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How to highlight text using javascript

Can someone help me with a javascript function that can highlight text on a web page. And the requirement is to – highlight only once, not like highlight all occurrences of the text as we do in case of search.



You can use the jquery highlight effect.

But if you are interested in raw javascript code, take a look at what I got Simply copy paste into an HTML, open the file and click “highlight” – this should highlight the word “fox”. Performance wise I think this would do for small text and a single repetition (like you specified)

function highlight(text) {
  var inputText = document.getElementById("inputText");
  var innerHTML = inputText.innerHTML;
  var index = innerHTML.indexOf(text);
  if (index >= 0) { 
   innerHTML = innerHTML.substring(0,index) + "<span class='highlight'>" + innerHTML.substring(index,index+text.length) + "</span>" + innerHTML.substring(index + text.length);
   inputText.innerHTML = innerHTML;
.highlight {
  background-color: yellow;
<button onclick="highlight('fox')">Highlight</button>

<div id="inputText">
  The fox went over the fence


Using replace

I see this answer gained some popularity, I thought I might add on it. You can also easily use replace

"the fox jumped over the fence".replace(/fox/,"<span>fox</span>");

Or for multiple occurrences (not relevant for the question, but was asked in comments) you simply add global on the replace regular expression.

"the fox jumped over the other fox".replace(/fox/g,"<span>fox</span>");

Replacing the HTML to the entire web-page

to replace the HTML for an entire web-page, you should refer to innerHTML of the document’s body.


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