Add a Watermark or Background

Download the Activity Files

Download the text and picture files for this activity by clicking the link below.

Activity Files

Exercise 1: Add a Text Watermark

Open a new document. Insert the text file (Insert > Object> Text from File), Market Analysis, into the new document. Imagine that you have rafted this market analysis report, and you want to have it reviewed internally by your team. You'll add a watermark to it, indicating that the information is confidential.

To apply the watermark, first make sure that you're in Print Layout view Print Layout View. This is the default view; the Print Layout button is in the bottom right of the Word window. If it's not already clicked, click it.

Click the Page Layout tab, and in the Page Background group, click Watermark.


A gallery of watermarks is displayed.

Click the one called Confidential 1.

Confidential Watermark

The watermark appears in your document. It will be quite faint. If you're not sure whether you see it, open Print Preview: Click the Microsoft Office Button, point to Print, click Print Preview. Click Close Print Preview to return to Print Layout view.

Change the Watermark Color

You can change the watermark's color if you want. Click Watermark again (Page Layout tab), and click Custom Watermark, at the bottom of the gallery.

In the Printed Watermark dialog box, you customize the watermark. Note that you can change the text here, as well as color, font, transparency, and angle.

Click the arrow next to Color, and click the color Red, Accent 2, Lighter 40%.


Click Apply. This gives you a chance to preview your choice in the document. Click Close.

The watermark's color is now red.

Save this document with the name Market Analysis with Confidential Watermark.

Exercise 2: Add a Picture Watermark

Open the Printed Watermark dialog box again.

Near the top of the dialog box, click Picture watermark, and click Select Picture.

Picture Watermark

The Insert Picture dialog box opens so that you can browse to the picture. Navigate to your student folder and select the picture you downloaded to your folder for this activity called Flower.jpg.

Click the file called Flower.jpg and click Insert.

In the Printed Watermark dialog box, you'll see the flower.jpg file name, and its path, next to the Select Picture button. Note also that the option called Washout is selected by default. This will subdue the colors in the picture.

Picture Watermark

Click Apply to see the watermark added to the document. Click Close.

Save this document with the name Market Analysis with Flower Watermark.

Tip A watermark will make your file size larger. When you don't need it anymore, remove it. To remove a watermark, you open the Watermark gallery, and click Remove Watermark at the bottom of the gallery.

Exercise 3: Save a Watermark to the Gallery

You can add your customized watermark to the watermark gallery so that it's always there for you. To do so, you open the options that apply to headers and footers in a document. Why there? Because Word stores watermarks in the same place as headers and footers.

On the Insert tab, click Header, in the Header & Footer group.

Header command

Tip You can also double-click the top or bottom of the document, in Print Layout view, to open the Header and Footer view.

Click Edit Header at the bottom of the header gallery.

In the document, click the watermark to select it. If it's selected, you'll see blue selection handles around the picture.

With the picture selected, click the Page Layout tab, and click Watermark.

At the bottom of the gallery, click Save Selection to Watermark Gallery.

Save Selection

In the Create New Building Block dialog box, give the watermark the name Company Brand, and next to Category, click the arrow, and click Create New Category.

Next to name, in the little box that opens, type Custom. Click OK, and then click OK again.

Custom Watermark

In the document, to get out of edit mode for headers, double-click anywhere outside the watermark.

Tip You can also click Close Header and Footer, which is on the Design tab that is available when you've selected a watermark.

See the addition to the gallery by clicking Watermark on the Page Layout tab. Scroll to Custom category. You'll see the new watermark there.

Custom Watermark

Important When you have saved a watermark to the gallery, you'll get a message when you next close Word. It will ask if you want to save modifications to a file called Building Blocks.dotx. You must click Yes in response to this message in order to keep your customized watermark in the gallery.

Exercise 4: Add a Background to a Web Document

Switch gears and imagine that your market analysis has been reviewed and approved, and it's ready for posting on your company's internal Web site. Add a background to it to make the document more colorful.

Note The watermark that you placed in the document in the previous exercise won't show in the version of the document that's posted to a Web site, so you can keep it if you want it still to appear in the printed document.

In your document, change to Web Layout view by clicking the Web Layout button. You're switching to this view because it gives you an idea of how your document will look once it's posted on your site.

Web Layout

On the Ribbon, click the Page Layout tab, and then, in the Page Background group, click Page Color.

Page Color

Point to any of the Theme Colors and, as you do, you'll see in a preview how your text would look with the selected color applied. Point to the colors under Standard Colors, too. Note that for the very dark colors, the text automatically becomes white. Always keep in mind that your text needs to remain clear and readable.

At the bottom of the color menu, click Fill Effects.

Fill Effects

Fill effects include gradient, textured, patterned, or picture backgrounds, and as you see in the dialog box, each has a tab with options.

Apply a gradient fill using two colors. Click the Gradient tab, and click Two colors. For Color 1, choose Blue, Accent 1, Lighter 80%, the lightest blue Blue Accent 1.

For Color 2, choose White, Background 1 (white).

Under Shading styles, click From corner. Click OK.

Gradient Web Background

Your page has a subtle color gradient now for the background. This gives it some visual flavor without being distracting or making the text unreadable.

To glance at the other fill effects for background, open the Fill Effects dialog box again (Page Color, Fill Effects).

Click Cancel.

About saving your document: You can save the document in the standard format (Word Document) or in HTML (Web Page). If you then post it to an internal site, such as a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 site or a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 site, it will automatically show in Web view, with the background.

Save this document with the name Market Analysis Web Page with Background Color.

Tip To remove the background, you'd click Page Color and click No Color.

Exercise 5: Set up Word to print backgrounds

To print a background in a document, you need to apply a setting in Word Options. This is how you would do that.

Click the Microsoft Office Button, and click Word Options.

Word Options

Click Display in the list of links on the left.


Under Printing Options, click Print background colors and images.

Print Document Properties

With this setting, when you print, your background will appear on the printout. If your computer is not connected to a color printer, the background image will print in black and white.

To keep this setting now, click OK. If you don't want this setting right now, click Cancel.

Note This setting does not affect watermarks. Your watermark will show on a printed document with this setting on or off.

Nicholson's Lesson Plan Blues