I have been looking for a very long time how to get Apple Mail to highlight text in yellow when composing new email messages. After searching forums and looking all over the web, I had practically resigned myself that it could not be done. When I was poking around in Apple Mail, though, I noticed that it had a feature to apply styles to a text selection, so I thought there must be a way to add new styles. Here is how I managed to add a new “Highlighted Yellow” style that you can use in your e-mail messages. It’s a little convoluted, but, hey, it works.
[5/3/2016] These instructions have been confirmed to work in OS X Mavericks (OS X 10.9) and OS X El Capitan (OS X 10.11).
[5/31/2012] These instructions do not apply to OS X Lion (OS X 10.7). There is a bug in OS X Lion that does not persist custom styles as documented at this blog article.
Creating the new Highlight Style
- Obtain some highlighted text in a method of your choosing. I composed an email in MS Outlook on Windows, highlighted some text and then sent that email to one of my accounts in Apple Mail. You can also simply copy this highlighted yellow text by dragging over it with your mouse and copying to your clipboard.
- I copied the text out of that email (or the highlighted text above in step 1) and then pasted it into a new document in TextEdit.
- I then highlighted the text with my cursor, right clicked and selected “Font | Styles…”
- In the pop-up, click ‘Add to Favorites’, and then give your style a name. I didn’t check either option to include the font or ruler.
- Click ‘Add’. Your new style for highlighting is now saved and can be used in Apple Mail by the following steps.
Using the style in Apple Mail
- When you are composing a message in Apple Mail, using your cursor simply highlight the text whose background you want to highlight. Then right click with the mouse and select “Font | Styles…”
- Ensure the “Favorite Styles” option is selected and then choose your new “Highlighted Yellow” (or whatever you named it) style from the drop down list.
- Click “Apply” and voila!