How to add a background picture to a Microsoft Word document

Written by simon foden Google
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How to add a background picture to a Microsoft Word document
Watermarking lets you protect and personalise your work. (Microsoft Corporation)

Adding a background picture or watermark to a Word document enables you to achieve two goals. Firstly, a watermark gives your document a look of professionalism. Secondly, if you lock the document so nobody can edit it or remove the text, you can ensure that yours is the only document of its kind in circulation, meaning that everyone who sees it knows it came from you. Microsoft Word lets you create custom watermarks that you can save as templates for creating personalised documents.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the “Design” tab in the menu ribbon at the top of the Word document. Click “Watermark” in the page background area of the sub-menu.

  2. 2

    Click “Custom Watermark” to open a new dialog box. Select “Picture Watermark,” and then choose “Select Picture.”

  3. 3

    Select the method by which you want to select your picture. You have three options -- “From a File,” “Office Clip Art” or “Bing Image Search.” If you have a cloud storage account -- for example SkyDrive -- associated with your Microsoft account, Word may offer this as a fourth option.

  4. 4

    Browse for the picture you want to use as your background image. Double-click to select the image.

  5. 5

    Click the “Scale” menu to access sizing options. To automatically resize the image to fit inside the document, select “Auto.” To manually select the scale of the image, enter the dimensions yourself. Select “Washout” if you want a faint background image. Not selecting “Washout” may mean the image clashes with text in the document.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the “Protect” menu under the “Info” tab and select “Mark as Final.” This means other users can’t edit or copy text from your original document, preventing them from removing your watermark or pasting the contents into another document. This way, only your watermarked document can be used.

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