A hint is an acting floor tile that only has any effect when Chip or Melinda touch it. When activated, a hint will draw a string of text onto the screen to be read by the player, usually containing helpful info about the level they are playing or are about to play, or in a lesson level to briefly explain the various tiles showcased in the level.
In Chip's Challenge 2 and the Lynx release of Chip's Challenge, text is written directly to the main viewport in yellow. This only slightly obscures the screen in CC2.
Under the MS ruleset, hint tiles are acting floor to all moving objects; however, in Lynx mode and Chip's Challenge 2, hints serve as acting walls to most monsters and blocks. In CC2, however, this rule comes with a few exceptions: namely ice blocks, directional blocks, ghosts, rovers, and player mirrors, all of which treat hints as acting floor tiles.
In Chip's Challenge 1, the hint is set for each level, not for each hint tile; therefore, a level cannot have multiple different hints even if it had multiple different hint tiles. However, in Chip's Challenge 2, each hint tile can have its own hint; thus, there can be multiple hints per level in CC2, as seen in the seven lesson levels.
A hint can be written but not placed on the grid, in which case a level editor will reveal the hint; this has sometimes been used to chastise players for peeking in the editor. Hint tiles can also be placed in a level without writing any hint, which means the MS hint display above will still show, but with only the text Hint: inside, and no text at all is visible in Tile World.
There are several glitches involving hint tiles. The maximum length of the hint text in Chip's Challenge 1 is 255 characters; if the hint exceeds this length, the level will not play, and the screen will instead show the picture of Chip at the end of the game, with a computer chip in his hand and held up by the Bit Busters. In MSCC, a shorter hint may still not display if it cannot fit within the hint panel. A lengthy hint can also contribute to a crash due to the Data Size Glitch.
In MSCC, when consecutive levels contain hints underneath the player moves through them using the Next or Previous commands, the hint text does not change initially, but will revert to the level's stored hint if the tile is touched again. This was initially discovered in Eric Schmidt's level set EricS1, where all levels from 110 to 115 start Chip on a hint.