An apparatus and method helps a user to determine parts of an electronic document that are of interest by allowing the user to define preferences for processing an electronic document, and by automatically highlighting one or more portions of the document according to the user preferences. Highlighting includes any way to enhance or alter the appearance of text, including bold, italics, underlining, change in font style, change in font size, change in color, change in background color, etc. The automatic highlighting of portions of the document attract the user's eyes to that portion of the document, which helps the user to discern whether or not the highlighted portion is relevant or interesting. The preferred embodiments also include a document generator that takes an input document and generates therefrom an output document that has one or more highlighted portions that are hard-coded into the document according to the user preferences. The preferred embodiments further include the ability to automatically enable or disable the highlighting of a document according to characteristics of the electronic document, or the user's actions (such as the speed of scrolling through a document). In addition, the preferred embodiments include markup language tags that allow an author of a document to define portions of interest that may be highlighted when highlighting is enabled.