I'm writing my CV and I'd like something that works like HTML's abbr tag in my document.

I know there are packages like pdfcomment and cooltooltips, but those really only work with Acrobat Reader—it's likely that some of my intended readers won't be using Acrobat, so I need a solution that should work in any reasonable PDF viewer.

I only need short bits of text, and I've noticed that hyperlinks seem to have a tooltip with the URL that hovers below the text—this is pretty much what I want, and it seems to work in readers like Evince and xpdf, so I'm guessing this is a good route.

I'd like a special link border color or decoration, so the reader can distinguish that this hyperlink will not open in a browser.

Is it possible to use \href to do this? Or is there a package that will do this using some other method?


2 Answers 2


I think what you want does not exist. Apart from the commands provided by packages like fancytooltips or cooltooltips (and the PDF specials they employ), there is no way of putting tooltips into PDFs. What you are observing in evince is not a different kind of tooltip, but just a built-in reaction to the presence of a hyperlink in the document. (Yes, it's in xpdf too, but keep in mind that the poppler libraries that evince and okular run on are derived from xpdf.) What's being "read" from the PDF is just the hyperlink. And it's not true that you'll see the same behavior in all "sane" PDF viewers: hyperlinks that produce tooltips like these in evince do not do so for Ghostview (gv), or MuPDF, or Zathura (which I consider to be reasonable PDF viewers).

  • Hmmm, I suspected that might be the case.
    – Dan Drake
    Commented Nov 21, 2010 at 1:06
  • I'm not sure how gv qualifies as a "sane" PDF viewer... it doesn't really support any PDF features. You might as well be reading a PostScript file!
    – SamB
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 0:18
  • There are some options now for doing this. See my solution using pdfcomment. Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 15:51

I think you want the pdfcomment package. This includes a \pdftooltip command.

This lets you add a tool tip to the PDF using \pdftooltip{item}{tooltip}, where the item can be almost anything (e.g. \pdftooltip{\includegraphics[]{}}{description of my figure}).

In your case, you could use

\pdftooltip{abbreviation}{what that TLA means}

  • 2
    But with pdfcomment, the tool tip cannot be anything but plain, unformatted text.
    – AlexG
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 7:09

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