How to Create Text Pop-Ups in Microsoft Word

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Word 2013 doesn't have a specific pop-up tool, but you can use workarounds to create text boxes in your documents. The AutoTextList field command is typically used to create a pop-up list, but you can tweak the formula to make a simple text box. If you prefer not to add field commands to your document, you can also create a pop-up as a ScreenTip by adding a bookmarked link to your text.

ScreenTips show links in your pop-up; AutoTextList fields don't.
(Image courtesy Microsoft)
Step 1

Select the text to be the anchor link for your pop-up box. Press Ctrl-F9 to insert field command brackets around the text.

You can use a word or phrase as an anchor link.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 2

Go to the end of the anchor text, staying inside the end bracket, and type or paste in the command:

AutoTextList “anchortext" \s NoStyle \t “popuptext”

The command starts by telling Word where to insert the field. The "\s NoStyle" section prevents Word from using a list, as it typically would in this command, and the "\t" entry tells it what to put in the pop-up.

Word turns the command into anchor text and a pop-up.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 3

Copy your anchor text, delete it and paste it into the command to replace anchortext between the first set of quotation marks. Delete popuptext and type the text you want to appear in the pop-up box between the second set of quotation marks.

Word automatically formats text in your pop-up.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 4

Click anywhere between the brackets and select F9. This hides the field and inserts your pop-up. If F9 doesn't toggle off the field command, try Alt-F9.

Hover your mouse over anchor text to see your pop-up.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 5

Format your anchor text. Word doesn't add any formatting to it to show that it links to a pop-up, so you may want to change its color and/or add bold, italics or an underline.

Give readers a hint by formatting your anchor text.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 1

Go to the word or phrase you want to use as the bookmark anchor for your text box and select it. Select Bookmark from the Insert tab and give your bookmark a name or a number. Select *Add.

If you use a lot of bookmarks, use names, not numbers.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 2

Make sure that your anchor text is still selected. Open Hyperlink on the Insert tab and select Place In This Document. Open the Bookmarks option and select the bookmark you just created.

Give bookmarks a memorable name so you can find them easily.
Image courtesy Microsoft
Step 3

Select the ScreenTip button and type the text that you want to appear in your pop-up box in the ScreenTip Text box. Select OK and then OK again to close the Hyperlink menu. Word should now insert a link in your anchor text. Hover your mouse over it to see the pop-up. If anyone were to click the link in the box, it would go to your bookmark.

You can have up to 255 characters in a ScreenTip.
Image courtesy Microsoft

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use a ScreenTip to create a pop-up text box with a hyperlink to an external website. Skip the bookmark step and select "Existing File or Web Site" instead of "Place In This Document". Paste the site's URL in the "Address" box and then add your ScreenTip text.
  • If you need to edit text in a field command, select it and press "Shift-F9" or "Alt-F9." Select "F9" to hide it again.
  • If you use a ScreenTip to create a pop-up box, you can't delete the link in the box. If you prefer not to have a link, use the field command option instead.
  • Readers won't see pop-ups created in ScreenTips if they have disabled the feature in Word.

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