Word: Add/remove highlighting with the keyboardFebruary 23, 2009
Microsoft Word has a toolbar icon for applying and removing color highlighting, just like using a real highlighter. It’s fine when you only have the occasional highlighting to do, but what if you’re doing a lot of adding/removing highlighting from text? You need a quicker way, right?
In Word 2003 you have to assign your own keystroke combination for highlighting. And that’s not as intuitive or as easy as you’d think because they left Highlight off the Format list! Here’s how you do it:
- Go to Tools > Customize on the Word menu, and select the Commands tab (1).
- Click the Keyboard button (2). You must do this now otherwise you can’t see the Highlight command.
- On the Customize Keyboard window, select All Commands from the Categories list on the left (3).
- In the Commands list on the right, scroll down to Highlight and select it (4).
- Put your cursor in the Press new shortcut key field (5) and press the key combination you want to assign to color highlighting. Suggestion: Use Ctrl+Alt+H, the same as Word 2007. That way, when you move to Word 2007 you won’t have to reassign the keys or remember something different.
- If this key combination is available, [unassigned] displays (6).
- Save this key combination in the template (7).
- Click Assign (8).
- Click Close on each open window.
In Word 2007, someone realized that a key combination for turning highlighting on and off would be a good idea, so they included one — Ctrl+Alt+H. Simple.
Using the highlighting shortcut key
- Adding highlighting: Select the text you want to highlight, then press Ctrl+Alt+H.
- Removing highlighting: Select the highlighted text, then press Ctrl+Alt+H.
Changing the highlight color
The default highlight color is yellow, but you can change it. Once changed, the new color applies whenever you press the shortcut key combination.
- Click on the drop-down arrow next to the toolbar icon .
- Click the color you want.
- Click the toolbar icon to turn off the ‘sticky’ highlighter. This is necessary when you have a shortcut key assigned to the highlighting function — for some reason, the function is ‘sticky’ as soon as you select a new color.
- Continue using the shortcut key to turn highlighting on and off.
(Thanks to Tony Jollans on the Microsoft Office Word Discussion Group who alerted me to this solution: http://tinyurl.com/7xbmg8)