Using watermarks to convey specific information to your
audience about the document they are reading can be very important for
successful communication. For instance, in technical documents such as
engineering specifications or procedure manuals, there can be a significant
difference between a draft proposal and an approved final version. Your readers
need to know what version they are reading.

Depending on the version of Microsoft Office you are using,
creating and inserting a watermark can be a simple process or frustratingly
annoying. For example, if you are using Word 2002 or newer, creating a
watermark is automated in the form of a menu item. You can get to it by
navigating to Format | Background | Printed Watermark. Once there, you only
need to fill out some text and answer a few layout questions and then you have
a watermark.

Step-by-step

However, in Word 97 and Word 2000, you have to work through
a few more steps, as ron2495
found out in the TechRepublic Discussion Center. Before you actually begin the
process, you should decide what the watermark will be—text, graphic, logo, or a
combination. The type of watermark will factor into the other decisions you
will make in the process. There are several ways to create watermarks in Word, which can often lead to confusion. But approaching the
problem from the keep it simple
perspective, I believe that WordArt is the most efficient tool.

For our example, we will assume you are creating a watermark
that indicates the document is a “draft” and that you want the
watermark to appear on all the document pages. The best way to apply the
watermark to all pages is with the header function. Here are the steps:

  1. Navigate
    to View | Header And Footer.
  2. Navigate
    to Insert | Picture | WordArt.
  3. Choose
    a style from the selection (the choices on the first row work best for
    watermarks).
  4. Insert
    the watermark text (in our example, Draft).
  5. Choose
    a font and make the size 96 pixels (the longer the text, the less pixel size).
  6. Right-click
    on the text (Draft) and choose Format WordArt.
  7. On
    the Colors And Lines Tab, change the Fill color to 25 percent gray and 75
    percent transparency.
  8. Change
    the Line color to No Line.
  9. On
    the Layout Tab, change the Wrapping Style to Behind The Text.
  10. Click the
    Advanced button (See Figure A).
  11. Click the
    Horizontal and Vertical alignment radio buttons.
  12. Change both
    the Horizontal and Vertical alignment to Centered Relative To Page.
  13. Close the
    Header and Footer toolbar

Figure A

The Advanced Layout dialog

Under Format WordArt you can also choose to rotate the text,
choose to make it bigger or smaller, or adjust the color to make the text
lighter or darker.

In our example, we created a text-based watermark, but the
procedure is very similar if you want to use a logo or some other graphic. The
key is to center the watermark on the page, place it behind the text, make sure
it is in grayscale, and make it light enough not to interfere with the words in
your document.

Automate

Creating a watermark
in Word 97 and Word 2000 involves numerous steps. So many steps in fact that
you would not want to run through them every time you wanted to create a
watermark. To automate the process, you could create templates that already
have the appropriate watermark. The next time you were working on a draft
document, you could just start it with the “draft” template.

Of course, there is always an exception. Sometimes you may
want to create a document that is both a draft and confidential. You could
create a new template for such occasions or you could create a Word macro
that can handle any situation you may come across. The attached macro will turn the text currently residing in the Windows
clipboard into a watermark. Just copy and paste it into your list of Normal
template macros and give it the name Watermark.
Copy the text you want to watermark into the clipboard and run the macro from
the Word menu. (Download the Word QuickStart
if you are unfamiliar with Word macros.) Watermarking in older versions of Word
is now just a little easier to manage.