How to Add a Fixed Background Image to Emails in Outlook

Make an Outlook email background stick with stationery

Email envelope with smiling message bubble on white background

CalypsoArt/Getty Images 

Spruce up your Outlook emails with a background picture. Apply a background image to an individual email message or use the built-in themes to apply the same background to every message you send.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Office 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, and Outlook 2003.

Add a Background Image to a Single Message in Outlook

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

The background image is only applied to the current message window.

  1. ​Go to the Format Text tab and, in the Format group, select either HTML or Rich Text.

    If you send email to people who do not use Outlook, use HTML instead of rich-text.

    Screenshot of HTML on Format Text tab
  2. ​Place the text cursor in the message area (instead of a header field such as the Subject).

  3. Go to the Options tab.

    Screenshot of Options tab in Outlook
  4. In the Themes group, select Page Color.

  5. Select Fill Effects.

    Screenshot of Page Color drop-down
  6. In the Fill Effects dialog box, go to the Picture tab.

  7. Choose Select Picture.

    Screenshot of Picture tab
  8. Select where the image file is located. You can insert a picture From a file on your computer, from your OneDrive cloud storage, or from a Bing Image Search online.

    Screenshot of Insert Pictures
  9. Choose a picture, then select Insert.

    Screenshot of Insert button
  10. Select OK to insert the image.

Use Stationery to Add the Same Background Image to All Messages 

Stationery can give your email messages a uniform appearance as they will all have the same background. You only apply the stationery once and it appears as the background of all your outgoing email messages.

HTML must be used as the message format to apply stationery.

  1. Go to the File tab and choose Options.

  2. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select Mail.

    Screenshot of Mail tab
  3. Select Stationery and Fonts.

    Screenshot of Stationery and Fonts button
  4. In the Signatures and Stationery dialog box, go to the Personal Stationery tab and select Theme.

    Screenshot of Theme button on Signatures and Stationery
  5. In the Theme or Stationery dialog box, go to the Choose a Theme list and select a theme. A preview of the stationery, font colors, and graphics appears in the Sample of theme section.

    Screenshot of theme sample
  6. Choose the attributes you want to apply, such as Active Graphics and Background Image.

    Options that are stationery only will not have additional options.

  7. Select OK to apply the stationery.

Add a Fixed Background Image to Emails in Outlook 2003

You can add a background image from your computer to a message in Outlook that does not scroll with the text but is fixed to the canvas.

  1. Download the following file to your stationery folder: zfixedbgimg.htm.

  2. Open Notepad. Select File > Open and navigate to the downloaded file to open it in Notepad.

  3. Replace ###path to background image file### with the path to the image on your computer that you want to use as a background image.It might look like <BODY background="C:\Documents and Settings\lsdoe\My Documents\My Pictures\background.jpg" style="background-attachment:fixed;">, for example.

  4. Save the file in Notepad.

  5. In Outlook, select Actions > New Mail Message Using > More Stationery.

  6. Highlight zfixedbgimg.

    If you can change the file name when saving in Notepad, the stationery appears under that name in the list.

  7. Select OK.

Further Formatting of Your Background

Customize the display of your background image by adding styles the style attribute of the BODY tag.

  1. Set background-repeat to repeat, repeat-x, repeat-y or no-repeat to change how the image is repeated.

  2. Set 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%.