How And When To Highlight Text In WordPress (4 Easy Methods)

Pulling focus on important content in your blog posts is tricky.

Bolding, italics, and underlining will only get you so far – but highlighting is a great way to add a little extra flair.

Keep reading for four straightforward methods to add highlighting to your blog posts, and how to know when you should use it.

1. Just Highlight Plugin

This is my preferred method of highlighting because it's so simple and easy to use.

First, download the Just Highlight plugin from the WordPress plugin store:

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If you navigate to Settings > Just Highlight, you'll have the option to change the highlighting color:

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These are the basic settings you'll need to have, but otherwise, the plugin should work right away.

To use Just Highlight, go into any post, select the text you want to highlight, then navigate to the extra options menu:

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Select Just Highlight, and you're all set!

There is one limitation of this plugin: it will only highlight selected text in the one color you specify in the plugin's menu.

If you need an option with more color options, keep reading on for the next method.

2. Highlight Text Plugin

The Highlight Text plugin is another great alternative and offers the option to use multiple highlight colors.

Install and activate it (here's the download link), and it should work out of the box.

To use Highlight Text, select the text you want to highlight in one of your posts, and you should see a new highlighting icon:

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The only limitation with this plugin (that would make it much easier to use) is the limited default colors.

The colors you see in the highlighting menu can't be changed, and the only way to use another color is by selecting the Custom color option.

But, if you like the defaults, this plugin is probably the right choice for you!

3. Default WordPress Method

WordPress already supports highlighting out of the box, but I find that the way it wraps words isn't as nice as the Just Highlight plugin.

Still, the default method offers the option for different colors, so it's a bit more flexible.

Select the text you want to highlight, then select the underlined A button (this will open the text options menu):

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Then, you'll see the option for Highlight, and from there you can choose the background color for the text you selected:

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And that's it!

4. Custom Code Option

If you want more granular control over your highlighting options, you can opt for custom code.

To wrap text with highlighting, select a block of text, and then select the option to Edit As HTML, shown below:

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Once you click, place the text you want to wrap between <mark> tags, like so:

//Default highlighting
<p> I am not highlighted but <mark>I am highlighted!</mark>. </p>

To alter the color of your highlighting, you can add the style attribute to specify the background color:

//Custom color highlighting
<p> I am not highlighted but <mark style="background-color: red">I am highlighted (in red)!</mark>. </p>

By default, though, highlighting with the <mark> tag will wrap text in yellow, like this!

When To Highlight On Your Blog

So, now that we know how to highlight on WordPress, let's chat for a second about when you should highlight.

Just like with most things in visual design, a little bit goes a long way.

It's counterintuitive to highlight every other line on your blog posts, because it won't actually direct your reader to what's important.

Here's my top tip: whatever sentence or phrase you highlight should be easily understandable by itself, without any context.

Let's take that previous line as a perfect example. You don't need to have read the sentence before it to understand exactly what I'm trying to say.

You can accomplish this by avoiding vague pronouns (it, they, et cetera) or other identifiers that won't make sense without any additional context.

Here's a type of sentence you wouldn't want to highlight:

And for that exact reason, I recommend that you do blah-blah-blah..

See how this is vague?

The top question on your reader's mind will be “what is the exact reason?” – and that friction will force them to scan the lines before and after to try to find what they're looking for.

Keep the sentences you highlight self-contained (i.e. fully understandable without additional info) and your readers will thank you.

The Bottom Line

Highlighting is a fantastic way to pull focus on the most relevant content in your posts.

It's what I use all over this blog to really emphasize important points, and I love the visual contrast it provides.

For most people out there, the Just Highlight or Text Highlight plugins will provide all the functionality they need.

If you need more granular control, you can also add highlighting using the HTML <mark> tag.

How do you use highlighting on your WordPress site? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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2 Comments

  1. Hey, nice post! I noticed an error in my WordPress dashboard after installing Just Highlight – is this normal?

    • Yep, this is totally fine! The plugin doesn’t handle any sensitive data, so you don’t have to worry about it! It just means that it hasn’t been tested with the latest versions of WordPress.

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