How Do I Highlight Text in Notepad?

Notepad, in Windows 7 and 8/8.1, cannot permanently highlight text, but when describing tasks in a text editor, the term "highlight" is sometimes used as a synonym for "select." In Notepad, you can only select text, such as you would do to cut or copy the text. To add actual highlighting, use WordPad, a more full-featured text editor also built into Windows. Microsoft Word, a part of Microsoft Office, can also highlight text.

Benefit
Like a real highlighter, WordPad colors over text without obscuring letters.
credit: Devonyu/iStock/Getty Images

Select Text in Notepad

Click and drag on text in Notepad to select it. To quickly select a single word, double-click the word.

If you prefer to use the keyboard, hold the Shift key and use the arrow keys to select text in any direction. Hold Ctrl and Shift while pressing the left or right arrow key to select one word at a time instead of a space at a time. To select the entire document, press Ctrl-A.

After selecting text, pick a function from the Edit menu, such as Copy.

Highlight Text in WordPad or Word

To highlight text permanently, similar to a highlighter on paper, use WordPad instead of Notepad. Find WordPad by searching on the Start menu or Windows 8 Start screen. In WordPad, first select the text you want to highlight, and then open the drop-down menu next to the highlighter icon, located near the font settings. Pick a color to highlight the text. After setting the color, merely click the highlighter icon to highlight selected text with the same color.

Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 offer an identical feature, used in the same manner. Word also includes the option to click the highlighter icon first and then select text to highlight it.