How to Make a Faded Picture Background in Microsoft Publisher

Updated February 21, 2017

By using the Microsoft Office Suite's Publisher desktop publishing program, available with the Suite's Professional 2010 version, any office, bedroom, coffee shop or even airport waiting area may be turned into a production shop. Publisher's templates provide quick-start options for newsletters, brochures, letters, stickers, business cards and more, along with the ability to control completely how those images appear, starting with their backgrounds.

Open Publisher. Click one of Publisher's template buttons such as "Labels" or "Signs," or click the "Blank 8.5 x 11" button in the top-left corner to get a blank page of copy paper.

Click the "Insert" tab at the top of the workspace. Click the "Picture" button below the tab. Browse to and double-click the picture to use for the background. It is inserted, but it is in full colour.

Note the "Picture Tools" pink tab at the top of the workspace. Click the "Recolor" button on the left side of the toolbar/ribbon. Click one of the "Light Variations" button to fade the picture as desired.

Position the picture in the top-left corner of the publication. Press and hold down the "Shift" key. Drag the bottom-right corner of the picture to fit the entire background of the publication.


Resizing a picture -- especially enlarging it -- may cause a negative impact, such as blur or pixilation. Starting with the largest size background picture available and shrinking it is the best option. Publisher does offer the ability to add a picture directly to the background. Click the "Page Design" tab, then click the "Background" button, then click "More Backgrounds," then click the "Picture" tab, then click "Select Picture" and then double-click the image. However, it doesn't allow these images to be faded. If you've already faded the image in another program and have it ready, this would be an ideal way to ensure the picture will be the exact size of the background without you having to resize it.

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About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.