Holistic processing has been shown with both faces and words, but it is unclear how similar their underlying mechanisms are. In this study attention to global and local features was manipulated and the consequences for holistic word and face processing were examined. On each trial participants were presented two Navon figures and told to focus on either the global or the local level. Then they performed a composite task in which they indicated whether the target halves of two sequentially presented faces or words were the same or different, ignoring the irrelevant halves. Similar stronger global priming effects were found for faces and words, indicating that holistic processing for the two types of stimuli were susceptible to attention manipulations to similar degrees, which was confirmed with Bayesian analyses. The findings add to the investigation of the similarity and differences between holistic processing and help reveal those aspects of holistic processing that are domain general and those specific to individual categories.