How to Fix Highlight Text not Working in Microsoft Word? (Guide with Images)

February 21, 2024 1.3K views

Highlighting text is an immense convenience, effortlessly drawing attention to key information. It's as simple as selecting the text, and it's highlighted. The digital equivalent of using a highlighter on paper, except here, you don't need to worry about ink running out. However, if your digital highlighter suddenly stops cooperating, it can be frustrating. In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind how to remove highlight in Word using WPS Office and provide effective solutions to get your highlighting back on track.

How to Fix Highlight Text not Working in Microsoft Word

How to Fix Highlight Text not Working in Microsoft Word

Why Highlight Text Isn't Working in Microsoft Word?

Experiencing issues while trying to highlight text in Microsoft Word? Here are four possible reasons and solutions:

  • Compatibility Mode:

Highlighting problems may arise when working with an older version of a Word document or a file saved in a different format. For instance, if you receive a document created in Word 2003 and are using a newer version, seamless highlighting might not be allowed.

  • Document Protection:

Protected or restricted documents can impact highlighting functionality due to editing or formatting restrictions. If a document has password protection or restricted editing, it may limit your ability to highlight text.

  • Insufficient Permissions:

Lack of necessary permissions on a network or shared document may prevent modifications, including highlighting. In a collaborative setting, if you don't have editing permissions, highlighting options might be restricted.

  • Microsoft Word in Dark Mode:

Dark mode in Word, designed for low-lit environments, might affect the clarity of highlight colors. Attempting to highlight text in Word while using dark mode may result in unclear or distorted colors.

  • Mouse Functionality:

Ensure your mouse's left-click is working correctly. If not, resolve any mouse click issues before troubleshooting Word highlighting problems.

Remember, understanding and addressing these factors can help resolve the question, "Why can't I highlight in MS Word?"

How to Fix Highlight Text Not Working in Microsoft Word?

To resolve the issues, there are a few straightforward fixes that will enable you to highlight text in Word with ease.

Check Document Permissions:

To address issues stemming from restricted permissions, you can modify settings and disable the protected view permission within the application:

Step 1: Open the MS Word application and navigate to the File tab, then click on Options in the left pane.

Microsoft Word Options

Microsoft Word Options

Step 2: Select the Trust Center tab and click the “Trust Center Settings” button.

Microsoft Word Trust Center Settings

Microsoft Word Trust Center Settings

Step 3: Within the Trust Center settings, click on Protected View to access the options on the right pane.

Step 4: Uncheck the three Enable Protected View checkboxes.

Step 5: Save the changes by clicking the “OK” button and close the Trust Center window.

Microsoft Word Protected View

Microsoft Word Protected View

Step 6: Click “OK” again to exit Word Options.

Microsoft Word exit Options

Microsoft Word exit Options

With Word's Protected View options disabled, attempt to highlight texts in your Word application.

Disable Compatibility Mode in MS Word:

At times, your Microsoft Word may not be compatible with your Windows settings, and this can be resolved by ensuring that compatibility mode is turned off.

Step 1: Right-click on the Microsoft Word application icon in your Desktop

Step 2: From the context menu, select "Properties".

Step 3: Uncheck the box next to "Run this program in compatibility mode" and choose a lower Windows version from the options provided.

Step 4: Click the "OK" button to save your changes.

Microsoft Word Compatibility Mode

Microsoft Word Compatibility Mode

Update Microsoft Word:

The next method is to update your Microsoft Word app, which involves checking for updates and applying them to ensure your Word application is up-to-date and any bugs or issues are resolved.

Step 1: Open the Microsoft Word app on your system and navigate to the "File" tab in the main menu.

Step 2: Go to the "Accounts" tab in the left sidebar panel.

Step 3: In the account window, you will find the "Update options" button. Click on it and then select "Update Now".

 Microsoft Office Updates

Microsoft Office Updates

Step 4: Microsoft will start downloading and updating your Office suite.

Microsoft Office Download and update

Microsoft Office Download and update

Once completed, try restarting your Word app and then attempt to highlight text. The problems should not persist.

Reinstall Microsoft Word:

The last method or the final resort is to reinstall Microsoft Word. This will allow you to refresh all the settings that might have been accidentally changed, preventing you from highlighting text in Word.

Step 1: On your system, open the Control Panel and head over to “Uninstall programs” in the Program section.

Step 2: Find Microsoft Office, and right-click to open the context menu.

Note: Microsoft Word cannot be removed separately; the entire Microsoft Office suite needs to be reinstalled.

Step 3: In the context menu, select “Uninstall” to remove Microsoft Office from your system.

Windows 11 Uninstall Microsoft Office

Windows 11 Uninstall Microsoft Office

Step 4: Once the uninstallation is complete, simply download and install Microsoft Office again from the official website.

Reinstalling Microsoft Word will eliminate any errors and problems faced during highlighting text in Word, but the process can be a bit lengthy, which is why this is the final ultimate solution.

Use an Excellent Word Processing Tool Alternative to Microsoft Word

WPS Writer embodies the same level of excellence and innovation found throughout the WPS Office suite. Its user-friendly interface, robust feature set, and seamless compatibility make it a standout choice for anyone seeking a reliable and efficient word processing solution. Moreover, for users encountering issues with the Highlight Text function in older versions of Microsoft Word, where it may not work as expected, it's worth noting that they have options.

