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What I'm picturing is a side panel that updates with region-specific information as I mouse over portions of the form. Is there a name for this pattern?

It's like a Two-panel Selector, but not selecting or navigating anything, just providing information. I seem to recall seeing it in some applications when I open help.

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At least half of the name is "context sensitive". I think you have options for what word you put after that (properties, information, data). – Karen May 8 '12 at 20:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I believe i'd call that a detail pane layout. Mouse over or focus on something in the left pane and get information regarding your selection in a pane on the right.

a screenshot from visual explain for postgresql that shows a view pane on the left and a details pane on the right

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Well, imo its just a sort of tooltips, say static tooltip.

Nice working example to refer:
Tooltip on the right side is fixed, and changes text every time one of fields get hovered or got focus.

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I like this as well, in fact better than my original idea, but it's not what I was trying to describe. Thanks though :) – Yamikuronue May 11 '12 at 12:19

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