Mimic a watermark in Excel

Watermark functionality is not available in Microsoft Office Excel. However, you can mimic a watermark in one of two ways.

You can display watermark information on every printed page — for example, to indicate that the worksheet data is confidential or a draft copy — by inserting a picture that contains the watermark information in a header or footer. That picture then appears behind the worksheet data, starting at the top or bottom of every page. You can also resize or scale the picture to fill the whole page.

You can also use WordArt on top of the worksheet data to indicate that the data is confidential or a draft copy.

What do you want to do?


Use a picture in a header or footer to mimic a watermark

  1. In a drawing program, such as Paintbrush, create a picture that you want to use as a watermark.
  2. In Excel, click the worksheet that you want to display with the watermark.

 Note   Make sure that only one worksheet is selected.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Header & Footer.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. Under Header, click either the left, center, or right header selection box.
  2. On the Design tab of the Header & Footer Tools, in the Header & Footer elements group, click Picture Button image and then find the picture that you want to insert.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. Double-click the picture to insert it in the header section box.
  2. To resize or scale the picture, click Format Picture Button image in the Header & Footer elements group, and then, in the Format Picture dialog box, select the options that you want on the Size tab.

 Notes 

  • Changes to the picture or picture format take effect immediately and cannot be undone.
  • If you want to add blank space above or below a picture, in the header selection box that contains the picture, click before or after &[Picture], and then press ENTER to start a new line.
  • To replace a picture, select &[Picture], click Picture Button image, and then click Replace.
  • Before printing, make sure that the header or footer margin has sufficient space for the custom header or footer.
  • To delete a picture, select &[Picture] and then press DELETE.
  • To switch from Page Layout view to Normal view, select any cell, click the View tab, and then, in the Workbook Views group, click Normal.

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Use WordArt to mimic a watermark

  1. Click the worksheet location where you want to display the watermark.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click WordArt.

Excel Ribbon Image

  1. Click the WordArt style that you want to use.

 Tip   For example, use Fill - White Drop Shadow, Fill - Text 1, Inner Shadow, or Fill - White, Warm Matte Bevel.

  1. Type the text that you want to use for the watermark.
  2. To change the size of the WordArt, right-click the WordArt. On the shortcut menu, click Font, and then enter a new number in the Size box.
  3. To add transparency so that you can see more of the worksheet data underneath the WordArt, right-click the WordArt, and then click Format Text Effects. In the Text Fill category, make sure Solid Fill is selected. If you like, you can select a fill color. Now, drag the Transparency slider to the percentage of transparency that you want:
  4. To rotate the WordArt, select it, and then drag the rotation handle (rotation handle: Round arrow that appears at the top of a selected shape that you can use to rotate the shape.) in the direction that you want to rotate the WordArt.

 Note   You cannot use WordArt in a header or footer to display it in the background. However, if you create the WordArt in an empty worksheet that does not display gridlines (clear the Gridlines check box in the Show/Hide group on the View tab), you can press PRINT SCREEN to capture the WordArt, and then paste the captured WordArt into a drawing program. You can then insert the picture that you created in the drawing program into a header and footer as described in Use a picture in a header or footer to mimic a watermark.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007