How to Overlay Pictures

Updated February 21, 2017

A picture overlay is the placement of a photo over a document or another photo to enhance the presentation of the document or photo. By merging the images, you add complexity to the original photo and provoke interest or hide flaws. An overlay isn't difficult to do. All that is needed is the image in digital format and software capable of inserting another image onto an original image or document. With both, the rest of the process is a matter of artfully positioning the overlay so that a viewer can see both the original document or image and the overlay picture clearly.

Open a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, and write the contents of your document.

Create a shape for your overlay by pressing the "Insert" tab and choosing the "Shapes" option. Select the shape desired and use the mouse to drag the size of your shape over the document page.

Right-click on the shape and choose "Format Shape" from the menu options. Click "Fill" and select "Picture or Texture Fill" by clicking on the radial next to the option. Select "File" in the "From" field to open a file browser.

Load the picture into the shape by navigating through your hard drive until you find the picture you want to overlay onto the document. Highlight the picture and click "Insert" to fill the shape with the selected picture. Move the "Transparency" slider to the right to increase transparency of the picture until you can see writing on the document.

Return to the "Format Shape" window. Select "Line Color." Choose "No Line" to remove the border around the shape.

Right click on the shape and choose "Word Wrap." Select "Behind the Text" so that you can continue to edit the text of the document as needed.

Overlay a picture over the picture using of a photo editing program such as Photoshop. Load the first image into the program using the "Insert" option. Add a new layer to the composition and then insert the second photo using the "Apply Image" command. Navigate to the image's location, select the image and choose "Overlay" as the blending type.

Click "OK" to apply the new image as an overlay atop the first, blending the images into a single composite.


Alter the shape or location of the overlay picture by clicking on the picture and moving the small boxes found around the borders.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processor software
  • Digital image
  • Photo editing software
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About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.