How to Copy and Paste Multiple Text Selections at Once in Microsoft Word

Learn how to highlight separate blocks of text in Word and copy and paste them into another Word document or elsewhere.

Remember the days of highlighting text in books with a bright yellow highlighter? I did that a lot in college. I just wish I could have quickly and easily collected all the highlighted text from a book and pasted it onto pages in my notes.

Well, today you can do that in Word. If you’re reading a long document in Word and highlighting important parts, you can quickly and easily find and select all your highlighted text and copy it.

Today we’ll show you how to find and select highlighted text and how to copy and paste that text without the highlighting into another Word document.

Highlight Text

To highlight text in a Word document, select the text you want to highlight.

By default, the Text Highlight Color button in the Font section on the Home tab highlights the text in yellow when you click it. If you want to use a different color, click the down arrow on the right side of the button. Then, click the color you want.

The color you selected becomes the default color the next time you click the Text Highlight Color button.

Highlighting text in Word

Find and Select All Highlighted Text

You can manually copy all highlighted text. Start by selecting the first block of text with the mouse. Then, scroll to the next block of highlighted text and hold down the Ctrl key while you select that. Once you’ve selected all the blocks you want to copy, press Ctrl + C.

You don’t have to highlight each block of text to select multiple blocks, but it makes it easier, as you’ll see.

However, manually selecting separate blocks of text is time-consuming. You can select all highlighted text at once using the Find and Replace tool in Word.

Press Ctrl + H. On the Find and Replace dialog box, click the Find tab. Then, click More.

Click the Find tab, then click More

Click Format and then select Highlight.

Click Format, then select Highlight

Highlight displays as the Format below the Find what box.

To find and select all the highlighted text in the document, click Find In and select Main Document.

Find in Main Document

Word tells you how many highlighted items it found.

Press Esc or click the X in the upper-right corner of the dialog box to close it.

Close the Find and Replace dialog box

All your blocks of highlighted text are selected.

Press Ctrl + C to copy the selected text.

Highlighted text selected in Word

Paste the Selected, Highlighted Text into Another Word Document

We’re going to paste our text into a new Word document.

Go to File > New > Blank document to create a new document. Then, press Ctrl + V to paste the copied text.

Each separate block of text is pasted on a new line.

By default, when you paste text you copied from any Word document, or any other program, the formatting automatically comes with it. So the text you just pasted remains highlighted.

Text pasted with highlighting

If you don’t want to keep the highlighting on the pasted text, you can paste only the text without the formatting.

Instead of pressing Ctrl + V to paste the copied text, click the down arrow on the Paste button in the Clipboard section of the Home tab. Then, click Keep Text Only.

Click Paste, then select Keep Text Only

You can also access the Keep Text Only button by clicking the Paste Options button, if you haven’t disabled it. We’ll show you in a bit where you can enable and disable the Paste Options button.

Click the Paste Options box in Word

Set Keep Text Only as Default

If you want to always paste text as plain text using Ctrl + V, you can set that as the default action.

Click the down arrow on the Paste button and select Set Default Paste.

Click Paste, then select Set Default Paste

Click Advanced in the left pane on the Word Options dialog box. In the Cut, copy, and paste section on the right, select Keep Text Only from any of the first four Pasting drop-down lists. In our example, we’re copying and pasting between Word documents so we select Keep Text Only from the Pasting between documents drop-down list.

As we mentioned, text formatting is left out when pasting as text only. And you also lose images and links.

For explanations of the options available for controlling the formatting when you paste text into Word, see Microsoft’s support article.

Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box. Now you can paste the highlighted text you copied and it won’t be highlighted in the new document.

Cut, copy, and paste options in Word Options

Paste Your Collected Text Almost Anywhere

You don’t have to paste the copied text into another Word document. You can paste the text into any other program that accepts text, including other word processors (like LibreOffice), text editors, and email programs (like Outlook and Thunderbird).

Happy highlighting and copying!



  1. user

    July 11, 2018 at 7:25 am

    It pastes in reverse order

  2. Matthew W. I. Dunn

    December 22, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    It does not paste the selected text in order, when you paste it into another document. Thanks, Microsoft, for such good work.

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