Add watermarks to your Excel printouts

How do you underscore the private nature of your Excel printouts? Try adding your company's name or a phrase like Company Confidential as a watermark in the background.

Have you ever needed to print a watermark graphic behind the data in your Excel printouts? One way to underscore the private nature of a document is by printing your company’s name or a phrase like Company Confidential in the background. Fortunately, the WordArt feature makes it easy to create a watermark effect.

The key is semitransparency
In general, you can create a watermark effect by using WordArt to create the watermark itself. Then you use a light “fill” color for the WordArt object and toggle its Semitransparent setting. Here’s how.

Create the watermark text
Open your Excel sheet, then click the Standard toolbar’s Drawing button or go to View | Toolbars and select Drawing. Click the Drawing toolbar’s Insert WordArt button, select the first style option, and click OK.

Type the word or phrase (such as “Company Confidential”) that you want to use as your watermark. Select the appropriate font and size for your watermark and click OK. Figure A shows what our sample WordArt object looks like.

Figure A
Start by creating a WordArt object with the text you want to use for your watermark.

Format the watermark text
Next, right-click the WordArt image and select the Format WordArt option. Click the Colors And Lines tab and choose Gray-25% from the Color box in the Fill section. Select the Semitransparent check box. You can accept the default settings for the Line section, or you can change that setting to No Line, as we’ve done in Figure B.

Figure B
Use these settings to format your watermark as a semitransparent, gray text.

Rotate the watermark
When you’ve finished formatting your WordArt text, click OK. Click the Drawing toolbar’s Free Rotate icon and use the WordArt object’s fill handles to rotate your watermark as needed. Figure C shows what our sample watermark looks like after we rotated it and viewed our sheet in Print Preview mode.

Figure C
Here’s what our sample watermark looks like in Print Preview mode.

Copying the watermark
Of course, this watermark will appear on only one page. If your printout spans two or more pages, you’ll need to copy the watermark manually to the other pages in the print range. To do so, go to View | Page Break Preview and copy the WordArt object into place for each additional page.
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