This extension defines a custom role called :hoverxref:. When this role is used, it will show a tooltip 1 when the hover mouse event is triggered, and will embed the content of the document/section the link is pointing to, into the tooltip’s content.

:hoverxref: role uses Sphinx’s internals reference resolution to find out where the link points to. So, the way of referencing the section works in the same way as the :ref: standard role. See Sphinx’s ref for more information.

Simplest usage example,

This will :hoverxref:`show a tooltip <hoverxref:hoverxref>` in the linked words to ``hoverxref``.

will render to this:

This will show a tooltip in the linked words to hoverxref.

Tooltip on Intersphinx content

Sphinx comes with a nice built-in extension called sphinx.ext.intersphinx that allows you to generate references to specific objects in an external documentation project.

You can combine intersphinx and sphinx-hoverxref to show tooltips from these mapped projects. To enable an Intersphinx mapping, you need to list it in hoverxref_domains.

As an example, this documentation itself configures Intersphinx with Read the Docs documentation and allow us to do the following:

Show a tooltip for :doc:`Read the Docs automation rules <readthedocs:automation-rules>`.

That will render to:

Show a tooltip for Read the Docs automation rules.


Keep in mind that the linked project should be hosted at Read the Docs or, be one of the allowed external projects: currently CPython, SymPy, NumPy are supported.

Example with projects not hosted on Read the Docs

Tooltip on custom object

Sphinx has the ability to define custom objects (via Sphinx.add_object_type). hoverxref can also show a tooltip on these objects if desired. You need to tell hoverxref which are the roles where the tooltip has to appear on. To do this, use hoverxref_roles config.


This documentation defines the confval role. The role is used to define all the configurations of the extension. These configurations are added to the Sphinx index and we can easily refer to them and show a tooltip. This is reStructuredText code to do this:

Show a tooltip to :confval:`hoverxref_auto_ref <hoverxref_auto_ref>` configuration.

the previous code will render to:

Show a tooltip to hoverxref_auto_ref configuration.

Tooltip on all :ref: roles

If you want to show a tooltip in all the appearances of the :ref: role, you have to set the configuration hoverxref_auto_ref = True in your file.

After setting that config, using :ref: will just render the tooltip:

Show a tooltip to :ref:`usage:Tooltip on all :ref: roles` section on this page.

that reStructuredText code will render to:

Show a tooltip to Tooltip on all :ref: roles page.

Tooltip on Sphinx Domains

You can decide whether use hoverxref on a particular Sphinx Domain as well. An example using Python Domain would be like:


That will render to:

To enable hoverxref on a domain, you need to use the config hoverxref_domains indicating which are the domains you desire.

Tooltip on glossary terms

You can add tooltips to glossary terms:

See the :term:`sphinx:environment` definition in the glossary.

That will render to:

See the environment definition in the glossary.

To enable hoverxref on glossary terms, you need to add 'term' to hoverxref_roles.

Tooltip on sphinxcontrib-bibtex cites

If you want to show a tooltip on sphinxcontrib-bibtex cites, you just need to enable it in hoverxref_domains by adding 'cite' to that list. Example:

See :cite:t:`1987:nelson` for an introduction to non-standard analysis.
Non-standard analysis is fun :cite:p:`1987:nelson`.

See Nelson [Nel87] for an introduction to non-standard analysis. Non-standard analysis is fun [Nel87].


Note that tooltips on sphinxcontrib-bibtex are supported on Sphinx>=2.1 only.


Edward Nelson. Radically Elementary Probability Theory. Princeton University Press, 1987.

Tooltip with content that needs extra rendering steps

Since hoverxref supports including arbitrary HTML, you may find that it could be possible that there are some content that it’s not well rendered inside the tooltip. If this is the case, it may be because there are some extra actions that needs to be done after the content is injected in the tooltip.

These actions are usually calling a Javascript function. hoverxref is prepared to support this type of content and currently supports rendering sphinx-tabs and mathjax.


Note that Sphinx>=3.5 adds a feature to only include JS/CSS in pages where they are used instead of in all the pages. This may affect the rendering of tooltips that includes content requiring extra rendering steps. Make sure you are using Sphinx <=3.4.x or >=4.1.x if you require rendering this type of content in your tooltips.

Tooltip with sphinx-tabs

To render a tooltip with a sphinx-tabs content you need to enable hoverxref_sphinxtabs.

Show a :ref:`tooltip with Sphinx Tabs <installation:Installation>` on its content.

Show a tooltip with Sphinx Tabs on its content.

Tooltip with mathjax

To render a tooltip where its contents has a mathjax you need to enable hoverxref_mathjax.

Show a :hoverxref:`tooltip with Mathjax <mathjax:Mathjax>` formulas.

Show a tooltip with Mathjax formulas.


we use tooltips as a generic word, but we refer to both, tooltips and modal dialogues