How to Highlight in Google Docs [Step-by-Step Guide]

Using Google Docs to its full potential will do wonders for students and professionals alike. And learning how to highlight in Google Docs is just one of the incredibly useful skills used to emphasize specific parts of your document.

To highlight text quickly on Google Docs, select the text you want to highlight, choose the highlighter tool on the menu, then pick a color.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about highlighting on Google Docs, including shortcuts.

How to Highlight Text in Google Docs on Desktops

To highlight text in Google Docs on your desktop, simply follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the Google Docs document in which you want to highlight text.
  2. Select the text you want to highlight by clicking and dragging your mouse cursor over the text.
How to highlight text in Google Docs


  1. Once the text is selected, click the highlighter icon on the Google Docs toolbar.
Where is highlighter icon in Google Docs


  1. Choose a color for your text.
Choose a highlight color in Google Docs


  1. If you like a different color from the presets, you can click the plus sign under “Custom.”
  2. After choosing your preferred color, your selected text should now be highlighted. You can repeat the process to highlight additional text in the document.
What highlighted text looks like in GDocs

How to Highlight a Whole Document in Google Docs

To highlight a whole document in Google Docs, you can use the “Select all” function to select all the text in the document and then apply the highlight.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Ctrl + A key (on Windows) or Command + A key (on Mac) to select all the text.
Highlighting all text in Google Docs


  1. Alternatively, you can also select “Edit” on the menu bar and click “Select All.”
Where to find select all option in Google Docs


  1. Click the “Highlight” button in the toolbar and choose your desired color.
Selecting highlighter color in GDocs


  1. After that, the selected text will now be highlighted.

How to Highlight in Google Docs on a Phone

To highlight text in Google Docs using your mobile phone:

  1. Launch the Google Docs app and open your document.
  2. Enable editing by selecting the “Edit” (pencil) icon at the bottom-right side of your screen.
How to Highlight in Google Docs - edit icon Google Docs mobile


  1. Tap and hold the text you want to highlight until the selection menu appears. Tap “Select.” Use the blue handles to adjust the highlighted area if needed.
Highlighting text in Google Docs mobile version


  1. Tap the highlighter icon on the menu located at the center of your screen.
Where to find highlighter icon Google Docs mobile


  1. Choose your desired color and tap on the screen to highlight the selected text.
Selecting highlighter color Google Docs mobile


  1. After following everything above, your selected text should be highlighted with your color of choice.
What highlighting looks like in GDocs mobile


Note: To remove the highlighting, follow the above steps and tap “No color” to reset its appearance.

How to Highlight in Google Docs - no color Google Docs mobile

How to Extract Highlighted Text in Google Docs

Most of the time, people highlight texts because they’re the most important points. When working on lengthy papers or professional documents, there might be a need for you to only preserve these highlighted parts.

One way to extract them is by using Highlight Tool. This intelligent add-on is similar to the find and replace function but the Highlight Tool goes further by exporting the highlighted parts and helping to categorize them.

  1. Click on “Extensions” > “Add-ons” > “Get add-ons.”
Where to find add-ons in Google Docs


  1. Find the Highlight Tool from the options and proceed to its installation.
Where to find Highlight Tool in Google add-ons


  1. “Toggle Extensions” > “Highlight Tool” > “Start.”
Downloading highlight tool for GDocs


  1. Next, toggle “Highlighter Library.”
Using Highlighter Library in Google Docs


  1. Click “New Set” and make a text label for your chosen highlight color.
Clicking new set for highlight library GDocs


  1. When you’re ready to export, toggle “By color” under Extract Highlights.
Toggle By color under Extract Highlights in GDocs


  1. Select a destination and click “Extract.”
Extracting highlights from GDocs

How to Remove Highlighting

To remove highlighting from a text in Google Docs:

  1. Open the corresponding Google Docs document.
  2. Select the highlighted text that you want to remove.
Selecting text in GDocs to remove highlight


  1. Click on the highlighter icon on the toolbar.
Choosing highlighter option in Google Docs


  1. From the menu that appears, click “None”
Remove highlighting by clicking "none" Google Docs

And that’s it! All highlighting in the document will be removed.

Is There a Google Docs Highlight Shortcut?

Unfortunately, there is no solution to highlight on Google Docs using a keyboard (and no direct shortcut for this function). However, here’s how to highlight quickly in Google Docs:

  • Ctrl + A: Selects your entire document
  • Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Selects one character at a time either to the left or to the right
  • Shift + Up/Down Arrow: Selects one line at a time vertically
  • Ctrl + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Selects one word at a time either to the left or to the right
  • Ctrl + Shift + Up/Down Arrow: Selects one paragraph at a time vertically

Why Should I Highlight Texts in Google Docs?

Emphasizing Important Information

By highlighting specific words or phrases, you can draw attention to your document’s key points. This can drastically improve reading comprehension.

Organizing Content

Using different colors to indicate different categories of information can make it easier to navigate your document.

Distinguishing Changes During Collaboration

When working on a document with other parties, highlighted text can be a useful way to communicate suggestions and modifications you’ve made.

Reviewing and Editing

When reviewing a document, you can use highlighting to mark areas that need revision or further attention.


Learning how to highlight in Google Docs can be incredibly helpful for visual outlines, group work, and basic organization. If you’re looking to master Google Suite, don’t miss out on these professional online courses at Udemy!


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