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Highlight Text in PowerPoint 365 for Windows

Learn how to highlight text in PowerPoint 365 for Windows. Highlighted text can recreate the look of colored, transparent ink on text.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 365 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 10 and higher



Learn PowerPoint

Learn how to change alignment of numbers in a PowerPoint chart.



Before we explore highlighted text in PowerPoint, let's ask ourselves why do we need to highlight any text? If you want to emphasize some important words, phrases, or sentences within your slide, then highlighting may indeed help drawing the audience's attention. What's more, highlighting text is as simple as dragging and drawing.

You can highlight a single block of text, also known as contiguous text. You can also highlight non-contiguous text, or text sections that are not next to each other. The way you highlight text in PowerPoint differs on whether you want to work with contiguous or non-contiguous text, as explained separately on this page. We explore removing highlighting from text in a separate tutorial.

Highlight Contiguous Text

Follow these steps to highlight contiguous text within PowerPoint 365 for Windows:

  1. Select text that you want to highlight, as shown in Figure 1, below.
  2. Select text to highlight in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 1: Select text to highlight
  3. Now, access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and locate the Text Highlight Color button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.
  4. Text Highlight Color button in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 2: Text Highlight Color button
  5. As you can see in Figure 2, above, yellow is already selected as the highlight color, probably because this may be the most commonly-used highlight color.
  6. If you want to use yellow or another selected color to highlight your selected text, just click on the Text Highlight Color button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, above. However, if you want to choose another text highlight color, click the small arrow button next to the Text Highlight Color button, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2. Doing so will bring up the Text Highlight Color gallery, as shown in Figure 3, below.
  7. Text Highlight Color gallery in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 3: Text Highlight Color gallery
  8. Within this gallery, click the color you want to use for highlighting selected text, as shown in Figure 3, above. Doing so applies highlighting to the selected text, as shown in Figure 4, below (compare with Figure 1).
  9. Highlighted text in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 4: Highlighted text in PowerPoint

Highlight Non-Contiguous Text

Follow these steps to highlight non-contiguous text within PowerPoint 365 for Windows:

  1. Select the text box or placeholder that contains the non-contiguous text that you want to highlight. Next, click anywhere within this text box or placeholder ensuring that you:
    • Do not select the entire text box or placeholder.
    • Do not select any words.
    • Do not select even an empty space.
  2. Click with your cursor between words or between characters in a way that no actual text or even an empty space is selected. All you need is to ensure that you have a blinking insertion cursor, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.
  3. Blinking insertion cursor in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 5: Blinking insertion cursor
  4. Now, access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and locate the Text Highlight Color button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, shown previously on this page. Optionally, choose any highlight color from the Text Highlight Color gallery, as shown in Figure 3, previously on this page.
  5. Text Highlight Color Button Grayed Out?

  6. Is the Text Highlight Color button on the Home tab of the Ribbon grayed out? To ensure it’s not grayed out, you must ensure that you have clicked within the text box or placeholder, and have not selected any text or even some empty space.
  7. Your cursor will turn into a highlighter, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below.
  8. Cursor will turn into a highlighter in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
    Figure 6: Cursor will turn into a highlighter
  9. Now you can highlight text almost as if you were using a conventional highlighter pen with a piece of paper or a book. You can highlight contiguous or non-contiguous areas of text now. In Figure 7, below, you can see that we have highlighted some part of the text, and the cursor still shows as a highlighter, as can be seen highlighted in red within Figure 7.
  10. Cursor still shows a highlighter after highlighting some text
    Figure 7: Cursor still shows a highlighter
  11. Continue highlighting text, as shown in Figure 8, below. You can also change the highlight color as needed.
  12. Text segments highlighted with different colors in PowerPoint 365
    Figure 8: Text highlighted with different colors

Keyboard Shortcut to Highlight Text in PowerPoint

Unlike in Microsoft Word, there is no keyboard shortcut to add highlight to text in PowerPoint. However, you can use this simple keyboard sequence:

Press the Alt and H keys together, then quickly type in T and C in quick succession, and finally press the Enter key. Do note that this technique will not allow you to choose a highlight color, and will use either the default highlight color, or the last-used highlight color.


People Also Ask:

Why is there no text highlighting option in PowerPoint?

You can highlight text in PowerPoint 2019, 2021, and 365. In previous versions, you can highlight text in Word and copy the highlighted text to PowerPoint.

How can you highlight multiple pieces of non-contiguous text in PowerPoint?

With no text selected, access the Home tab and click the arrow button next to the Text Highlight Color. Choose the highlight color you need, and hover the cursor over some text until the cursor changes to a highlighter. Select and drag over text content that you want to highlight.

How do I highlight animation in PowerPoint?

You can use one of the many Emphasis animation effects in PowerPoint, such as Grow/Shrink, and many others.

See Also:

05 09 01 - Text Advanced: Highlight Text in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)

Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Highlight Text in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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