Insert or change a watermark

Watermarks are text or pictures placed behind the document text. You can add text watermarks, such as Draft or Confidential, to your document. Word provides galleries of ready-made watermarks, or you can create your own custom watermark, such as a company logo.

Watermarks and backgrounds

Tip: If your document already has a watermark and you want to remove it, you can.

Add a watermark

  1. Click Design > Watermark.

    The Watermark icon is highlighted on the Design tab

  2. Apply one of the built-in watermarks in the watermark gallery, search for one online, or click Custom Watermark to create your own from text or a picture. Here’s how:

    • In the Watermark gallery, click a diagonal or horizontal version of Confidential, Do Not Copy, Draft, ASAP, Sample, or Urgent.

    • Click Custom Watermark > Picture watermark and browse to an image. It automatically lightens so as not to interfere with the document text unless you uncheck the Washout box.

    • Click Custom Watermark > Text watermark and either type your own watermark text or select one, like DRAFT, from the list. Then, customize the watermark by setting the font, layout, size, colors, orientation, and transparency.

    Word automatically applies the watermark to every page except a designated cover page. If you don’t see the watermark, click View > Print Layout. This also shows how the printed watermark will look.

See also

Add a "Draft" watermark to your document

Add a picture as a background watermark

Remove a watermark

  1. Click View > Print Layout.

  2. Click Design > Watermark.

    The Watermark command in Word 2013. On the Design tab, click Watermark.

  3. Apply one of the built-in watermarks in the watermark gallery, search for one online, or click Custom Watermark to create your own from text or a picture. Here’s how:

    • In the Watermark gallery, click a diagonal or horizontal version of Confidential, Do Not Copy, Draft, ASAP, Sample, or Urgent.

    • Click Custom Watermark > Picture watermark and browse to an image. It automatically lightens so as not to interfere with the document text unless you uncheck the Washout box.

    • Click Custom Watermark > Text watermark and type what you want in the Text box. You can adjust the font, size, color, layout, and transparency.

      Word automatically applies the watermark to every page except a designated cover page.

Insert a watermark on selected pages

To add a watermark only to certain pages, those pages need to be in a separate section. For example, to add a watermark only to the table of contents (TOC), put everything before the TOC in one section, put the TOC in a section of its own, and treat everything after the TOC as another section. Then unlink the sections so they don’t automatically copy each other.

Steps 1-7 create and unlink the sections. Steps 8 and 9 do the actual work of adding the watermark. Here goes:

  1. Click View > Print Layout.

  2. Click Home and in the Paragraph group, click the Show/Hide button.

    The Show/Hide command on the Home tab in Word 2013.

  3. Place your cursor on the last page before the section you want to watermark and insert a section break; click Page Layout, > Breaks, and under Section Breaks, click Next Page.

    The insert break command on the Page Layout tab

  4. Place your cursor on the last page of the section you want to watermark and insert another section break; in Page Layout > Breaks, click Next Page.

  5. On the first page where you want the watermark to appear, double-click the header area to open the header. This opens the Header & Footer Tools > Design tab. (Word anchors the watermark to the header even though the watermark doesn't show up in the header area.)

  6. Under Header & Footer Tools > Design, in the Navigation group, click Link to Previous to unlink this section header from the previous section header.

  7. On the first page of the section after the section you want to watermark, repeat steps 5 and 6.

  8. Click the page where you want the watermark to appear.

  9. Click Design>Page Background, click Watermark, and select the watermark you want.

    The Watermark command in Word 2013. On the Design tab, click Watermark.

    Note:  A cover page has a separate header so you don’t need to create a separate section for it.

Change watermarks

  1. Click Design > Watermark.

    The Watermark command in Word 2013. On the Design tab, click Watermark.

  2. Do any of the following:

    • Choose a different predesigned watermark, such as Confidential or Urgent, from the gallery of watermarks.

    • To change pictures, click Custom Watermark, and then click Select Picture.

    • To change picture settings, click Custom Watermark, and then select the options you want under Picture watermark.

    • To change text, click Custom Watermark, and then select a different built-in phrase or type in your own phrase.

    • To change text settings, click Custom Watermark, and then select the options you want under Text watermark.

See also

What do you want to do?

Watermarks can be viewed only in Print Layout and Full Screen Reading views and on the printed page.

You can insert a predesigned watermark from a gallery of watermark text, or you can insert a watermark with custom text.

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Office 14 Ribbon

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Click a predesigned watermark, such as Confidential or Urgent, in the gallery of watermarks.

    • Click Custom Watermark, click Text watermark and then select or type the text that you want. You can also format the text.

  3. To view a watermark as it will appear on the printed page, use Print Layout view.

You can turn a picture, clip art, or a photo into a watermark that you can use to brand or decorate a document.

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Office 14 Ribbon

  2. Click Custom Watermark.

  3. Click Picture watermark, and then click Select Picture.

  4. Select the picture that you want, and then click Insert.

  5. Select a percentage under Scale to insert the picture at a particular size

  6. Select the Washout check box to lighten the picture so that it doesn't interfere with text.

    The picture that you selected is applied as a watermark to the entire document.

