Adding a Watermark in Word

Watermarks found on the US $100 bill
A watermark will help you protect your images. Frank Cezus / Getty Images

You have a couple of options for inserting watermarks in your Microsoft Word documents. You can control the size, transparency, color, and angle of text watermarks, but you don't have as much control over image watermarks.

Adding a Text Watermark

Oftentimes, you'll want to distribute a document that isn't quite finished to your co-workers, for example, for their feedback. To avoid confusion, it is wise to mark any document that isn't in a finished state as a draft document. You can do this by placing a large text watermark centered on each page.

  1. Open a document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Click the Design tab on the ribbon and select Watermark to open the Insert Watermark dialog box.
  3. Click the radio button next to Text.
  4. Select DRAFT from the suggestions in the drop-down menu.
  5. Select a font and size, or select Auto size. Click the boxes next to Bold and Italic to apply these styles if applicable.
  6. Use the Transparency slider to choose a transparency level.
  7. Use the Font Color menu to change the color from the default light gray to another color.
  8. Click next to either Horizontal or Diagonal.

As you enter your selections, the large thumbnail in the dialog box displays the effects of your choices and positions the large word DRAFT over sample text. Click OK to apply the watermark to your document. Later, when it is time to print the document, go back to the Insert Watermark dialog box and click No Watermark > OK to remove the watermark. 

Adding an Image Watermark

If you want a ghosted image in the background of the document, you can add an image as a watermark.

  1. Click the Design tab on the ribbon and select Watermark to open the Insert Watermark dialog box.
  2. Click the radio button next to Picture.
  3. Click Select Picture and locate the image you want to use.
  4. Next to Scale, leave the setting at Auto or select one of the sizes in the drop-down menu.
  5. Click the box next to Washout to use the image as a watermark.
  6. Click OK to save your changes.

Changing the Position of a Watermark Image

You don't have much control over the position and transparency of an image when it is used as a watermark in Word. If you have image editing software, you can work around this problem by adjusting the transparency in your software (and not click Washout in Word) or by adding blank space to one or more sides of an image, so it appears to be placed off center when it is added to Word.

For example, if you want the watermark in the bottom right corner of the page, add white space to the top and left sides of the image in your image editing software. The drawback to doing this is it might take a lot of trial and error to position the watermark exactly how you want it to appear. 

However, if you plan on using the watermark as part of a template, the process is worth your time.