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How to Highlight in PowerPoint

Maddie Rehayem
Maddie Rehayem  |  September 12, 2019

Highlighting in PowerPoint is easy...if you subscribe to Office 365, that is.

If you have a standard version of PowerPoint, there are still ways to do it, but no function within the program allows you to easily highlight text. I’ll show you a couple of workarounds in this article.

How to highlight text in PowerPoint

If you don’t have the Office 365 version of PowerPoint, jump ahead to the workarounds. If you have Office 365, simply follow these steps to highlight text in PowerPoint:

Alternatively, you can select the text with your regular cursor, then click on the highlighter tool. The selected text will be highlighted.

If you’d like to change the color of the highlighter, you can do so by clicking the small drop-down arrow next to the highlighter icon and selecting your desired color.

select the highlighter

highlight the text

To unhighlight something, follow the same steps. You could also select the text you’d like to have no highlighter, and select “No Color” from the color drop-down.

Get your complete guide to Microsoft Office.    Explore Now →How to highlight in PowerPoint (without Office 365)

It would be nice if PowerPoint allowed you to highlight within the program, regardless of whether you subscribe to Office 365, but we mustn't fret. There are plenty of ways to work around it if you don’t mind getting a little creative. Here are two of them.

Method 1: Microsoft Word

One way to work around the lack of a highlighter tool in PowerPoint is to highlight text in Microsoft Word, then copy and paste it into your PowerPoint slides. You’ll need Word to do this, so if you don’t have it, move on to the next method.

1. Type the text you want to highlight in Word

type the text into Word

2. Select the highlighter tool from the menu at the top of the window

select the highlighter tool

3. Click and drag your cursor over the text to highlight it

You could also select the text you want to highlight, then click the highlighter tool to highlight it.

4. Copy the highlighted text in Word

copy the highlighted text

5. Paste the text into your PowerPoint slide and “Keep Source Formatting”

Make sure you select “Keep Source Formatting” after pasting, otherwise your highlighted text may not be copied.

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Method 2: Shapes

You can use Shapes to make the text appear highlighted, even if it isn’t actually highlighted in the slide. You’ll see what I mean. Just follow these steps in PowerPoint:

1. Click on Shapes to open the drop-down menu

You'll find this button at the top right of your window.

2. Select the Rectangle icon

The Rectangle icon looks like a square (which if you remember from math class, is also a rectangle, but I digress). Click on it.

3. Create a rectangle of your desired size and color

create a rectangle

Use your cursor to create the rectangle you will use to highlight your text. You can adjust the color of the rectangle using “Shape Fill” near the top right corner of your window.

4. Click on “Arrange” then “Send to Back”

click on arrange then send to back

Because you don’t want the rectangle covering up your text, but rather highlighting it, you want it to appear behind the text. Make it so by clicking “Arrange” (also near the top right) then “Send to Back.”

5. Move the rectangle behind the text you want to highlight

move the rectangle

Drag the rectangle behind the text you want to highlight. You can also adjust the size at this point if need be...and voila! The text is highlighted and nobody can tell that you don’t have Office 365.

Stay highlighted

Hopefully this article helped you find a way to highlight in PowerPoint that works for you!

I see you tricking out those slides. Check out our guide on how to make a picture transparent in PowerPoint while you’re at it.

Maddie Rehayem

Maddie Rehayem

Maddie is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 focusing on management and finance. She also has a passion for music and cats. (she/her/hers)