How to Create a Programmatic JavaScript Tooltip

on in JavaScript DOM
Last modified on

Here’s a short tutorial on how to create a programmatic JavaScript tooltip. I needed this feature to recreate a product tour without using a bloated library. I call it a TourTip.

The HTML structure is pretty simple:

    <li class="e1">First element</li>
    <li class="e2">Second element</li>
    <li class="e3">Third element</li>

The CSS is also pretty simple:

.tourtip {
    position: absolute;
    top: 32px;
    display: none;
    background-color: #333333;
    z-index: 3;
    padding: 8px;
    font-size: 14px;
    color: #ffffff;
    line-height: 1.35;
    min-width: 256px;
    border-radius: 3px;
.tourtip.tourtip--on {
    display: block;

And here’s the JavaScript:

function showTourtip(element, tip) {
  if (document.querySelector(element)) {
    if (localStorage.getItem('tourtip-1') != 1) {

      var element = document.querySelector(element);

      // Check if tourtip has already been attached
      if (!element.querySelector('.tourtip')) {
        element.innerHTML += '<div class="tourtip">' + tip + '</div>';
      var elementTourtip = element.querySelector('.tourtip');

      elementTourtip.addEventListener('click', function() {
        localStorage.setItem('tourtip-1', 1);;

document.querySelector('*').addEventListener('click', function (event) {
    showTourtip('li.e1', "Yaaaaay, I'm a programmatic tooltip!");

Note that a tourtip-1 will be set to 1 in localStorage, so if you need to test this, make sure you delete it before trying again (or comment the localStorage.getItem() line in the code above).

Here’s a Codepen demo.

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