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In other peoples Sitecore installations, I have seen fields with a bit of descriptive text next to the field name to help the user input the correct information.

I would like to use this in my current installation, but I don't know how to add this helpful text to a field name.

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You just need to go to each of your templates' field items and add a Long description and Short description as per the image below. Save this and go to a component and your help text will show to content editors:

help settings

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I wrote a "How to" post about this a couple years ago:

Select the Field item in Sitecore that you want to add help text to and open the "Help" section (you may need to toggle visibility on Standard Fields).

The Help Link field will be used to provide a clickable link on the field label. I find it really helpful to link fields directly to documentation explaining what the field is used for. This is particularly useful for fields that don't change too often, or are optional.

The Long Description field is used to provide a tooltip for the field label. Don't use HTML in this field, it will be escaped in the tooltip.

The Short Description field is used to provide the helper text that follows the field. Don't use HTML in this field, it will be escaped when shown in the helper text. Worse yet, it won't be escaped where it's shown at the top of the Field item.

In general, avoid <, >, " and & characters in the help text fields because Sitecore doesn't handle the HTML encoding consistently.

Also, don't be fooled by the "Help Texts" dialog if you use the Help button in the ribbon. It's mislabeled. Long Description is the tooltip, Short description is what follows the field.

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    Thanks for referencing the article. I like pretty pictures. – Michael West Oct 30 '16 at 18:07
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http://www.sitecore.net/company/blog/473/how-to-edit-field-labels-for-user-friendliness-4244

You need to fill the help texts on the field item (in the template section): title, short description. The article explains it in detail with screenshots to make it clear. The descriptive text you are asking about is the short description - if you want to show an alternative for your fieldname, you can use the title field.

0

In additon to above answers:

You can add help text to template fields by clicking on the Ribbon -> Configure - > Help which will open a popup.

enter image description here

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