How to highlight text in any version of PowerPoint, even if you don’t have the option in your toolbar

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You can highlight text in PowerPoint in several different ways. Carlina Teteris/Getty Images
  • You can only highlight text in PowerPoint directly if you have PowerPoint 2019 or subscribe to Microsoft Office 365.
  • If you have an earlier version of PowerPoint or don’t subscribe to Office 365, there are still a few workarounds you can use to either actually highlight your text, or achieve the same effect.
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You may think that highlighting text in MicrosoftPowerPoint is a simple action, but if you don’t use PowerPoint 2019 or are not an Office 365 subscriber, it’s not as easy as you think.

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How to highlight text in PowerPoint if your version has the option available in the toolbar

1. Go to the “Home” tab.

2. Select the desired text using your cursor.

3. Click on the highlight text button in the fonts section and use the dropdown menu to select the colour you want.

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Click the highlight button to choose your highlight colour, and click the colour to highlight the text. Melanie Weir/Business Insider

If you want to continue highlighting multiple pieces of non-contiguous text, simply click the highlight button without selecting any text. You’ll see a little highlighter symbol appear next to your cursor – this means that any text you select with your cursor will automatically be highlighted.

To turn this feature off, just click the highlight button again.

This is how you highlight text using PowerPoint 2019 or an Office 365 subscription. However, if you’re not lucky enough to have either of those, you’ll need to use one of three workarounds in order to highlight text in PowerPoint. The first method is pretty rudimentary, but it gets the job done.

How to highlight text in PowerPoint using Word

1. Cut the desired text out of your slide and paste it into Microsoft Word.

2. Highlight the text in Word, following the instructions given above.

3. Cut the newly-highlighted text out of the Word doc and paste it back into your PowerPoint slide.

If you’d rather not do all the cutting and pasting, or you don’t want to open another application, though, there are still ways to highlight text using only the tools PowerPoint provides. For one thing, you could fake a highlight by inserting a shape into your presentation.

How to highlight text in PowerPoint by inserting a shape

1. In the PowerPoint toolbar, go to the “Insert” tab.

2. Click the “Shapes” button.

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Go to ‘Insert’ and click ‘Shapes.’ Melanie Weir/Business Insider

3. Select a shape from the menu. If you want to disguise it as a normal highlight, you can select the rectangle – however, if you want to make your highlight look more fun, you can choose a different shape instead.

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Select the rectangle, or any other shape you want. Melanie Weir/Business Insider

4. Use the cursor to create the dimensions of the shape around the area of text you want to highlight. When you’re done, click “Shape Fill” on the toolbar and select a colour.

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Create the shape and pick a colour under ‘Shape Fill.’ Melanie Weir/Business Insider

5. On the right side of the toolbar, click the “Send Backward” button to send the highlight shape back a letter so that the text is on top of it. If your PowerPoint has multiple layers to it, you may need to do this more than once.

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Click ‘Send Backward’ until your text appears on top of the shape. Melanie Weir/Business Insider

If you’re not too committed to the traditional highlight shape, and you would like a way to draw attention to your text that doesn’t require so many steps, your final option is to apply a glow effect to text instead of highlighting it.

How to highlight text in PowerPoint by adding a glow effect

1. Click on your text box and go to the “Format” tab that appears in the toolbar. Depending on your version of PowerPoint, this tab may be called “Shape Format.”

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Click the text box and go to the ‘Format’ tab. Melanie Weir/Business Insider

2. Highlight the text you want to enhance using your cursor.

3. On the right side of the “Format” tab, click “Text Effects,” denoted by a glowing blue “A” icon.

4. Select “Glow” (or any other effect you think would work) from the drop-down menu.

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Under ‘Text Effects,’ click ‘Glow.’ Melanie Weir/Business Insider

5. Choose the colour and size you want for your glow effect.

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Choose glow colour and size. Melanie Weir/Business Insider
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