3 Ways to Improve Your Highlights

Posted by on 10/10/2017 in:

Highlighters, crayons, markers, and pens are staples for personal Bible study. When you find a passage you want to memorize or remember for later, you mark it up in some kind way that makes it stand out from the rest of the text. When it comes to digital Bibles we often neglect using highlights as a part of our study methods. Sure, we may highlight a favorite verse or passage, but most don’t go any further than that. Today, I want to open up a world of highlighting possibilities for you in the Olive Tree Bible App that will hopefully improve your Bible study.


Before we dive into the ways you can use highlights, first let me give you a refresher on the two ways to make a highlight in the app.


The most popular way to make a highlight in our app is to highlight an entire verse, or a group of verses. To do this, you tap the verse number and select “Highlight.” If you want to highlight a range of verses you can increase the range to your desired selection, then choose your color. This method is useful if you want to have your highlights appear across various Bible translations. Since these are tagged on a verse level, they will appear in all your Bibles.



You also have the option to make word based highlights that are resource specific. To do this, simply select your desired text, and then follow the same steps to highlight as above.



One advantage of using Olive Tree is that you are not limited to default highlighter styles or colors that come with the app. You have the ability to create your own highlighter colors & styles to suit your needs. This is the first step in making highlights more useful in your study.

There are a couple different ways you can get to the new highlighter menu. First, you can go to the Main Menu, select Highlights, tap Edit, then choose “Add Highlighter.”  Alternatively, you can reach this menu by selecting a verse or text to highlight, tap Highlight, select the “More” icon, then choose “Add Highlighter.”


Once you’ve reached this screen you are presented with a few different options. First, you can give your highlighter a name in the Label field. You can either name it the color you’re going to create, or you can get creative and give the highlight a specific meaning. For example, you can have all references to the Holy Spirit or Jesus use this highlighter, and then name it as such. The choice is yours. From there you can select whether you want it to be a traditional highlight or underline. Then you have the ability to customize how that highlight or underline will appear by selecting intensity, thickness (for underline), and the color.



Once you’ve made all the highlighters you need, you’re ready to start using them in your study. And, remember, it’s just as easy to make new highlighters as you need them; just follow these steps.


Another way to highlight and emphasize key passages is to use the notes functionality within the app. This works just like highlighting, except you choose “Note” instead of “Highlight” when selecting a verse or text. One of the cool things about notes  is that you can select a cool icon to go represent what the note is about. This is cool for when I’m taking notes on sermons, but it’s also useful for calling out a part of the text. If something is extra important you might want to add a “star” or if it’s puzzling you can select the “question mark” icon. Even if you don’t put anything in the note, these icons will appear in your Bible and can serve to as an additional layer of highlighting and meaning.



While the purpose of this post is to show you the possibilities for highlighting instead of a specific method, there are some Bible study methods that are centered around highlighting. One of the more popular methods is the Precepts Inductive Bible Study method popularized by Kay Arthur. While the Precepts method involves some fairly complicated highlighting models, with the infinite highlighting possibilities that you can create in the app you can certainly adapt it for your needs. Click here to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study method from Precepts Ministries International.

Experiment with highlights & notes icons to create a Bible study method that works for you. Also be sure to check out the Bible study titles we currently have on sale.


  • Steve says:

    The ability to adjust the size of the notes icon especially on a device such as a tablet would be great.

  • Donald Keiffer says:

    Yes I agree with Steve. It would be great to be able to adjust the size of the note icons.

  • Donald Keiffer says:

    It would be very helpful if we could use the preset colors in the App Settings/Color settings and add a category for Highlighters so we can use those colors which I like more but cannot seem to get from the other color chart.

  • Donald Keiffer says:

    By the way, this was a great presentation.
    Thank you

    • Cierra Klatt says:

      Thanks, Donald! We’ll think on the note icon request. About the colors – if you look at the 5th screenshot in this blog, you’ll see that we have a large color spectrum that you can choose from for highlighters! You just have to pick the hue (left to right), intensity (top to bottom), and then you can make them darker with the slider adjustment at the bottom of the menu! If you play around with it a little bit, I’m sure you could get a color similar to the one you are wanting because the possibilities are endless. Let me know if you have other questions!

      • Donald Keiffer says:

        I have tried this for over a year an have not had good successand feel if we could use the preset colors in the App Settings/Color settings and add a category for Highlighters so we can use those colors which I like more but cannot seem to get from the other color chart.

  • Thanks for the write-up! This says more about me than the app itself, but I’m still trying to get used to the notion of having a highlight be book-specific if I choose not to highlight (or underline) an entire verse. For example, if I wanted to use a yellow highlighter to emphasize important words that have special meaning in the original language. Unfortunately, that highlight would only show up in the book I originally selected. Having this feature modified/changed would be a game-changer for me in personal reading, study, and preparation.

  • Richard says:

    I especially enjoy the transparency level … be the “underline” highlight style.

  • Drew says:

    I’m new to Olive Tree. 2 weeks in, on an iPad and Windows laptop. I was reading an eBook yesterday and highlighting away when I thought I’d like to see all my highlights in the resource window (the pane to the right or bottom of main content). But the only way to access my highlights I found on the iPad is via a popup.

    On my Windows laptop it’s a little different. I can see my Annotations (highlights) on the right pane. However, the listing is very rudimentary.

    1. Can I see my highlights in the resource pane (right/bottom) on my iPad?

    2. Can I see just the highlights of the resource being read?

    3. Do I have any control over the display of my highlights in the Annotations list? They currently show in a compact kind of style. I’d love to have a fuller display, like how a Commentary will have abbreviated listings reading a bible version but if you click on one then you can see the entirety of all the notes.

    4. Can I export or copy all my highlights? I’d love the ability to paste into Word and work them into an outline or paper.

    If any of these can’t be done, are they reasonable suggestions for a future version?

    Thank you. Clearly a noobie here, sorry. But I am very excited to learn fast and get good! 🙂

    • Cierra Klatt says:

      Hey, Drew! Sorry for the late response. Would you mind copy/pasting these questions into an email and sending it to support@olivetree.com? They will be able to give you a lot more information than I can here. Thanks!

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