How to Emphasize a Single Word in Your Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation

Highlighting a paragraph in PowerPoint is fairly straightforward. But have you ever wanted to emphasize just one word or phrase? That’s where things can get a bit more complicated, as PowerPoint’s animation tools don’t give you that option.

However, there’s an easy workaround to single out key elements of paragraphs on your slides.

Why You Need to Use a Workaround

There are a few PowerPoint animations that allow you to emphasize a block of text, including underline (which underlines the block of text), font color (which changes the font color of a block of text), and bold reveal (which transforms a block of text from regular font to bold font).

If you have ever used the animations pane in PowerPoint, you may know that one of the frustrating things about using animations is that they can’t be added to a single word or sentence within a larger block of text.

For example, if you wrote “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” in a single text box but only wanted to emphasize the word “jumps” by using the bold reveal animation, you wouldn’t be able to. Instead, the animation would bold the entire sentence.

A sentence in PowerPoint. The text box is selected.

How to Emphasize a Single Word in Your PowerPoint Presentation

So, how do you get around this limitation? Follow the steps below to see how to emphasize a word or phrase in your text box.

1. Line Up the Text

First, make your slide as you would normally, adding all text and images. Then, select the text box that contains the keyword or phrase you want to emphasize and duplicate the text box.

A phrase in powerpoint with a highlighted word.

From here, there are two ways to go about emphasizing your text. For the first option, emphasize your keyword or phrase in the duplicated text box and then line it up exactly with the original text box.

So, using the previous example, you would have two text boxes with the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” but the second text box would have the word “jumps” highlighted.

A sentence in PowerPoint with a highligted word.

After lining up the text boxes, pick the text box with the emphasis (which should be on top) and add the appear animation. Once you’ve added the animation, go to the animation pane, click the down arrow next to the animation, and make sure Start on Click is selected.

When you’re presenting, the emphasized text will appear when you click.

2. Make Your Text Disappear

But what if you can’t quite line up the text? Not a problem.

Create two text boxes like before (where the second box has the emphasized text), but don’t line them up. Instead, select the first text box (without the emphasis) and add the disappear animation. Then add the appear animation to the second text box (with the emphasis).

A sentence in PowerPoint with a word highlighted.

After you add both animations, go to the animation pane.

For the disappear animation, which will have a red star next to it, click on the disappear animation, then the down arrow, and choose start on click. For the appear animation, which will have a green star next to it, click on the appear animation, then the down arrow, and choose start with previous.

Once the slide appears in your presentation, the non-emphasized text will appear. When you click, the emphasized text will appear simultaneously, and the non-emphasized text disappears, making it look like you’re just highlighting part of the first paragraph.

A sentence in powerpoint with a word highlighted.

In other words, there won’t be a clunky transition between the first text block disappearing and the second text box appearing. By adding these animations, you are on your way to preparing a professional presentation using PowerPoint.

Engage Your Audience

Now you can emphasize a single piece of information in a larger paragraph when giving a PowerPoint presentation. This will help you elevate your PowerPoint presentations and communicate your ideas more effectively. By emphasizing your text visually, you’ll be able to engage your audience with your points better.

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