How does one highlight the selected text in Pages 5.0? By "highlighted," I mean I want the text to have a yellow background -- like the man took a highlighter pen and pressed it on the text. The only solution I've found takes five steps:

  1. Click 'Format' in toolbar.
  2. Click 'Style'.
  3. Click the Gear.
  4. Click the 'Character Fill Color' Button.
  5. Click the yellow crayon from the Colors popup.

Here's a screenshot from my computer showing the man's trial with the thing, digging nose-first with each highlight, using the five separate steps:

enter image description here

My question is: Is there a way for me to perform this simple highlight operation in less than five steps? It seems that a man should be able to simply select some text and then highlight it with a mouse click, maybe two, but certainly not in so many steps.

9 Answers 9


The most expedient method I have discovered is as follows: Ensure the "Text" formatting side-menu is open, and follow the steps associated with Chad Decker's screen-shot (see top of this web-page)

  1. Close the "Advanced Options" menu
  2. Click the "Character Styles" tab
  3. Click the "+" tab to "create a character style based on selected text"
  4. Name the new character style (e.g., "Highlight")

When you want to highlight text, select the text, click the "Characters Styles" tab, then select "Highlight" from the drop-down menu.

Sadly, this "fix" is not preserved upon quitting the Pages application.

  • I appreciate the follow-up but honestly, I gave up on Pages a couple of years back -- due in no small part to ridiculous issues like the one described in this post. Switched to Google Docs and am very pleased with it. Apr 20, 2016 at 0:33

⇧ Shift-⌘ Cmd-H is the new shortcut (or Insert > Highlight from the menu).

  • I ended up switching to Google Docs and life is now much easier -- at least as far as word processing goes. Pages kind of jumped the shark, as the kids like to say. Thanks, anyway. Oct 10, 2014 at 13:44
  • 2
    @ChadDecker would you consider accepting this answer? You might not use Pages any more, but this is clearly the most useful answer for others who share your original question.
    – N. Virgo
    Jul 20, 2016 at 2:10

You can supposedly save your formatting style in Pages 5 so that it can be re-used - that makes it accessible in future with only a few actions (select text, open format panel if not open, and then select the style from the menu). Unfortunately this doesn't appear to stick around - after creating a new document - I found it had dropped the style. So one option here would be to create yourself a pages document that is a palette of the styles you use frequently, then you can use it to copy the style from as you need it as copy-style/paste-style works across documents. Not ideal but might save you a bit of time.

Copy the style (Format > Copy Style or shift-command-C)

Paste style (Format > Past Style or shift-command-V)


In Pages 5, you could define highlighted text as a "character style".

  1. Select some text in your document
  2. Click on the "a" with the red cross behind in in your font toolbar and choose the color you'd like to use as highlighted text for your document
  3. Go to View -> Show Styles Drawer
  4. Select the highlighted text once again
  5. Under "character style" to the right of "none" there should be an arrow. Click that and select "create new character style from selection".
  • just want to confirm... you're using Pages 5.0.1, correct? Jan 9, 2014 at 22:21
  • because the man can't find a "styles drawer" or the "a with red cross" Jan 9, 2014 at 22:35
  • 1
    Sorry, I don't use Pages 5 - I assumed they hadn't changed it, but a little Googling indicates that Apple removed character styles in Pages 5. This won't work for you, sorry. Jan 9, 2014 at 22:58
  • 1
    This is one of the huge damage Apple did with the Pages 5 version which, to tell the truth, is a fatal downgrade.
    – dan
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:11
  • @Hawk Weisman: I won't downvote your answer if you indicate which version this is working with, and if you post a request for return of function on apple.com/feedback/pages.html :).
    – dan
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:14

I have found the simplist way to avoid the 5 step solution is to set up a style as described above, include all the other formatting you want to be "standard" (font, borders, heading, etc.) and then save that as a template. You can re-arrange the order of styles so all you have to do is highlight your text and choose the style you want to apply from the drop down menu. Because the document is opened from a template, the highighting style you created is always available. I prefer using the background color change rather than the comments method of highlighting because comments don't print and aren't shown if you save your document as a pdf.


I found one simple solution. Disadvantages of solutions, which listed here. 1. New 'Character styles' affected to the whole paragraph. 2. Shift + Cmd + H highlighted text is printing like an ordinary 3. Format - Style - blah-blah Too slow

So, here is what I found (Pages 6.3.1). Right click on tools panel -> Change tools panel -> Add 'Copy style' and 'Insert style' (Look for icons in image).

Now you firstly need to highlight text like 3 (format- style-...), then select formatted text, 'copy style'. Select text you want to highlight, 'insert style'. Enjoy! enter image description here


you can also go to format and under layout there should be something that says background and you can change the background to any color and it will only change that specific line


All of this is outdated in the latest version of pages all you have to do is select the text which you want and hold shiftcommand and h, or alternatively go to the edit bar at the top of the page and click highlight.

  • This answer was given two years prior to your answer?
    – grg
    May 26, 2017 at 10:59

Select your text. Then use keyboard shortcut SHIFT COMMANDH and your text is highlighted in yellow. To undo the highlighting repeat the keyboard command and when a small window opens click delete

  • This answer was already given in the previous year?
    – grg
    May 26, 2017 at 10:58

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