To insert a watermark only on selected pages, you must separate the document into sections. For example, if you want to apply a watermark only to the table of contents in a document, you must create three sections: a cover page section, the table of contents section, and the rest of the document text in its own section.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Show/Hide so that you can see the page breaks in your document.

    show-hide button on the home tab

  2. In Draft view, replace the page breaks surrounding the pages to which you want to add watermarks with section breaks.

    On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Breaks, and then click Next Page under Section Breaks.

    page setup group

    Note: When you insert a cover page in a document, it has a separate header so that you don't need to create a separate section for it if you're creating sections to add a watermark only to selected pages.

  3. Switch to Print Layout view.

  4. Double-click the document header area on the page where you want the watermark to appear. This opens the header.

    Microsoft Office Word places watermarks in the header even though they don't appear in the header.

  5. On the Design tab, in the Navigation group, click Link to Previous so that the headers are no longer linked.

  6. Double-click the document header area on the first page where you don't want the watermark to appear — for example, the first page of document text — and then repeat step 4.

  7. Click the page where you want the watermark to appear.

  8. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark and select the watermark that you want.

    Office 14 Ribbon

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Office 14 Ribbon

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose a different predesigned watermark, such as Confidential or Urgent, from the gallery of watermarks.

    • To change pictures, click Custom Watermark, and then click Select Picture.

    • To change picture settings, click Custom Watermark, and then select or clear the options Picture watermark.

    • To change text, click Custom Watermark, and then select a different built-in phrase or type in your own phrase.

    • To change text settings, click Custom Watermark, and then select or clear the options that you want under Text watermark.

See also

Add a “Draft” or “Confidential” watermark to your document

Create a watermark from a picture

Remove a watermark

What do you want to do?

Do one of the following:

Add a text watermark to document

Watermarks can be viewed only in Print Layout and Full Screen Reading views and on the printed page.

You can insert a predesigned watermark from a gallery of watermark text, or you can insert a watermark with custom text.

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Click a predesigned watermark, such as Confidential or Urgent, in the gallery of watermarks.

    • Click Custom Watermark, click Text watermark and then select or type the text that you want. You can also format the text.

  3. To view a watermark as it will appear on the printed page, use Print Layout view.

Add a background color or texture to a Web page or an online document

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Page Color.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Do any of the following:

    • Click the color that you want under Theme Colors or Standard Colors.

    • Click Fill Effects to change or add special effects, such as gradients, textures, or patterns.

      Note: Select the color that you want before you apply a gradient or pattern.

You can turn a picture, clip art, or a photo into a watermark that you can use to brand or decorate a document.

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Click Printed Watermark.

  3. Click Picture watermark, and then click Select Picture.

  4. Select the picture that you want, and then click Insert.

  5. Select a percentage under Scale to insert the picture at a particular size

  6. Select the Washout check box to lighten the picture so that it doesn't interfere with text.

    The picture that you selected is applied as a watermark to the entire document.

Tip: If you want to use an object, such as a shape, as a watermark, you can manually paste or insert it into the document. You cannot use the Printed Watermark dialog box to control settings for these objects.

To add a watermark only to selected pages, you must separate the document into sections. For example, if you want to apply a watermark only to the table of contents in a document, you must create three sections: a cover page section, the table of contents section, and the rest of the document text in its own section.

  1. In Draft view, replace the page breaks surrounding the pages to which you want to add watermarks with section breaks.

    On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Breaks, and then click Next Page under Section Breaks.

    Word Ribbon Image

    Note: When you insert a cover page in a document, it has a separate header so that you don't need to create a separate section for it if you're creating sections to add a watermark only to selected pages.

  2. Switch to Print Layout view.

  3. Double-click the document header area on the page where you want the watermark to appear. This opens the header.

    Microsoft Office Word places watermarks in the header even though they don't appear in the header.

  4. Under Header & Footer Tools, on the Design tab, in the Navigation group, click Link to Previous so that the headers are no longer linked.

    navigation group

  5. Double-click the document header area on the first page where you don't want the watermark to appear — for example, the first page of document text — and then repeat step 4.

  6. Click the page where you want the watermark to appear.

  7. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark and select the watermark that you want.

    Word Ribbon Image

Do one of the following:

Change a watermark

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose a different predesigned watermark, such as Confidential or Urgent, from the gallery of watermarks.

    • To change pictures, click Printed Watermark, and then click Select Picture.

    • To change picture settings, click Printed Watermark, and then select or clear the options Picture watermark.

    • To change text, click Printed Watermark, and then select a different built-in phrase or type in your own phrase.

    • To change text settings, click Printed Watermark, and then select or clear the options that you want under Text watermark.

Change a document background

You can apply a different color, apply a texture or picture instead of color, or change settings for patterns and gradients.

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Page Color.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Click the new color that you want under Theme Colors or Standard Colors.

    • Click Fill Effects to change or add special effects, such as gradients, textures, or patterns.

      Note: Select the color that you want before you apply a gradient or pattern.

Do one of the following:

Remove a watermark

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Watermark.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Click Remove Watermark.

Remove a background

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Background group, click Page Color.

    Word Ribbon Image

  2. Click No Color.

Note: When no background is specified for a Web page, the page appears in the default background color set in the Web browser of the person who is viewing the page.

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