Picture a watermark in your Word document

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002

Picture a photo from your latest vacation as a backdrop for a letter, or an image of your organization's product on your latest sales letter, or perhaps a picture of your holiday decorations on an invitation.

With Word, you can use pictures as watermarks that appear "behind" text in a document. You can also add text watermarks, such as the phrase "Confidential," but this article focuses on using pictures, such as pictures that come with Microsoft Office or pictures from your digital camera.

Choosing a picture

If the document contains a large amount of text, you'll probably want to choose a picture with fewer details, so the readers' eyes aren't distracted from the text.

By default, Word applies a "washed out" or "dimmed" look to the picture so that it's lighter than the text. If your picture contrasts well enough with the text, and you don't want to wash it out, you don't have to apply this setting.

If you want to change its size, you can scale the picture when you insert it.

Documents with watermarks

Creating the watermark

  1. On the Format menu, point to Background, and then click Printed Watermark.
  2. Click Picture watermark, and then click Select Picture.

Select the picture you want, and then click Insert.

  1. Select any additional options that you want, such as Scale to change the size of the picture or Washout to dim the picture, and then click Apply.


  • To view the watermark, you need to use print layout view.
  • Watermarks are designed for printed documents, and they aren't visible in normal view or Web layout view. If you want to apply a watermark-like background to documents for online viewing, apply a background (point to Background on the Format menu, and then click a color or click Fill Effects) or a theme (Format menu, Theme command).
Applies to:
Word 2003