How to Apply, Remove, and Find Highlighted Text in Word

When you want certain text in your document to stand out, you can use a handy built-in tool. Here’s how to highlight text in Word.

Ever used a highlighter pen to make certain sections of text pop out to you on a page? Great for making notes, but there’s a problem—highlighting a piece of paper is final. You can’t erase the color from your paper when you’re done.

In Microsoft Word, things are a bit different. Unlike real highlighter pens, you can replicate the highlighter effect in Word, but you can find and remove your highlights.

This lets you go through and review your highlighted points using Word’s Find feature, but you can also remove any text highlights afterward. It’s easy to learn how to apply, remove, and find highlighted text in Word—here’s what you’ll need to do.

How to Highlight a Selection of Text in Word

If you plan only to highlight one portion of text using a single color, you can do this in just seconds in Word.

To highlight a section of text in Word:

  1. Select your text. You can do this by simply dragging through it with your cursor.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Click the arrow next to the Text Highlight Color button.
  4. Choose the color you want to use from the drop-down menu.

Choose a color to highlight text in Word

Once you choose a color from the drop-down menu, your selected text will update immediately to show a highlighted background in that color.

How to Highlight Multiple Selections of Text

If you have several portions of text you want to highlight, you can still use the highlighter tool to make your text stand out.

You don’t have to use the method above to do this, however, as there’s an easier way to select multiple text sections. Once you enable the highlighter, it will remain turned on until you turn it off, allowing you to highlight additional areas.

To highlight multiple sections of text in Word:

  1. Press Home on the ribbon bar.
  2. Select the arrow next to the Text Highlight Color button and select a color from the drop-down menu.
  3. Your cursor will change to show a blinking text cursor with a marker attached. Select the text you want to highlight by dragging through it with your mouse.
    Highlight enabled cursor
  4. Repeat this step with any other sections of text you want to highlight.
  5. When you’re done, press the arrow next to the Text Highlight Color button.
  6. Select Stop Highlighting.

Stop highlighting text in Word

You can do this when the highlighter tool is active if you want to change colors. Click the Text Highlight Color button, choose another color, and then continue to drag through your text portions to highlight them.

How to Remove a Highlight From Text

You can do this using the Text Highlight Color tool when you want to remove highlights from your text in Word. This allows you to remove highlights from specific text or your entire document.

To remove highlights from selected text in Word:

  1. Select the specific text you want to unhighlight or select all of the text in your document using Ctrl + A.
  2. Press Home on the ribbon bar.
  3. Press the arrow next to the Text Highlight Color button.
  4. Select No Color.

Remove highlight using No Color

How to Find Highlighted Text in Word

You don’t need to manually scroll through your document to find portions of text that you’ve highlighted. Thanks to the Find feature in Word, you can locate any highlighted text quickly.

Find Specific Highlighted Text

Maybe the highlighted text you’re looking for contains a particular word. If so, use these steps to find it:

  1. Go to the Home tab.
  2. Click the arrow next to Find, then select Advanced Find.
  3. When the Find and Replace window opens, enter your search term in the Find What box at the top.
  4. Click More on the bottom left.
  5. Click the Format drop-down box at the bottom below Find and select Highlight.
  6. Hit the Find Next button.

Find highlights with a keyword

When you run the search, you’ll see any highlighted text that matches your search term. At this point, click Find Next to cycle through your search results, or press Cancel to close the window.

Found highlights with a keyword

Find All Highlighted Text

To find all of the text you’ve highlighted in your Word document, repeat the steps above, but eliminate Step 2. You don’t need to use an Advanced Find here, and make sure to leave the Find What box empty.

When you click Find Next, you’ll see the first portion of highlighted text found. Continue to click Find Next to cycle through and see each additional section of the highlighted text in your document.

Find all text highlights in Word

When no further instances are found, you’ll see a message letting you know.

Finished searching message

Pack Away Your Highlighter

Fifteen nifty colors, a handy method for finding your highlighted text, and an easy way to remove it afterward—you can pack away your physical highlighter pen and use Word’s highlighter tool to start making notes instead.

For more, take a look at how to find and replace formatting in Word or how to clear all formatting in your Word document.

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