How to Highlight on Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Highlighting cells in Google Sheets is a nifty way to draw attention to important data. It’s a simple process that involves selecting the cells you want to highlight and then choosing a color. After doing this, you’ll have a visually organized spreadsheet that makes it easy to spot key information at a glance.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Highlight on Google Sheets

Highlighting cells can really make your data pop and help you quickly identify the most critical parts of your spreadsheet. Let’s get into how you can do it.

Step 1: Select the Cells You Want to Highlight

Click and drag your cursor over the cells you wish to highlight.

Selecting cells is the first step in highlighting. You can click on a single cell or click and drag to select multiple cells. If you need to select non-adjacent cells, hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on Mac) while clicking on the cells you want to include.

Step 2: Click on the Fill Color Button

Find the paint bucket icon in the toolbar and click on it.

The fill color button is the tool you’ll use to apply color to the selected cells. It looks like a paint bucket and is located on the toolbar at the top of your spreadsheet. Clicking on it will reveal a color palette from which you can choose your highlight color.

Step 3: Choose Your Highlight Color

Select a color from the palette that appears after clicking the fill color button.

The color palette has a wide range of colors to choose from. You can even add custom colors if the default options don’t suit your needs. Once you select a color, it will fill the selected cells with that color, effectively highlighting them.

After completing these steps, your selected cells will be highlighted in the color you chose, making them stand out against the rest of the data in your spreadsheet.

Tips for Highlighting on Google Sheets

  • Use contrasting colors for your highlight to ensure that it stands out.
  • If you’re using highlighting to categorize data, be consistent with your color choices.
  • Consider using conditional formatting to automatically highlight cells based on their values.
  • Remember that too much highlighting can make a spreadsheet look cluttered. Use it sparingly.
  • If you need to remove highlighting, just follow the steps above but select ‘None’ as the fill color.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use conditional formatting to highlight cells?

Yes, conditional formatting allows you to set rules for highlighting cells automatically based on their contents.

Conditional formatting is a powerful tool in Google Sheets that can save you time. Instead of manually highlighting cells, you can set rules to do it for you. For example, you could set a rule to highlight all cells with a value greater than 100 in red.

Can I highlight an entire row or column?

Absolutely, click on the row number or column letter to select the entire row or column, then follow the same steps for highlighting.

By selecting the entire row or column, you can apply the same highlight to every cell within it. This can be useful for identifying specific datasets or categorizing your information.

What if I need to highlight non-adjacent cells?

Hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on Mac) while clicking on each cell you want to highlight.

This allows you to select multiple cells that are not next to each other. Once all your desired cells are selected, you can highlight them all at once.

Can I add a custom color for highlighting?

Yes, in the color palette, there is an option to add a custom color using a color code.

If the default palette doesn’t have the color you want, you can enter a specific color code to get the exact shade you need for your highlight.

How do I remove highlighting from cells?

Select the cells with the highlight you want to remove, click the fill color button, and choose ‘None.’

Perhaps you made a mistake or no longer need certain cells highlighted. Removing the color is just as easy as applying it. Just make sure to select ‘None’ to clear the highlight.


  1. Select the cells to highlight.
  2. Click the fill color button.
  3. Choose a highlight color.


Highlighting on Google Sheets is an incredibly useful way to organize and emphasize data. Whether you’re using it to make certain numbers stand out, categorize information, or just add a bit of color to your work, the process is straightforward and versatile. Remember, the key is to make your data easy to read and understand, so use highlighting judiciously. Moreover, if you find yourself frequently highlighting data, explore the wonders of conditional formatting—it’ll automate the process and save you time! Happy highlighting, and may your Google Sheets always be easy on the eyes and informative at the same time.