Writer's Highlighter Home Page

Help, Support and Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start Writer's Highlighter?

Within Google Docs™, install the Add-on from your Add-ons menu. Once it is installed, go to Add-ons -> Writer's Highlighter -> Start

For help, go to Add-ons menu -> Writer's Highlighter -> Help

In the Add-on, you can hover over the question mark icons  ?  with your mouse. These are located next to each item and the help tooltips will tell you what each item does

You can visit the Add-on's page in the Google Chrome Store for more information.

click for larger image

Spreadsheet settings

The spreadsheet settings define where your list of words or phrases is located.

Spreadsheet Link

This is the entire link (address/URL) of your spreadsheet, such as: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/abcdefghijklmnop12345678910/edit#gid=0

To the right is a small gray refresh button if you make changes to the spreadsheet, or just in case it doesn't autoload.

Sheet name

Which tab of the spreadsheet is the word list in? The tabs are at the bottom of the spreadsheet and can be renamed. This list will automatically fill itself out, then you pick the sheet.

Sheet column

Which column of the spreadsheet is the word list in? The columns are at the top of the spreadsheet and start out with A, B, C etc. Column A is the first column. This list will automatically fill itself out, then you pick the column letter.

Row 1 is a header row

Check this box to ignore the first row in your spreadsheet. This is useful if you use the first row to name your columns. For example, for a list of Cliches, column A might read "Cliches" in the first cell, then continues with a list of cliches below.

Highlight settings

The highlight settings define how your highlight will look.

Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough

Checking these boxes will apply these standard formats to your highlight. Keep an eye on the preview text below the color pickers for an example of what it will look like.

Highlight color

Checking the box will apply a colored background to your text. You can enter a hexidecimal color code manually, or use the color picker below to choose a color.

Text color

Checking the box will change the color of your text itself. You can enter a hexidecimal color code manually, or use the color picker below to choose a color.

This is how your highlight will look.

This preview text shows you how each option of the highlight settings above will affect your text. Neat!

Other settings

The other options define how the add-on will search for words and phrases.

Ignore case

Check this box to highlight any match, regardless of UPPER- or lower-case letters. If the box is not checked, it will only find exact matches.

If the box is checked, searching for "Baseball" will highlight Baseball and baseball and baseBALL.

If the box is not checked, it will only highlight Baseball as it perfectly matches the upper/lower case format.

Whole words only

Check this box to match entire words only and not search within words.

If the box is checked, searching for Base will only highlight Base and not the first four letters of Baseball.

If the box is not checked, it will highlight both Base and the first four letters of Baseball.

Use wildcard

Check this box if you want to use a symbol in your spreadsheet list as a placeholder for letters or words. Select the symbol you use for a wildcard (*, $, #, @, and ~ are supported).

If the box is checked, searching for Feather in * cap will highlight Feather in his cap and Feather in her cap and Feather in your cap and anything else matching that pattern.

If the box is not checked, searching for Feather in * cap will search for literally that phrase, with the star in it.

One wildcard symbol = one word, so searching for Feather * * cap will highlight Feather in his cap and Feather from her cap and Feather under your cap and so on.

Wildcards at the end of words search for the same length or longer words
-- Searching for Feather* will highlight Feather and Feathered and Feathering and so on.
-- Searching for *eather will highlight Feather and Heather and Rebreather and so on.
-- Searching for *eather* will highlight all of the above six examples, and so on.

Wildcards in the middle of words replace one or more letters
-- Searching for F*ther will highlight Feather and Father and Further and so on.

Run continuously

Check this box if you want the highlighter to continue running indefinitely, until you uncheck the box. This allows for real-time text highlighting as you type!

IMPORTANT: continuous highlighting will clear all other highlight formatting (bold, italic, underline, strike, and text colors) from the document, except for the current highlight settings. This is unavoidable in order to have accurate real-time text highlighting.

IMPORTANT: with long word lists and/or long documents, the highlighter may run slowly, or even slow down your browser. Use it responsibly!

Save settings

Check this box to save all of the above settings for the next time you open this Add-on. If you select "Run continuously" you can't save settings at the same time.

The buttons

Highlight!

The "Highlight!" button will search this document and highlight any words or phrases that match the list in your spreadsheet.

Clear all

The "Clear all" button will remove all highlight formatting (bold, italic, underline, strike, and text colors) from the document. It will ask for confirmation, so don't worry about hitting it by accident.

Highlight selection

The "Highlight selection" button will highlight only the text you have selected with the mouse. That's it!

Clear selection

The "Clear selection" button will remove all highlight formatting (bold, italic, underline, strike, and text colors) from only the text you have selected with the mouse. That's it!

View Stats

The "View stats" button will pop up a window where you can view statistics about your document, including: word count, paragraph count, syllable count, character count, various readability statistics, a full list of words and their frequency, and a full list of sentences and their frequency.

Note the "Select table" buttons, which select the data so you can copy it into a Google Spreadsheet™ or into a Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheet. To copy the data, click the "Select table" button, then press "Ctrl+C" ("Command+C" on a mac). Then go to your spreadsheet and use "Ctrl+V" ("Command+V" on a mac) to paste the data into your spreadsheet.

Here are previews of the stats pages:

Highlight Sentences

This button will highlight all the sentences in your document by length, similar to the stats view above. Clicking the button again will remove the sentence highlighting, stripping all background color from the sentences. If you don't want to have highlights in your document, use the "View stats" button instead.

Here is an example of the "Highlight sentences" button in action.

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