Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing the Highlighting Color.

Changing the Highlighting Color

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 27, 2014)


The Highlight tool is very helpful when you want to draw attention to different areas of a document. The highlighter works in much the same way that a highlighter pen works with a paper document. The default color used for the highlighter is yellow, but this can be easily changed to any other color you desire. This is particularly helpful if you are using a color printer and some colors print better than others.

You change the color of your highlighting by displaying the Home tab of the ribbon and then clicking the down arrow at the right of the Highlight tool (Word 2007) or the Text Highlight Color tool (later versions of Word) in the Font group. You can then select from any of fifteen different colors for your highlighting.

When you change the highlight color, it does not affect any highlighting you have already done in the document. Old highlighting remains the old color; only new highlighting assumes the new color.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9384) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing the Highlighting Color.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2016-07-19 22:36:44


I have been asking MS Word for YEARS to PLEASE give us a choice of lighter highlight colors. EVERYONE wants light colors to highLIGHT. NO ONE wants to obliterate words with the dark color options you have provided.

PLEASE??????????? Has anyone at Microsoft tried out the pallet of high"lighting" color options provided by Word?


2016-04-30 09:33:52


Alison, I forgot to mention that (again in Word 2010) using the Borders and Shading dialog box, if I click on the down triangle at the right of the fill textbox, I get Theme Colors, Standard Colors and More Colors...
This last option opens the Colors dialog box where I can select from a hexagon shaped palette of colours or use the Custom tab to enter RGB or HSL numbers to generate loads of colours.

2016-04-30 09:27:14


Alison, I use Word 2010.
In this, when I select a word or words and then use Borders and Shading, all I have to do is remember to go to the 'Apply to' box at the bottom of the Preview pane and change it to Text rather than Paragraph.
Word then applies shading to just the word or words that I selected.

2016-03-29 10:36:30


Change to "any color you desire" means "any of 15 violent neon colors you desire" right? I want to do some more gentle highlighting to indicate a different kind of information in a document. Borders and Shading is the obvious solution but I cant stop it from taking a whole paragraph. Is there a way to highlight in something other than the 15 colours?

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