Software

How to add a watermark to your Word documents

Add a watermark to a Word document to share the document's status or some other attribute.
A watermark is a picture or text that appears behind a document's contents. It's usually a light grey or other neutral color so it doesn't distract too much from the document's purpose. Usually, a watermark identifies a company or the document's status. For instance, a watermark might say confidential, urgent, or display a symbolic graphic. Adding a watermark to a Word document is a simple process:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click Watermark in the Page Background group.
  3. Choose a watermark from the gallery. Or...

  4. Choose Custom Watermark. The Printed Watermark dialog presents three options. You can remove a custom watermark or insert a picture or text as watermark.
  5. Click OK once you've made your selections.

If you're using Word 2003, add a watermark as follows:

  1. From the Format menu, choose Background.
  2. Click Printed Watermark.

    To insert a picture as a watermark, click Picture Watermark. Then click Select Picture, navigate to find the picture file, and click Insert.

    To insert a text watermark, click Text Watermark and select or enter the text you want.
  3. Set any additional options.
  4. Click OK.

The watermark will display as part of the background on every page. Adding a watermark to a document is simple, yet effective.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

21 comments
ClareHillier
ClareHillier

Hi, Please could you advise me: I have created a User Guide that contains text and screenshots. The watermark works perfectly and can clearly be seen on the text parts of the screen however where there are pictures the watermark disappears behind them. There is one page in particular where the watermark can not be seen as the picture is quite large. Is it possible to change the watermark so that it is in front of the pictures? (the reason is I want to send someone a copy and PDF it but I don't want them to be able to use it/pass it off as their own work!) I am using Word 2010. Many Thanks Clare

mariebella
mariebella

Is there any way to change the watermark position? I use a program that has a limited watermark feature, but I can choose where I want to put the watermark on the page.

EarlMelton
EarlMelton

How about a similar subject for OOo Writer?

caren.hill
caren.hill

We don't use the Draft matermark in the gallery becasue it only prints every other letter on the document. Stick to the 2003 method it is works and is predictable.

chris.daled-91138012
chris.daled-91138012

Adding a watermark sometimes has unintended side effects. Yesterday, I added a 'DRAFT' watermark to a one page document, which instantly became a two page document. Why? Because Word puts the watermark in the header, and the insertion of a header pushed some text onto page 2. I fixed it by repositioning the header and footer: on the Page Layout tab, click the small Page Setup arrow, then select the Layout tab and reduce the 'From edge' numbers in the 'Headers and footers' section.

stapleb
stapleb

Thanks again Susan for your great tips, and TobiF for his informative contribution. I had a document sent to me once that had a Watermark, but it was not printing or displaying on two pages in the middle of the document, and the sender wanted to know what was wrong. Scrolling through the document I could see it flashing. Don't know how or why the initial creator of the document had done it (or even if they knew they had), but they had added a fill colour of white to two pages of text. Removed that, and there it was. So, just a friendly tip to the unwary.

Richard Gray (AUS)
Richard Gray (AUS)

I was actually expecting this entry to provide a description of how to display the text from a document property field as the bookmark. Alas, I have been disappointed. Getting the watermark to display the text from a docproperty field is possible using the same approach as was done to insert a watermark back with Word V2. However, I haven't managed to get the text box containing the docproperty watermark to be rotated so that it displays diagonally across the page. In Word 2003, the rotation field in the text box properties is greyed out! And the WordArt option does not allow insertion of Field data. Any ideas?

TobiF
TobiF

1. View - header/footer 2. Insert - Picture - Wordart 3. Select suitable font and bold/italics as required and write your message in the large text window. Funnily enough, the "Font size" doesn't really mean much, since you'll later stretch your text as needed. Click OK when this part is done. 4. Look for the WordArt toolbar. Click on the "dog-n-text button" and select "Behind text". Now the object is framed and can be dragged into the page. Play with the other tools for WordArt to select different effects. The fill button allows you to set, reduced fill patterns, like 15% gray etc. 5. Around the WordArt object, notice the green circle to tilt the whole object, and the yellow rhomboid to tilt each letter. Although the WordArt object is located inside the page, it is anchored to (and is a part of) the header or footer that was active when it was added.

stapleb
stapleb

I have just tested this on a document, using 2007, on a document created in 2002. I used the steps of Page Setup, Watermark, Custom and added my own text. I then double clicked the header to get to header and footer area, and was able to drag the text wherever I needed it. I also tested it on the standard text in a new 2007 document, and was able to move it once going to the header/footer area of the document.

TobiF
TobiF

you use the method that works for Word 2003 (i.e. with Headers active, inster WordArt, formatted "behind text")

ssharkins
ssharkins

Not manually, there isn't -- but maybe someone will know of a way.

TobiF
TobiF

I've been thinking for a while that it would be great to get some coverage about OOo here at TR. Now, Susan deals with MS Office. If Susan happens to play with OOo, then she could make a valuable contribution by talking about OOo in addition to MS Office. But otherwise, it's possible that we need to convice TR to add a new line of blogs (provided they can find someone suitable. I guess it's really hard to find someone as skilled as Susan, though - she's just great!)

Richard Gray (AUS)
Richard Gray (AUS)

I had found that my DRAFT watermark was often being printed (B&W laser printer - not sure about when using a colour printer) with a different subset of the letters missing on different pages in the same document. That is, some pages printed with R and A missing, others with A and T missing, and so on. Then I learnt to turned off the Semitransparent option for the text printed watermark, while selecting 25% grey font shade, and voila! I hope that this works for you too. Richard

ssharkins
ssharkins

That would've been a good challenge!

ssharkins
ssharkins

I'm not sure what you're asking for -- was the macro provided helpful? If not, let us know what you need.

TobiF
TobiF

You need to set a trap for the DocumentBeforePrint Event In the code you can use something like the following: If ActiveWindow.View.SplitSpecial wdPaneNone Then ActiveWindow.Panes(2).Close End If If ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView Or ActiveWindow. _ ActivePane.View.Type = wdOutlineView Then ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdPrintView End If ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.SeekView = wdSeekCurrentPageHeader Selection.HeaderFooter.Shapes("WordArt 4").Select Selection.ShapeRange.TextEffect.Text = ActiveDocument.BuiltInDocumentProperties(wdPropertyTitle) Note: I recorded a macro, and the automatically assigned name for my WordArt object was "Wordart 4". I used a built-in document property, but is should be possible to use custom document properties, as well.

RosaNegra
RosaNegra

There is no need to use WordArt as described by TobiF. Word 2003 has watermark option. Go to Format/Backround - choose Printed Watermark & you will see the same options as choosing Custom Watermark in more recent versions.

ssharkins
ssharkins

I'll take a look -- that sounds like an easy solution! Thank you!

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thank you for your kind remarks. Unfortunately, I'm not highly skilled in OOo... I suppose we could all learn together. :)

Richard Gray (AUS)
Richard Gray (AUS)

I work for a large Government agency and so we are not meant to add or change Macros in our corporate Word templates. What I was hoping to see was the ability to select either Text (as is currently available) or Field (ie, select a document custom field) for the Printed Watermark. That way, document metadata such as DocStatus can be updated by the user as the document passes though its lifecycle (and also used by SharePoint as part of Search function) and this would automatically get prinnted correctly as the watermark on each page of the document. Maybe I just need to hang out for the next version of Office/Word. Thanks anyway :)

stapleb
stapleb

I just realised that I wasn't completely clear. It is still WordArt, and because it is "behind" the text, I just moved the mouse pointer around until I got the four headed arrow indicating I was pointing at the object. Click and drag and you have it!

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