WPS Writer

WPS Writer

They can either opt to obtain the latest version of Word or explore alternative solutions, such as downloading the latest version of WPS Office, which offers a similar, if not superior, experience.

Method 1: Use Text Highlight Color or Shading

WPS provides various methods to enhance your text, starting with the classic highlight tool.

Step 1: In WPS Office, select the text you want to highlight and go to the Home tab.

Step 2: In the Home tab, find the Text Highlighter Color icon and click on the arrow to expand.

WPS Office Text Highlighter Color tool

WPS Office Text Highlighter Color tool

Step 3: Choose the color you want to highlight your text with. Once you select a color, you will see the text highlighted with your chosen color.

Step 4: Similarly, you can also add shading to your text by clicking the "Paint" icon located next to the alignment options in the Home ribbon. This is the Shading Tool in WPS Office.

 WPS Office Shading Tool

WPS Office Shading Tool

Step 5: Simply click on the Shading Tool icon to apply shading to your text. If you don't like the preset color, click on the small arrow to view more shading color options.

WPS Office Shading Color Options

WPS Office Shading Color Options

Pro Tip: The Text Highlighter Tool is effective for highlighting specific lines. However, when highlighting entire paragraphs, shading can prove to be more efficient.

Method 2: Change text color

Next is changing the text color. WPS Office allows users to change the text color to make it stand out from the rest, ensuring your reader's attention. Additionally, you can use text color to indicate a value, such as using red text for warnings or losses.

Step 1: To change the text color, select the text you want to modify and head over to the Home tab.

Step 2: In the Home ribbon, find the "Text Color" option and click on the small arrow to expand colors.

WPS Office Text Color

WPS Office Text Color

Step 3: Click on your preferred color to change the text color.

WPS Office select Font color

WPS Office select Font color

Note: A wide variety of colors are available, and if you can't find your desired color, click on "More Font Colors" to explore additional options.

WPS Office More Font Colors

WPS Office More Font Colors

Method 3: Use Text Effects

Another method is to differentiate the text using Text Effects.

Step 1: Text Effects is also available in the Home tab. To use this feature, select the text where you want to apply Text Effects.

Step 2: Find the Text Effects icon in the font section of the Home tab. Click on it to expand and view all the available text effects.

WPS Office Text Effects

WPS Office Text Effects

Step 3: Users can choose from different effects, including Shadow, Reflection, Word Art, and Glow.

WPS Office Text Effects options

WPS Office Text Effects options

Note: Users can also customize their text effects by clicking on "More Text Effects".

WPS Office More Text Effects

WPS Office More Text Effects

Why WPS Writer Is the Best Alternative to Microsoft Word?

WPS Writer, the word processing component of WPS Office, stands out as a powerful tool for creating and editing documents. Its intuitive interface and comprehensive set of features make document creation really easy. From basic tasks like formatting text and inserting images to more advanced functionalities such as track changes and document comparison, WPS Writer caters to the needs of both casual users and professionals alike.This compatibility extends to collaborative work environments, where users can effortlessly share documents with colleagues who use different office software.

WPS Writer

WPS Writer

The transition from Microsoft Office to WPS Office was seamless, thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive design. I found myself quickly adapting to WPS Writer's features, which closely resemble those of MS Office but with added simplicity.

One aspect that stood out to me was the efficiency and convenience of working with documents in WPS Writer. Whether drafting reports, composing emails, or creating presentations, WPS Writer provided all the necessary tools at my fingertips. I appreciated the ease with which I could format text, insert images, and customize document layouts to suit my needs.

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Q1. Why is my mouse not selecting?

If your mouse is failing to select items, it's important to examine two potential issues: the left-click button and the battery. Either of these components could be the cause of the mouse's inability to select. Additionally, consider running the Windows Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter to ensure there are no configuration issues impacting the functionality of the mouse.

Q2. How to remove the highlight in WPS Writer?

If you've highlighted something in WPS Writer and want to undo it, you have two simple options:

  • Undo: If you have highlighted something by mistake, you can press "Undo" to eliminate it. However, please be aware that the "Undo" option will only function if highlighting was your most recent action.

  • Clear Formatting: If you want to remove the highlight more selectively, you can use the "Clear Formatting" function. It allows you to specifically delete the highlight formats without affecting other changes you may have made.

Q3. What are the differences between WPS Writer and Microsoft Word?

The primary distinctions lie in cost and accessibility. WPS Writer is a cost-free solution, contrasting with Microsoft Word's subscription or purchase requirements. WPS Writer facilitates efficient cloud integration with platforms such as Google Drive, enabling straightforward document storage, synchronization, and collaborative efforts. Notably, WPS Writer exhibits compatibility with a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, surpassing Microsoft Word by extending support to Linux.

Q4. Will updating Microsoft Word fix the problem with text highlighting?

Yes, it might help. Make sure you have the newest version of Microsoft Word because updates usually come with fixes and improvements. It could resolve the problem with highlighting.

Ease Your Concerns With WPS Office

Word provides you with plenty of tools to annotate and work with documents, and WPS Office offers a similar array of features. While both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, the difference often lies in the quality and ease of use they deliver, which means you will no longer have the issue of how to remove highlight in Word using WPS Office. However, instead of viewing them as competing entities, consider leveraging the strengths of both. WPS Office seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Word, allowing you to harness the benefits of both platforms. Experience the compatibility and advantages firsthand by downloading WPS Office today.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.