How to Highlight Specific Words in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Highlighting specific words in Microsoft Word is a handy skill to have, whether you’re studying for a test, reviewing a document, or wanting to make certain words stand out. It’s a simple process that can greatly improve the readability of your text. Let’s dive into how you can do this in just a few clicks.

Step by Step Tutorial: Highlighting Specific Words in Word

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, this section will guide you through the steps of highlighting words in your Word document. By following these steps, you’ll be able to make important text pop out for better visibility.

Step 1: Open your document in Microsoft Word

Open the document you wish to edit by double-clicking on the file or opening Word and navigating to the file.

Once you have your document open, you’re ready to start highlighting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new document or one that you’ve been working on for a while; the steps are the same.

Step 2: Select the word or words you want to highlight

Click and drag your cursor over the text you wish to highlight.

Selecting the text is crucial; you need to make sure you’ve got exactly the words you want to highlight. If you accidentally select too much, don’t worry! You can simply click away and then reselect the correct text.

Step 3: Click on the ‘Home’ tab

Look at the top of your Word document window for the ‘Home’ tab and click on it.

The ‘Home’ tab is where you’ll find a lot of the basic formatting tools in Word. It’s your go-to spot for things like font type, size, and, yes, text highlighting.

Step 4: Click on the ‘Text Highlight Color’ button

Find the ‘Text Highlight Color’ button in the ‘Font’ group of the ‘Home’ tab; it looks like a pen tip with a highlighter.

This button is your key to adding that pop of color behind your text. If you hover over it, you’ll see a tooltip that says ‘Text Highlight Color.’

Step 5: Choose your highlight color

Click on the ‘Text Highlight Color’ button, and a color palette will appear. Select the color you want to use to highlight your text.

Go wild with your color choice, but remember that some colors might be easier on the eyes than others. Think about why you’re highlighting and who will be reading it.

After completing these steps, the words you selected will be highlighted in the color you chose. This makes them stand out from the rest of the text, drawing attention where you want it.

Tips for Highlighting Specific Words in Word

  • Use contrasting colors to make the highlighted text stand out. If your document has a light background, opt for a darker highlight color, and vice versa.
  • If you need to remove a highlight, simply select the highlighted text and click the ‘Text Highlight Color’ button, then choose ‘No Color.’
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process. After selecting the text, press ‘Ctrl + Alt + H’ to apply the last used highlight color.
  • To quickly find all instances of a particular word and highlight them at once, use the ‘Find’ feature (Ctrl + F), type in the word, then use the ‘Reading Highlight’ option.
  • Remember that the highlight is a formatting option, so it will remain when you print the document, unless you remove it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I highlight multiple words at once?

You can hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key while selecting each word or phrase you want to highlight, then apply the highlight color to all selected text at once.

Can I highlight text in different colors?

Absolutely! Just select each word or phrase you want to highlight and then choose the specific color you’d like to apply to that selection.

Will the highlighting transfer if I copy and paste the text into another document?

Yes, the highlighting is part of the text formatting, so it will carry over when you copy and paste.

Is there a way to highlight an entire paragraph?

Yes, simply click and drag your cursor over the entire paragraph, or triple-click within the paragraph, then follow the same steps to apply the highlight color.

Can I use custom colors for highlighting?

Yes, you can customize colors by selecting ‘More Colors…’ under the ‘Text Highlight Color’ menu, which gives you a broader range of colors to choose from.


  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Select the word or words you want to highlight.
  3. Click on the ‘Home’ tab.
  4. Click on the ‘Text Highlight Color’ button.
  5. Choose your highlight color.


Highlighting specific words in Microsoft Word is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re looking to emphasize key points in a document, make study notes, or simply draw attention to certain text, knowing how to highlight effectively can make a world of difference. With the straightforward steps provided in this article, you’ll be able to enhance your documents in a way that’s both visually appealing and functional.

Remember, the highlight feature isn’t just about making your document look pretty—it’s an essential tool for communication. It helps readers identify the most important parts of your text, whether you’re creating a report, a study guide, or a presentation. Plus, with the additional tips and FAQs, you’re now equipped to tackle any highlighting task with ease.

So, the next time you open up Word, give these steps a try! You might find that with just a few clicks, your document transforms into an organized, easy-to-navigate masterpiece. And who knows? You might just find yourself looking for any excuse to brighten up your text with a splash of color. Happy highlighting!

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