How to Create a Watermark in Microsoft Publisher

A watermark is a transparent image or bit of text superimposed on the background of a document. Watermarks are often gray but can be other colors, as long as the color doesn't interfere with the document's readability.

Most contemporary publishing applications include a watermark creation feature. Here you'll learn how to add a watermark to your Microsoft Publisher documents.

The instructions in this article pertain to Publisher for Microsoft 365, Publisher 2019, Publisher 2016, and Publisher 2013. 

Why Use a Watermark?

Watermarks have several good uses. For one thing, you can quickly identify the status of your document with a large bit of text such as, "DRAFT," "Revision 2," or another term that identifies the version of a document.

This use is particularly helpful when several readers are reviewing drafts; it's better than footer notations, which are often overlooked.

Watermarking is also useful for protecting your authorship status when a document is widely distributed, especially online. In such cases, you can use a watermark to identify yourself as the author; if you choose, you can incorporate a trademark or copyright notice as well. 

Finally, a watermark can be used decoratively to enhance your document's design.

Adding a Text Watermark in Microsoft Publisher

Adding a text-based watermark to a Microsoft Publisher document is easy.

  1. With the document open, select Page Design.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Page Design tab highlighted
  2. In the Page Background group, select Master Pages > Edit Master Pages.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Edit Master Pages command highlighted
  3. The Master Page is displayed. Select Insert.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Insert tab highlighted
  4. Select Draw Text Box.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Draw Text Box command highlighted
  5. Draw a box that's about the size you have in mind (you can easily change the size later), then type in the desired text. 

    Publisher with Master Pages and watermark text box displayed
  6. Select the text you've typed, then use your pointer to right-click. Access the menu to change the font, font size, color, or other text characteristics. 

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the text formatting tools highlighted
  7. Select Master Page > Close Master Page.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the
  8. View your document and switch back and forth between it and the Master Page to make any needed modifications.

    Publisher with watermark added to document
  9. Save your document as you normally would.

Adding an Image Watermark in Microsoft Publisher

Adding a graphic-based watermark in Publisher is just as easy. 

  1. With your Publisher document open, select PAGE DESIGN.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Page Design tab highlighted
  2. Select Master Pages > Edit Master Pages.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Edit Master Pages command highlighted
  3. The Master Page is displayed. Select Insert.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Insert tab highlighted
  4. Select either Pictures or Online Pictures. 

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Pictures and Online Pictures insert options highlighted
  5. Locate and select the picture you want.

    Publisher with image inserted onto Master Page
  6. Drag the picture handles to adjust the image size.

    If you want to maintain the same ratio of height to width, hold down the Shift key as you drag one of the corner handles. 

  7. To make other modifications, select the image and use your pointer to right-click. You can make changes to the color, size, transparency and other characteristics.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the image options highlighted
  8. Select Master Page > Close Master Page.

    A screenshot of Microsoft Publisher with the Close Master Page button highlighted
  9. View your document and switch back and forth between it and the Master Page to make any needed modifications.

    Publisher document with watermark image inserted
  10. Save your document as you normally would.