How to remove highlighted text in Word

When you copy text from a website and paste it into your research paper, the text’s background can have a gray color or highlight. You can quickly remove highlights from the pasted text in Microsoft Word. Fortunately, it is also easy to remove background shading in Word in a few steps. If you also want to get rid of this gray background from copied text, then keep reading. Luckily for you, this article explains how to remove highlighted text in Word.

Difference between highlight and shading

Highlighting and shading are not the same, but they color a text background in Word to make it more visible. The differences between them are listed underneath.

Highlight:

  • Highlighting can only be applied to a text.
  • A highlight is not a part of a style.
  • A small number of color options, only 15 colors.
  • Find highlighted words by using the Find and Replace function.

Shading:

  • Shading is applied to text, paragraphs, and tables.
  • A shading is part of a style.
  • Many color options, more than 60 colors.
  • The Find and Replace function does not work on the shaded text.

remove shading in word

How to remove highlighted text in Word

If a part of your text is highlighted, you can easily remove this in Word. It can easily be fixed by following the steps below.

  1. Select the highlighted text in your paper.
  2. Then go to the Home tab.
  3. Click on the arrow next to the Text Highlight Color icon.
  4. In the highlight gallery, click on No Color.

how to remove highlight text in Word

If you select the entire text in your document, then the No Color in the highlight gallery appears gray.

The highlight gallery looks different if you select the entire text in your document because the No Color is already selected in Word. You still have to use the No Color option again to remove Text Highlight Color from selected text.

Highlight gallery No color appears gray

Remove highlighted text by using a shortcut

You can remove highlighted text in Word by using this shortcut.

  • Select the highlighted text or the entire document by pressing CTRL + Alt on your keyboard.
  • Now press CTRL + Alt + H on your keyboard to remove the highlighted text in Word.

This shortcut is the easiest way to remove all highlighted text in Word.

Remove highlighted text by using the Find and Replace function

You can also use the Find and Replace function in Word to remove all highlighted text. This can be done by following the steps below:

  1. Click on the Home tab in your Word document.
  2. Click on Replace in the ribbon.
  3. Now a new box called Find and Replace opens in your document. Make sure you are in the Replace tab on the top.
  4. Now click on More to open the box further.

If you look at the picture below, you can see that you have to put your mouse cursor on the Find what line after finishing these four steps.

Replace function to remove highlight

There are a few more steps to follow to complete this method.

  • First, you have to click on Format in the left down corner of the box to open more options.
  • Now, select Highlight.
  • Under the line, Find what, you will see Format: Highlight.

Format highlight
  • Now place the mouse cursor at the line next to Replace with.
  • Click on Format and select Highlight.
  • It writes Highlight under the line, as you can see on the left picture below.
  • If you click on Format and select Highlight again, it will write Not Highlight, as you can see on the right picture.

To write Not Highlight under the line, you have to repeat the same step twice.

Lastly, click on Replace All.

Replace all

How to remove background shading in Word document

It is easy to remove the background shading of a text in a Word document. To clear the background shading, you should follow the steps below.

  1. Select the shaded text, paragraph, or table cell.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Select the arrow next to the Shading icon.
  4. Click on the No color in the shading fill box.

how to remove background shading in Word

If you select the entire text in your document, then the No Color looks gray in the shading fill box.

Even though the preview appears gray in the No Color option in the shading fill box, it will be white on your Word document once you select it. You must choose No Color again, even if it already appears in the selected dropdown box.

Shade no color is gray

Remove gray background from a pasted text in Word

Some have a problem when copying over citations or text from a website into Word. We have pasted the same text in a Word document to see the difference between a gray highlight or gray shading background text.

In the below example, you can see that Text 1 has a gray shading. Text 2 has a gray background, which is a gray highlight. The same text is written, and it contains a hyperlink, line and paragraph spacing, bullet point, bold and italic font styles. Now we are going to show you how to remove the gray background and format the text.

how to remove highlight text in Word

Format background shading by using a different style in Word

If you want to format background shading, you can change the style in Word.

  • First, you have to select the entire text in your document by pressing CTRL + Alt on your keyboard.
  • Then go to Styles group under the Home tab.
  • Select Normal style to remove the gray shading, bullet points, bold font, and change the font size and line spacing to normal text.
  • You can also select No Spacing, which will remove the shading, bullet point, bold font, and all spacing.

Remember that this will not remove highlight text in Word.

Select Normal style to remove gray shading

Format gray background by using a shortcut

If you want to format background shading in Word, you can also use a shortcut.

  • Select the gray text or press CTRL + Alt to select the entire document.
  • Then press CTRL + Q to remove line spacing, numbering, and shading.

As you can see, this will also not remove highlights from the pasted text in Microsoft Word. Text 2 still has a gray background because you have to remove highlights by selecting the text and choose No Color under Text Highlight Color. Or use the shortcut CTRL + Alt + H to remove all highlighted text in Word.

how to remove highlights from pasted text in microsoft word

If you want to remove hyperlinks or font styles, then you should use another shortcut.

  • Select the gray text or press CTRL + Alt to select the entire document.
  • Then press CTRL + Space Bar to format the text.

As you can see, this shortcut removes hyperlinks, bold and italic styles. It also formats the text to normal font size text, but it will not remove any gray background text.

After using CTRL + spacebar

Read more: How to delete a row from a table in Word »

Conclusion

It is important to understand the difference between a shaded or highlighted text in a Word document. There are different ways to remove highlight text or shading in Word. You can use a shortcut to remove the shaded gray background from copied text. You can also resolve this problem by changing the style in your Word document. It is possible to remove highlight text in Word in three methods. You can select No Color under the Text Highlight Color icon, use the Find and Replace function, or use a shortcut.

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