Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Highlighting Information Using Shading.

Highlighting Information Using Shading

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 6, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word provides a way you can shade the information in your document. This shading can be added in conjunction with any border you may specify for the paragraph. Word allows you to precisely control the degree of shading, as well. To add shading to a paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph that you want to shade.
  2. Select the Borders and Shading command from the Format menu. Word displays the Borders and Shading dialog box.
  3. Click on the Shading tab. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Shading tab of the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  5. Using the Style drop-down list, select a degree of shading you want to use for the paragraph.
  6. Click on OK.

You should understand that highlighting text using the shading settings is different than highlighting text using the highlighter tool. In many ways I think that using shading is simpler and more flexible. Why? Because you can apply the shading technique to styles and create a character style that incorporates shading. You can then apply the character style to anything you need shaded, and you can easily remove the style, search for the style, or replace the style with some other formatting. These things are harder to do with highlighting that is added through the use of the highlighting tool.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1529) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Highlighting Information Using Shading.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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