WD: How to Use the Highlighter in Word

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You can create special color highlighting effects by using the Highlight option on the Formatting toolbar. Highlighting in Word is the electronic equivalent of using a highlighter pen to call attention to a portion of a document.

To create special color highlighting effects, perform these steps:
  1. Click the Highlight button on the Formatting toolbar.
  2. Select the text you want to highlight.
  3. To turn off Highlight, click the icon again. (To remove the highlighting, see the "More Information" section that follows.)


How to Use All 15 Highlight Colors

In addition to the four highlight colors that appear when you click the arrow next to the Highlight button, you can select other colors by clicking and dragging down past the apparent end of the list and to the right. Fifteen colors are available.

In Word 7 only, you can also select the highlight color by clicking Options on the Tools menu, and selecting the Revisions tab. The highlight colors are available in the Highlight Color box at the bottom of this tab.

How to Remove Highlighting

To change highlighted text back to regular text, click the arrow next to the Highlight button and select None. Select the text you want to change. The highlighting disappears.

How to Search for Highlighting

To search for highlighted text, click Find on the Edit menu. In the Find What box, delete any existing text. Click the Format button and choose Highlight. You can search for highlighted text, but you can't search for a particular color of highlighting. The Find feature will find all highlighted text, even if different colors are used in the document.

If you use the Replace command in conjunction with highlight formatting, Word applies the color currently selected on the toolbar.

How to Redo Highlight Formatting

You cannot use normal methods to redo highlighting. If you apply highlighting and then select text and press F4 (the Repeat Command function key), more highlighting is not applied. Also, if you apply highlighting and then select new text and click the Edit menu, Redo Highlight is not an option. Undo Highlight is an option, however.

Similarly, if you remove the highlight formatting from text by choosing None from the list of Highlight colors and then click Undo Highlight on the Edit menu, Word will reapply the highlight color that you just removed. If you then click Redo Highlight on the Edit menu, the None highlight is reapplied and the color disappears.

To redo highlight formatting, use the Format Painter.

How to View Text Without Viewing Highlighting

You can turn Show Highlight on or off by clicking Options on the Tools menu, clicking the View tab and selecting or clearing the Highlight check box under Show. If Show Highlight is turned off, text with highlighting applied still holds that characteristic, although it doesn't appear to be highlighted on the screen.

If you apply highlighting while Show Highlight is turned off, it will have the effect of turning Show Highlight on, and highlighting will appear on that text. Also, any other highlighted areas will then be visible.

Other Notes on Use of the Highlighter

Black is included in the Highlight Color list. Black highlighting makes text unreadable unless the text (that is, the font color) is formatted with a contrasting color.

Highlighting is unique in that it is neither character nor paragraph formatting.

You can also apply highlighting in WordMail and in the Word section of Microsoft Binder.


Article ID: 139493 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Word 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 95a
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
kbhighlight KB139493
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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