How to highlight multiple words in Google Docs

It’s easy to highlight continuous text in Google Docs. All you have to do is drag your cursor across the screen. Google Docs also offers multiple methods for selecting the entire document. 

For example, you can press Control (or Command) + A or choose the ‘Select all’ option from the Edit menu. You can read about the methods for selecting the entire text in Google Docs here.

However, there is one type of text selection that is not easy to do in Google Docs. This is the selection of non-continuous text. For example, sometimes you may want to select a word in paragraph 1 and another word in paragraph 5. 

In MS Word and some other word processing apps, you can do this by pressing the Control key and clicking on the text. This keyboard shortcut doesn’t work in Google Docs. 

So, how exactly do you select multiple non-continuous words in Google Docs? We will be answering this question in this article. The following is one method you can use to perform this task:

  • Selecting all matching text

Note that this article is intended for complete beginners. Hence, you can follow along even if you have very little to no experience with Google Docs. 

With that introduction, let’s get started.

Method 1: Selecting all matching text 

This method is one effective way of selecting non-continuous text in Google Docs. You first have to individually format the text you want to select in a certain way (e.g. make them bold). 

Then, choose the ‘Select all matching text’ option, which will select all the text with the same format. Once all the matching text has been selected, you can perform an operation on the selected text (e.g. copy them).

Below are the steps for this method.

Step 1: Open your Google Docs document. 

The first step is to open the Google Docs document in which you would like to make the selection. To do this, type in the search bar of your browser. This will open the Google Docs homepage. To open your document, click on a file under ‘Recent documents’. Make sure that you are first signed into your Google account. 

If you don’t already have a document you’d like to open, you can create a new one. One way of creating a new document is to create a blank document. To do this, simply click on the plus sign at the top of the screen. This will open a new tab with an empty document. Another way of creating a blank document is by typing in your browser’s search bar.

You can also choose from the numerous templates Google Docs offers. There are templates available for everything from invoices to resumes. To have a look at the available templates, click on the ‘Template Gallery’ button at the top right corner. Select any of the templates and start editing them to create your document. 

Step 2: Identify the text you would like to select. Then, format them.

Next, identify the text you would like to select. For example, you may want to select a word in the second paragraph and another word in the fifth paragraph. Once you have identified the text, format them. Highlight the text using your cursor and choose one of the formatting options. You can format this text any way you like: make it bold, italicize it, add a background colour and so on. Make sure that all the text you would like to select is formatted the same way. 

If you already know the text you would like to select, you can the Find option. Simply press Control (or Command) + F and type the text in the search box that appears.

Also make sure that the formatting of the text you want to select is unique from the formatting of other text. For example, if you already have bold text in your document, don’t use the bold formatting for the text you would like to select. Here’s an example:

Step 3: Select the ‘Select all matching text’ option. 

Next, right-click on any of the words you have just formatted. A drop down menu will open. From this drop down menu, click on the ‘Select all matching text’ option. Doing so will select all the text which has the same formatting.

Step 4: Perform any operation on your selected text. 

You can now perform any operation on your selected text. For example, to copy only the selected text, press Control (or Command, if you’re a Mac user) + C. 


This brings us to the end of our article! Here’s a brief recap of everything we covered. 

Google Docs doesn’t have a default option that allows you to select non-continuous text. This is why you have to use an alternative method. First, format your text in a certain way. Some examples include making your text bold, changing its background colour and underlining it. Then, choose the ‘Select all matching text’ option. 

Thank you for reading!

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