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This is not code I am writing. Otherwise I would use css, js, or an ie8 accelerator for what I need. Also. I am looking for something my endusers (non technical) can use. So viewsouce, etc won't help.

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migrated from Dec 17 '10 at 3:07

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Is this an application that you are writing or is this in the context of any application that you are running on your machine? – Babak Naffas Dec 16 '10 at 19:40
I edited my question. This is not my code. I upvoted all your answers. If I could have selected all of your answers as the accepted answer I would have. I thought maybe there was a hot key or something. Thanks, all. – Lill Lansey Dec 16 '10 at 19:49

Open page source, find element, copy title attribute. Assuming that the attribute is not set with JavaScript.

If you are using Firefox, install Firebug and use the element selector to select the element with the tooltip you want to copy, then copy the title attribute from the DOM tree displayed. This will work even if the attribute is set with JavaScript.

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Not from the tooltip directly.

But if you're willing to do a little work, there's always ways to get at this stuff:

  • Right click on the page and select your browser's equivalent of "View Source". Assuming there's no evil javascript code preventing access to your source and that the tooltip wasn't pulled via an ajax request, you should now be able to study the source for the page and find your text somewhere among the html and javascript you see there.
  • Alternatively, use a debugger like firebug that can inspect the active dom for the page to find the tooltip text in a place that can be copied directly.
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Great ideas, but I am looking for something my endusers (non technical) can use. – Lill Lansey Dec 16 '10 at 19:48
@Lill Lansey: If it's a page you control then there are any number of ways to present copyable text to them, so I'm assuming this is just something your users want to be able to do in any page? If that's the case, you'll either need to write some kind of browser plugin for them or give them some basic instruction in Firebug (or some equivalent in the browser of choice) to right-click on an element and see its text. But based on the number of varying ways to create a tooltip, even that will have limited success. – David Dec 16 '10 at 19:54

nope, unfortunately not ... unless someone writes some sort of browser plugin that does this

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I edited my question. This is not my code. – Lill Lansey Dec 16 '10 at 19:49

Babak's comment is kind of important. As it stands right now, it sounds like you're not really writing any code or developing any application, you just want to copy something from your browser to the clipboard.

Assuming that's what you're trying to do, then it's possible that the tooltip is in the HTML code. Explicit text can be placed in HTML that most browsers render as a tooltip on mouseover (such as the alt property on an img tag). If the tooltip you want to copy to the clipboard is part of the HTML, then you can view the source from within your browser and copy it from there.

Some browsers have more modern debugging and inspection tools which allow you to right-click on the element itself and go straight to that point in the source as well.

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SnagIt, a commercial screen capture tool, can extract text out of a tool tip as well.

There are also other alternatives but I haven't tried them.

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Clearly by Evernote‎ works for me - it shows all the tooltips in a list after any normal text in the page.

(I've only tried this on one type of page, which didn't provide any useful information in in Source Page for the htm.)

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Alternatively, you may try opening the page source and searching for a part of the description text by manually typing it into the search box.

Also, browsers these days have developer tools built in, so if you're familiar with how they work, it might be easier to just analyze an image and find that text in one of its properties. Or you could search through all connected files using devtools for a part of the description text as well.

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