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Define the Help Text for a Work Item Field

You can use the HELPTEXT element to associate Help text with a field so that users can better understand what to specify in that field. Help text appears when a user points to the field in the work item form.


ToolTipText: A string of text that contains between 1 and 255 characters.

Unlike the name and type of a field name, Help text is scoped to a specific type of work item in a team project. Therefore, you can customize the Help text for the same field in different team projects.

You can specify only one HELPTEXT element as a child element of the FIELD (Definition) element. For more information about how to specify Help text, see Provide Help Text, Process Guidance, Web Content, and Links to Web Pages on a Work Item Form.


Adding Help text can adversely affect the number of projects that can exist on a server. If you encounter this problem, reducing the amount of Help text could have a significant effect on the size of the metadata, which in turn helps scalability. If you must have hundreds of projects on your Team Foundation Server, limit the use of, or do not use, Help text in the work item type definitions (XML files).

The following example shows the assignment of Help text to the Title field:

<FIELD refname="System.Title" name="Title" type="String">
<HELPTEXT>Enter a brief description of the work item.</HELPTEXT>