How to Add a Fixed Background Image to Emails in Outlook 2003

You can add background images to emails you send with Outlook.

Sticking Image

Adding a background image to an email you are composing in Outlook 2003 is easy enough: Format | Background | Picture...

But say you want to prevent the image from repeating or make it stick to the canvas and not scroll with the text? Wherever you look, the options are numbered. There are none.

Fortunately, inserting a picture into an existing email is not the only way to get a background for your messages. Outlook also understands stationery, and with stationery, the options are endless. We can, for example, make a background image fixed.

Add a Fixed Background Image to Emails in Outlook 2003

To add a background image to a message in Outlook that does not scroll with the text but is fixed to the canvas:

  • Download the following file to your stationery folder: zfixedbgimg.htm.
  • Open the file in Notepad.
  • Replace ###path to background image file### with the path to the desired background image.
    • The like could read <BODY background="C:\Documents and Settings\lsdoe\My Documents\My Pictures\background.jpg" style="background-attachment:fixed;">, for example.
  • Save the file in Notepad.
  • In Outlook, select Actions | New Mail Message Using | More Stationery... from the menu.
  • Highlight zfixedbgimg.
    • Of course, you can change the file name when saving in Notepad. If you do, the stationery will appear under that name in the list.
  • Click OK.

Further Formatting of Your Background

Of course, you can further customize the display of your background image by adding styles the the style attribute of the BODY tag. Set

  • background-repeat to repeat, repeat-x, repeat-y or no-repeat to change how the image is repeated or
  • background-position to something like top center, bottom right, a pixelated position (0 0 or 10 20) or a position expressed in percent like 15%.

Can I Add a Fixed Background Image in Outlook 2007 or Later?

Unfortunately, this way of fixing a background image does not work in Outlook 2007 or later versions of Outlook (including Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016).

You can still use the template. Outlook will strip the CSS formatting attributes that render the background image absolute.

Add a (Scrolling) Background Image in Outlook

To add a regular background image to a message you are composing in Outlook:

  1. Make sure the message uses HTML or rich-text formatting.
    1. ​Open the Format Text ribbon and make sure HTML or Rich Text is selected in the Format section.
    2. If you send to people who do not use Outlook, do use HTML instead of rich-text.
  2. ​Make sure the text cursor is in the email body section (instead of a header field such as the Subject).
  3. Open the Options ribbon.
  4. Click Page Color in the Themes section.
  5. Select Fill Effects… from the menu that has appeared.
  6. Go to the Picture tab.
  7. Click Select Picture….
  8. Choose a picture from your computer, from OneCrive or, using Bing search, the internet.
  9. Click Insert.
  10. Now click OK.