro: Good point, this is due to the elements initially having display:none applied. But I will investigate a possible fix when I get some time..

    #38 by: Vasil Dinkov on August 5, 2010 at 11:33
  • sorry, the better question is: "how to do multiple instances of same style on one page"

    #37 by: John Yoder on August 4, 2010 at 02:31
  • i feel dumb asking this, but why are the styles id's instead of classes. Only one use for each on the page? Am i missing something?

    #36 by: John Yoder on August 4, 2010 at 02:28
  • incredibly slick and useful tooltip! I've used dozens and always feel like I'm settling. this looks like the best of the best! congratulations on the plugin, it's great!

    #35 by: Josh on August 2, 2010 at 17:36
  • Nice plugin. It could be great to add something for preloading the images.

    #34 by: Nyro on August 2, 2010 at 17:35
  • Thank you! It has long been searching for something like

    #33 by: Ivan on August 1, 2010 at 16:09