Replacing Highlighted Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 14, 2021)

4

David has a number of Word documents where the essential words have been highlighted using the yellow "text highlight color." What he needs to do is replace all the highlighted words with an underlined version of the same word with a font size change and also remove the highlight color, all at the same time. David wonders if there is a way to accomplish this task.

Yes, the Find and Replace feature in Word is powerful enough to do this all in a single pass. Before doing so, however, you may want to save your document just in case something goes wrong during the replacing operation. Once that is done, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button, if it is available.
  3. The insertion point should be blinking in the Find What box, which should be empty. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the expanded Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. Click the No Formatting button, if it is available.
  6. Click the Format button and choose Highlight. The word "Highlight" appears under the Find What box.
  7. Click in the Replace With box and make sure it is empty.
  8. Click the Format button and choose Highlight. The word "Highlight" appears under the Replace With box.
  9. Click the Format button and choose Highlight a second time. The word "Highlight" changes to "Not Highlight."
  10. Click the Format button and choose Font. Word displays the Font tab of the Replace Font dialog box.
  11. Use the controls in the dialog box to choose the desired font size and underline.
  12. Click OK to close the Replace Font dialog box.
  13. Click Replace All.

There is a variation on the above steps that you can also use, if desired:

  1. If you are using Word 2007, press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. If you are using a later version of Word, press Ctrl+H to display the Find and Replace dialog box, then click the Find tab.
  2. Click the More button, if it is available.
  3. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  4. Click the No Formatting button, if it is available.
  5. Click the Format button and choose Highlight. The word "Highlight" appears under the Find What box.
  6. Click the Find In drop-down list and choose Main Document. Word selects all instances of highlighted text in the document.
  7. Click Close. Everything that is highlighted should still be selected in the document.
  8. Use the tools on the Home tab of the ribbon to select a font, font size, and underline. All of the selected words are formatted according to your choices.
  9. Using the Highlight tool on the Home tab of the ribbon, clear the highlighting.

Note that it is important to do step 9 last, as clearing the highlighting "unselects" all the words that were selected in step 6. Interestingly, doing the other formatting changes (step 8) doesn't unselect the words.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13411) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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 two less than 7?

2021-10-16 00:03:35

Tomek

@Harold: Unluckily, Word is color blind when it comes to highlighting; it will find all word highlighted with whatever color.


2015-11-14 23:44:58

MaryB

This tip is very helpful. Thank you?
Good question Harold


2015-11-14 11:56:27

Owen Mattingly

This is agood way to help us appreciate word. We all need to learn more about all the aoftware we use.
Thanks.


2015-11-14 05:51:54

Harold Druss

How about a solution for just "yellow" highlighted words just in case more than one color is used for highlighting.


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