How to select more highlight colors in Word

How to select more highlight colors in Word

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If you color-code the text in your Word documents, you may feel constrained by the 15 Highlight Color choices:

Highlight colors

Fortunately, there's another command available if you want to expand your color palette: Shading. The button is not far from the Highlight Color selector on the Word toolbar: It's just about seven spots to the right over in the Paragraph section:

Shading colors

You can use More Colors to select from the expanded Colors dialog:

Standard Colors

Or even enter custom RGB values if you like:

Custom Colors

This feature is available in both Word 2007 and Word 2010.

A couple of small cautions: If you use my tip for hiding highlighter marks, any text with Shading will still be displayed and printed. Also, you'll have to remove Shading separately from Highlighting - simply select your target text and choose No Color for each.


  • With the text highlighting, I can highlight the bullets.  However, with shading, it won't highlight the bullets.  Any way I can highlight the bullets using shading?

  • Thank you for this very clear info.

  • Thanx. The problem I still have is that MS Word 10 extends the highlight color across the entire line (page row) rather than just highilghting the text only.  Is there a way to avoid this?  

  • It doesn't highlight the same way I want it to. Rather than highlighting just the text itself, the shading thing draws a huge, colored rectangle around the entire text body, thus highlighting the spaces between each word and paragraph. Not exactly the same :(

  • I wish Microsoft would increase color options to include some pastel colors under the highlighting tool!  It is difficult to see black font with some of the available colors.  I don't want to go through the fuss of using shading mechanism....  Microsoft-pls provide an option to custom these colors.  Thank you!.  

  • ^Did you try selecting the text you wanted to shade first before shading? Because that worked for me.

  • I tried the above and also had the entire paragraph highlighted, not a section of text in the paragraph

  • i agree with nancy. colors are too dark/heavy and its hard to see black text. opaqueness settings?

  • Thank you, Suzanne100!!! Word 2007 was driving me crazy showing me my custom Highlight color (salmon pink) and when I would select it, Word 2007 took it upon itself to highlight in red.

  • ^Did you try selecting the text you wanted to shade first before shading? Because that worked for me.

    It worked for me too

  • Awesome! Just what I was looking for and found it just a google search away :) Truly grateful :)

  • Selecting the text is very touchy, if you select past the text at all you will get the entire line highlighted.  The cursor has to be just past the last character

  • To avoid shading the entire line, Shift + Enter creates a line break.

  • Thanks so much.  I've been looking for a way to access more highlighter colors.  Your tip is great!

  • Great tip - even older versions of Microsoft Word have the shading tool in the format tab!

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