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A Guide to Highlighting in Google Docs (+Tips for Organizations)

June 10, 2019

Everyone learns and organizes their thoughts in different ways.

People who classify themselves as visual learners may benefit from an organizational system that is based on color and sequence. Luckily, Google Docs has a tool that allows users to assemble the content of their document through color coding.

How to highlight in Google Docs

When highlighting, it’s easy to get carried away and end up with a messy document filled with color that hardly makes sense anymore. So, how useful can highlighting really be?

To start, here is a shortcut on how to highlight in Google Docs:

In this particular guide, I will also be covering how to use the highlight tool to color code specific ideas and export them into another document.

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1. Go to “Add-ons” and then click, “Get add-ons”

To start, find the horizontal tool-bar at the top of your screen. Then, find “Add-ons” and click. Once you’ve clicked on the “Add-ons” button, a drop-down menu will appear. Select, “Get add-ons.”

get add ons

2. Search for “Highlight tool” and then install

After you click on, “Get add-ons” a pop-up window will appear on the screen. From there, type “Highlight tool” into the search box located in the upper right-hand corner. You will then see a list of related options. From that list, select the first option labeled “Highlight tool”. Google will then ask you to grant permission for add-ons to access your document.

highlight tool

3. Go back to “Add-ons” and then choose “Highlight tool” and select “Start”

Once you’ve granted access to your document, head back to the “Add-ons” button in the toolbar. From there, you’ll see that the “Highlight tool” has been added to the menu option. Click “Highlight tool” and then select “Start” from the pop-up menu that has appeared.

start highlight tool

4. Click on “Highlighter Library” and create customized highlights

After clicking on “Start,” a menu will open on the right side of your screen. Find the button for “Highlighter library” and click. From there, a pop-up window will appear. In the text boxes provided, create a label and then choose a corresponding color for your highlights. To choose another category, click the “+” button.

highlighter library

5. Highlight the text and choose the corresponding color

To highlight the text, drag your mouse over a section of your document. From there, use the highlight tool on the right side of the page and click on the color you would like to apply.

highlight example

6. Extract highlights by selecting the “By color” button and click “Extract”

By exporting your documents into a new document, all of your ideas are automatically organized neatly, by color and label. To create this separate document, click on the button labeled, “By color” under the title, “Extract Highlights” at the bottom of the “Highlight Tool” menu.

by color

From there, a new window will appear on the screen which will give you the option to select a destination for this information to be generated. Once you’ve chosen a destination, click, “Extract.” 

extract highlights

Tip: Make a mistake along the way? Learn how to delete a page in Google Docs.

Congrats! You’ve successfully highlighted and organized your Google Doc

Whether you need to create a study guide or just want to isolate certain information, the highlight tool on Google Docs is an easy way to keep your documents organized. Take it one step further and double space your Google Doc to make it easier for hand-written annotations!

Looking for other ways to keep your Google Doc orderly? Check out how to add and remove headers in Google Docs.

To learn about other programs like Google Docs, find more document creation software here! 

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