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Add Watermarks in MS Word and Adjust Them

Mark It Up

We all know about watermarks, those light pictures or text placed behind our text on printed documents. They can mark a document as a draft or as confidential, or they could be used to enhance the appearance of a document.

With older versions of MS Word you had to do quite a bit of work to get that watermark. You were forced to go through the header and make changes to lighten the coloring of the picture.

Good news! With the newer versions of Word, starting with Word XP, you’ve got a quick and easy way to use watermarks with Word doing all of the tedious work for you.

While the document is open, go to the Format menu, Background submenu, Printed Watermark choice. The Printed Watermark window will open presenting you with 3 choices.

You could leave the choice at No Watermark, but you might use it to remove a watermark previously inserted.

The second option is a Picture watermark. Choose this, and the settings for that section will become active. Click the Select Picture button to locate the graphic you want used as your watermark.


You can use the Scale field to dictate the watermark’s size or leave it at Auto to have Word center it on your page.

The Washout choice makes the picture lighter in color, so I’d leave that one alone. It’s difficult to read text that over a brightly colored picture.

The third choice in the Printed Watermark window is to have one made of Text.


You can select text to use from the drop-down list, or you can enter your own word or phrase in the Text field. Below that, you can choose a font, size and color. Again, I suggest that you leave the semitransparent option checked, so you can read the text that’s placed over it.

At the bottom you’ll need to choose the orientation of the text. If you want to “give it a try” without closing the window, click the Apply button. The document will be updated with the watermark without closing the Printed Watermark window. This allows you to make additional changes easily.

When you’ve got a watermark you like, simply click the OK button.

As easy as that, Word inserts your chosen watermark in the center of each page.

~ April