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Fake Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to fake highlight text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X

First of all, why would you need to highlight text? One answer could be that you want to emphasize some important words or phrases within your slide. There is no ready to use tool within PowerPoint -- on both Windows and Mac versions. At least within the Windows versions such as PowerPoint 2013, you can use Word's highlighting options as a workaround -- but this workaround does not work with PowerPoint 2011 for Mac -- so we will use fake highlighting for the text, which also works extremely well.

Follow these steps to learn how to fake highlight a text within PowerPoint 2011:

  1. Access the slide that contains the text that you want to highlight. In Figure 1, below you can see a slide with text. We will highlight the first paragraph.

    Text on the slide
    Figure 1: Text on the slide

  2. Now, insert a thin and long Rectangle shape -- insert it in such a way that it covers the first line of the paragraph. In Figure 2, below you can see that a Rectangle is being drawn.

    Rectangle being drawn
    Figure 2: Rectangle being drawn

  3. Once the Rectangle is placed, change its fill to a solid color that you want to use as highlight color, remove the outline from the shape, and also remove any shadow effect. Once done, right-click (or Ctrl+click) the Rectangle shape to bring up the contextual menu, as shown in Figure 3. Here chose the Format Shape option.

    Format Shape option
    Figure 3: Format Shape option

  4. This opens the Format Shape dialog box, as shown in Figure 4. Here reduce the solid fill Transparency to 50%, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4, below. Once done, click the OK button to get back to your slide.

    Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 4: Format Shape dialog box

  5. You'll get the result, as shown in Figure 5.

    Result after applying Transparency to 50%
    Figure 5: Result after applying Transparency to 50%

  6. Now select the first rectangle shape and create copies so that you get a result like shown in Figure 6. Also resize the individual Rectangle shape so that they cover up the entire text within the line (refer to Figure 6, again).

    Copies created for Rectangle
    Figure 6: Copies created for Rectangle

    Note: If you notice, we made the Rectangles thin enough height-wise so that we ended up with spaces in-between the lines! This is not mandatory -- you can create thicker Rectangles that do not result in such white space.

  7. Once the copies are created, you can optionally discard the Transparency and bring all the Rectangles back to 0% Transparency. Select all the Rectangle shapes and right-click (or Ctrl+click) to bring up the contextual menu -- within the contextual menu, choose Arrange | Send to Back option, as shown in Figure 7. Learn more in our Reorder Slide Objects in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.

    Send to Back option
    Figure 7: Send to Back option

  8. This will send the shapes behind the text, providing an illusion of the text being highlighted, as shown in Figure 8.

    Fake highlighted text
    Figure 8: Fake highlighted text

  9. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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