Using Hit Highlighting to Search Within Documents

Hit highlighting allows you to quickly locate important words or phrases in the document you are currently viewing. Hit highlights are available in the Native viewer of review window for all document types, including spreadsheets. Hit highlights in spreadsheets will highlight the entire cell, not just the relevant term within the cell.

There are three types of hit highlights:

Search Hits: Terms or phrases, if any, from the content search(es) used to retrieve the document. This can help guide you to relevant sections of the document.   

  • Custom Hits: Highlights that can be added by you as you review documents. These are useful for finding contingently important information in the document you are viewing.
  • Persistent Hits: Highlights set up by project admins that will appear for all users in the project. These are useful for creating a standard set of important words or phrases across a project.

The hit highlighting panel displays all the different highlights found in the document, and can be found on the right side of the review window in the PDF, text, and native views of the document. If the image of the document is not a PDF with extractable text, the hit highlighting panel will only appear in the text file view. Note: hit highlighting for large text files will only show hits from the first 5MB. To locate content later in large documents, download the Text file and search through it offline.

Hits may appear on any page of the document you are viewing, and you may be taken to different pages of the document as you navigate through the hits. Here are the different sections of the hit highlighting panel:

Search Hits

Search hits are displayed in the first section. Each term or phrase in the search hits section corresponds to a search that retrieved the document. To jump to the previous or next instance of a particular hit, click the left or right arrows next to that hit.

Custom Hits

At any point during review, you may create your own custom search terms that you wish to be highlighted. Type your desired term into the "Search document" input field, then press enter on your keyboard; your term will be added to the "Custom Hits" list. You can use all of the same advanced search features supported by the contents search term in the query builder: phrases, fuzzy searches, wildcard searches, proximity searches, and regular expressions.

custom hits.gif

Custom hits exist in two states: pinned and unpinned.

  • Pinned hits will be retained for every document you view in the project.
  • Unpinned hits will only be searched for in the current document, and will disappear once you move on to a new document.

By default, custom hits are unpinned. To pin a term, first click on the term to open the options panel, then click the pin icon so that it is colored in. To unpin, click on the pin icon again so that it is no longer colored in.

pin hit.gif

If you need to search for common patterns of personally identifying information, such as social security/government id numbers, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and email addresses, you can use the default regular expression options in the “Search Document” field. Clicking on the input box will bring up a panel containing the available options. Clicking on one will add it as a custom hit.

PII hits.gif

Redact using Hit Highlights

You can also perform redactions directly from the option panel that appears when you select a term or phrase from the custom hits list.



The pin icon allows you to pin custom hits so that they persist across multiple documents during review.

The first redaction option allows you to redact the currently highlighted instance of the term.

The second redaction option, the “Redact all instances” button, allows you to redact all instances of the term that occurs in the document.

Clicking on the gear icon shows you the current redaction options for stamps and partial redaction format when applicable. By default, redactions are set to have no redaction stamp and full redactions. Both the “redact current instance” and the “redact all instances” buttons will apply redaction stamps and partial redactions according to the redaction options.

When redacting all instances of a hit in a spreadsheet, users may also be prompted to select a redaction dependency setting. If dependent redactions are present, users will see a dialog box listing the number of dependent regions on each sheet of the spreadsheet file. Redaction dependency settings for hit highlights are identical to redaction dependency settings for individual dependent cells. You can learn more about redaction dependency options in this Knowledge Base article.

Spreadsheet redactions via the “Redact all instances” button are limited to 5000 redactions across all pages of the spreadsheet, including dependent redactions. If your selected term will create more than 5000 redactions, you will not be able to run the redaction.

Finally, the last option allows you to remove all redactions, if any, of the term in the current document. Only redactions that you have the permissions to remove will be removed when using this button.

Persistent Hits

Project admins may want the same term, or set of terms, to be highlighted for all reviewers in that project. They can set up persistent hits, which will be visible for all users in the project. These terms will appear in the persistent highlights section.

You may navigate through persistent hits the same way you would navigate through search and custom hits. Additionally, you can click on a persistent hit category to expand it and see each individual term that has hits in this document. Unlike the other hit categories, only persistent hits found in the document will be displayed in the persistent hits section. For example, if “energy crisis” is a persistent hit in your project, but the phrase does not appear in the document you are currently viewing, it will not appear in the persistent hits section. If you are interested in capturing all documents that contain persistent hits, you can create searches for this purpose from the persistent highlights tab in Project Settings.

Please note that hit highlighting on an image is only supported on images with embedded or searchable text. For example, file types such as TIFs, PNGs, or JPGs do not support embedded text and therefore do not have hit highlight supported, but you can reprocess the image to create a searchable PDF. Please see Reprocessing Everlaw and Non-Everlaw Processed Documents for more details. 

Have more questions? Submit a request


Article is closed for comments.