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What are Highlighters?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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Highlighters are a marvelous office and school supply product. Highlighters are felt tip marker pens filled with translucent ink that are useful for marking lines of text on pages for later reference or for emphasis. Unlike a regular marker, which would obscure the marked text, highlighters enable the text to still be visible beneath the marking. Highlighters come in a variety of vibrant colors, usually fluorescent, such as blue, pink, yellow, orange, and green.

Highlighters are useful for many school and work applications. Students are often required to have highlighters as part of their school supply arsenal because they are used to mark references or important information on papers used in research preparation for reports or studying for tests. Similarly, in the work place highlighters are useful for marking information on text, graphs, or charts that are reviewed in meetings or to mark text that will be needed as reference for a later project. Highlighters also prove useful when editing documents.

In contrast to dry highlighters or dry mark highlighters, which do not use ink and are useful for marking text on extremely thin sheets of paper, such as in Bibles, standard highlighters will bleed through thin sheets. However, on standard weight paper, marks made by highlighters dry fairly quickly.

Highlighting is such a useful tool that many computer programs now have features that mimic highlighters. Text can be manually highlighted in many word processing programs with the click of a button, serving all the same purposes as highlighting printed text.

Highlighters are sold at school and office supply retail establishments and some art suppliers. They are relatively inexpensive and sold singly and in multi-packs. The most commonly packaged colors are yellow, blue, and pink. This color trio is often sold packaged together to offer users three distinctly different colors in the event that highlighting tasks serve multiple purposes in a single document.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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