How to Highlight Text in HTML: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

By Cristian G. Guasch •  Updated: 09/18/23 •  9 min read

When it comes to web design, HTML is the backbone that holds everything together. The language is simple enough for anyone to pick up, yet versatile enough to create stunning and highly interactive websites. One of the most common tasks you’ll encounter when working with HTML is highlighting text. It’s a powerful way to draw attention to specific content on your page and can significantly improve user engagement.

Highlighting text in HTML isn’t as straightforward as it might seem at first glance, but I’ll guide you through the process step by step. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran looking for a quick refresher or a beginner just dipping their toes into the world of web development, this article will provide you with all the knowledge needed.

In essence, highlighting text requires altering two key elements: color and background color. While there are several methods of accomplishing this task, we’ll focus on using inline CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) within our HTML tags for its simplicity and directness. Let’s dive right into it!

Understanding HTML Text Highlighting

Let’s dive right into the world of text highlighting in HTML. It’s almost like shining a flashlight on specific parts of your webpage, drawing attention and focus where you want it most.

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the standard language for creating webpages. For the uninitiated, it might seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry! I’m here to guide you through some basics.

Now let’s talk about highlighting text. There are several ways to do this in HTML but one commonly used method is with the <mark> tag. This mighty little tag wraps around any piece of text and gives it a highlight – just like when you use a marker pen on paper!

Here’s how simple it can be:

<p>This is some <mark>highlighted</mark> text.</p>

In the code snippet above, ‘highlighted’ will appear as marked or highlighted on your webpage.

But hey, what if yellow isn’t your color? Well, CSS comes to our rescue here! You can easily change the background color using CSS properties like so:

<p>This is some <mark style="background-color: pink;">highlighted</mark> text.</p>

Just by adding that little bit of inline CSS styling within our <mark> tag we’ve changed its color from default yellow to pink!

One thing I must mention though – while <mark> works great for short highlights within a line or paragraph, if you’re looking to highlight larger sections of content or an entire paragraph then using CSS only might be more efficient.

For instance,

<p style="background-color: lightblue;">This whole paragraph will be highlighted!</p>

Voila! Your entire paragraph now stands out with a light blue background.

Remember though, effective highlighting should enhance readability and draw attention without causing distraction. So don’t go overboard!

It’s worth noting that HTML text highlighting isn’t just about aesthetics. It can also improve accessibility for users with visual impairments by creating a high contrast between text and its background. So, wield your highlighter wisely!

Whether you’re sprucing up a blog post or designing an interactive website, mastering the art of HTML text highlighting can add that extra oomph to your content. Ready to give it a shot? I bet you are!

The Role of the ‘Mark’ Tag in HTML

Dive headfirst into the world of HTML, and you’ll quickly encounter a variety of tags, each with a unique role. One such tag is the ‘mark’ tag. It’s not as widely recognized but can prove quite handy when it comes to highlighting text in your website or application.

The ‘mark’ tag is part of HTML5 and is primarily used to mark or highlight a section of text for reference purposes. When utilized in an HTML document, the browser typically renders marked text as highlighted with a yellow background – similar to how you’d manually highlight text with a marker pen. Here’s an example:

<p>This is some <mark>highlighted</mark> text.</p>

This simple line will render “highlighted” as being marked or highlighted on your webpage. But that’s not all there is to this versatile little tag.

While its default function serves well enough, remember that we’re dealing with code here – meaning customization reigns supreme! With the aid of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), you can change how the ‘mark’ tag displays on your page entirely. Want red highlights instead of yellow? Or maybe blue underlines rather than full-on highlighting? No problem!

    mark {
        background-color: red;
        color: white;

<p>This is some <mark>customized highlighted</mark> text.</p>

In this variation, our previously yellow-highlighted word now appears against a red background with white letters.

The beauty behind using the ‘mark’ tag lies mainly in its semantic nature – it helps convey extra information about the content without affecting its structure or display unless specified otherwise by CSS rules.

One thing I should note though: while most modern browsers support it, be aware that older ones may not recognize this HTML5 tag. So, if you’re aiming for broad compatibility, a little extra research and testing might be necessary.

Overall, the ‘mark’ tag is a powerful tool in your HTML arsenal when used correctly. Whether it’s for emphasizing crucial points or simply making your text more interactive and engaging – understanding how to use it effectively can make all the difference.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Highlight Text in HTML

Let’s dive into the world of HTML, a critical part of web design. You’ve probably found yourself wondering how to highlight text in HTML at one point or another. So, here’s your step-by-step guide.

First off, it’s key to understand what highlighting in HTML means. Essentially, it refers to changing the background color behind a specific chunk of text. This can make certain parts stand out from the rest and draw attention where you want it.

In order to achieve this effect, we use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) along with our HTML code. These two languages work together like peanut butter and jelly! Here’s an example:

<p style="background-color: yellow;">This is some highlighted text.</p>

In this example, <p> is an HTML tag that stands for “paragraph”. The style attribute allows us to add CSS properties directly inside our HTML tags. And background-color: yellow; is a CSS property that changes the background color.

But wait – there’s more! Let’s say you only need to highlight a portion of your paragraph? No problem! Just use the <mark> tag:

<p>This is some <mark>highlighted</mark> text.</p>

See how flexible it can be? You’re not limited to just paragraphs either – these techniques can be used almost anywhere in your website!

While we’re on the topic of flexibility, you might be wondering about colors. Yellow isn’t everyone’s cup of tea after all! Good news – CSS supports a wide range of colors so feel free to experiment!

Remember though – as with any great power comes great responsibility. It’s tempting but don’t overuse highlights – they’re most effective when used sparingly and strategically.

Now go forth my fellow coder, armed with new knowledge and ready to make your mark on the world wide web!

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Text Highlighting in HTML

Let’s dive right into some of the common problems you might encounter when trying to highlight text in HTML. Don’t fret, I’ve got your back! We’ll go through each issue one by one, and I’ll provide solutions to get you back on track.

Firstly, a common mistake is forgetting to close the <mark> tag. Remember, every opening HTML tag needs its corresponding closing tag. Forgetting this can cause unexpected behavior or even break your webpage layout! Here’s how it should look:

<p>This is an example of <mark>highlighted text</mark> in HTML.</p>

Sometimes, you might find that the default yellow background color for the <mark> tag isn’t quite what you’re looking for. If that’s the case, don’t worry – CSS has got you covered! You can easily change the highlighting color like so:

.mark-custom {
  background-color: pink;

<p>This is an example of <mark class="mark-custom">custom colored highlighted text</mark> in HTML.</p>

Next up, let’s talk about nested tags. You might wonder what happens if there are other tags within your marked text? Well, it works just fine as long as those inner tags are correctly nested within the <mark> tag:

<p><mark>This is an example of <strong>bold and highlighted</strong> text</mark> in HTML.</p>

Finally, be aware that using class or id with specific styling could potentially override your <mark> tag styles due to CSS specificity rules. If you’re having trouble getting your highlights to show up as expected, check whether there’re any conflicting styles.

Remember folks; coding always comes with its share of hiccups. But don’t let these challenges deter you. Instead, use them as stepping stones on your path to becoming a coding maestro!

Cristian G. Guasch

Hey! I'm Cristian Gonzalez, I created HTML Easy to help you learn HTML easily and fast.

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