Does anyone have a tutorial on how to implement the new Tooltips API into a theme or plugin? I'm eager to tap into this to help first time users of my theme and plugins.

From mashable'e excellent intro to 3.3...

  1. New Tooltips

This may seem a bit annoying to more experienced users, but it can prove quite useful for most.

Tooltip popup bubbles now display to help guide users through the new features found in WordPress. You’ll see one of these immediately upon upgrading, which points to the new admin bar.

> Developers are able to use these popups to add their own feature tours. This will prove useful for theme and plugin authors who need an easy way to walk their customers through their WordPress products


2 Answers 2


I can't come up with good quote, but as far as I understand from chatter - pointers are not considered public (available for use outside core) for version 3.3

So essentially there is no API to use yet.

  • 1
    Thanks Rarst. I was able to find that Yoast SEO has somehow cracked the code. I'm seeing his tooltips when I first install his plugin. Also, a flyout menu to each of his plugin's settings files has been added to the top admin toolbar.
    – Scott B
    Dec 13, 2011 at 19:55
  • 2
    Looks like the relevant source code resides inside wp-includes/js/wp-pointer.dev.js and I think I found a rogue tutorial of sorts > theme.fm/2011/09/introducing-pointers-in-wordpress-3-3-2407
    – Scott B
    Dec 13, 2011 at 20:11
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    Actually, the PHP side of the API is not public. You're free to enqueue the wp-pointer script and make the appropriate JS calls on your own.
    – scribu
    Dec 13, 2011 at 20:27

As @Rarst points out, the feature pointers are not intended to be used by the public as of yet. If you want a solid quote, here's one from UX lead Jane Wells:

I wanted them to be core only for 3.3, make plugin-ready in 3.4 after we’ve worked out any kinks and people have gotten over the thrill.

That said, it's perfectly acceptable for you to use them now if you really have the need. I recommend it in cases where your theme/plugin is used only on private sites (i.e. not hosted in the official repository, or only used on 1 or 2 client sites). Or if you're fairly sure no one will use it with another plugin that implements the pointers (i.e. Yoast's SEO plugin).

The reasoning behind this is simple: If too many plugins use pointers, you overload the end user with popups. There isn't logic in the system yet to handle multiple pointers.

If you want a quick and simple demonstration of how to add a feature pointer with a plugin, I posted code from my presentation at the WordPress Portland Meetup group on how to do exactly that: http://mindsharestrategy.com/2011/wordpress-portland/


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