In Preview on OS X 10.9 Mavericks, is it possible to change the color to something other than yellow, green, blue, pink, purple? I know it is possible to highlight in other colors because I did it while using Preview for the first time after upgrading to Mavericks, but now that I've changed I can't seem to change back.

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6 Answers 6


I'm afraid this is not possbile anymore as Apple removed the workaround via the Fonts-Menu.

Discussed in the Apple Support Forum here :
(same problem with underline colors)
and on MacRumors here : http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1658053
where they discussed what has changed since ML.


There is another workaround, which is actually a bug I think, but mah...

  1. Suppose you want to underline in blue. Highlight something in blue.
  2. Right-click on what you just highlighted, and make it underlined instead.
  3. Select the underline tool.
  4. Do cmd-z twice. This will remove the underline you just did.
  5. Underline what you want: it will be underlined in blue! :)

Steps 2 and 3 are actually interchangeable.

Edit: I have actually better:

  1. Write any text with color 1.
  2. Change its color to color 2.
  3. Select the highlight or underline tool.
  4. Do cmd-z. This should change the text color back to color 1. (If it is not the case, make sure the text you have written is not selected.)
  5. You now have the underline/highlight tool selected with the color box accessible. Select your color (even if already selected), then highlight/underline.

This was my Preview bug finding day :) Enjoy!

  • I have the colour box available, but cannot reproduce being able to highlight with the selected colour at that point. Are you on 10.10.3?
    – Joost
    Apr 22, 2015 at 6:59
  1. Select the underline option
  2. Underline text by selecting
  3. Right click on underlined text and change it to a highlight color
  4. Underline text again by selecting
  5. Right click again on underlined text and choose a different color

The new highlighted color will be a mix of the two different colors.
Sort of like mixing food coloring; for example try mixing two yellows with a pink.


  • That's actually hilarious that this works You can repeat this as many times as you want until you've achieved to make your highlight the ugliest brown possible. I wish there was a way to make the colors brighter ... :(
    – jan
    Apr 14, 2019 at 9:52

Unfortunately, that workaround no longer works in Yosemite. Instead, you can use this small utility to modify the color externally. http://qiita.com/cielavenir/items/eb9c24085c202d72c0ab (confirmed to be working also on Mavericks)


I'm using El Capitan. In Preview choose View-->Customize Toolbar... Select the highlight tool and add it to your tool bar. Now you can hit the dropdown arrow and choose a color for highlighting.

  • 2
    The question is about "to change the color to something other than yellow, green, blue, pink, purple". Your answer is to change the color in these predefined colors. Jul 6, 2016 at 16:32
  • You are right! I don't know what I was thinking. Thanks for pointing it out! Jan 21, 2020 at 15:15

To change the highlight color simply right click a highlighted selection then choose another color

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