Adding Watermarks to Your Word Document

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Caiaimage/Martin Barraud on Getty Images

Watermarks were originally faint imprints on paper that could only be seen at a specific angle. This process was designed to prevent counterfeiting and is still used today.  Today, digital watermarks are also added to photos, films and audio files to show a copyright by the owner of the object.  A watermark is often a faded image or text used as a background of a document. It is meant to enhance, but not be the focal point.

A watermark can be a valuable addition to your Word document - whether you want to enhance the appearance of the document by adding a seal or image or whether you want to add a text watermark that identifies the document contents as a draft or confidential information, the watermark feature in Word is a definite asset for intermediate to advanced users of Word.

Inserting Text Watermarks in Word – Option 1

To add a watermark to your document, you must display your document in either Print Layout or Normal View.

  1. From the Format menu, select Background and then Printed Watermark
  2. In the Printed Watermark dialog box, click the radio button beside Text Watermark
  3. In the Text drop-down box, select the text you would like to use for the watermark
  4. You can use the Font, Size, and Color drop-down boxes to specify font formatting for the watermark text
  5. Make sure the box next to Semitransparent is checked so that the watermark text doesn't interfere with the document text
  1. You can change the orientation of the text by selecting either Diagonal or Horizontal beside the Layout label
  2. Once you have selected your watermark text and applied the formatting options, click OK

The watermark will be applied to your document; you should be able to see it on the screen and when you print the document.

Inserting Picture Watermarks in Word – Option 2

  1. Click Page Layout in the menu ribbon.
  2. In the Page Background section, click Watermark.
  3. Select Custom Watermark from the dropdown list.
  4. Click Picture Watermark.
  5. In the Printed Watermark dialog box, click Select Picture and navigate to your photo file.
  6. Select the photo and click Insert.
  7. Word will automatically scale the image to your document. You may also use the Scale box to adjust the size of the image manually.
  8. To lighten your image, select Washout.
  9. When you’re done making your changes, click Apply and then OK.

Customize your Watermark Text

While Word offers a variety of options for watermark text, most of which will suit the average user’s needs, you are not limited to the text specified in the Printed Watermark dialog box. In fact, you can use any text you would like for your document’s watermark.

To use custom text for your watermark, follow the same steps for creating a text watermark.

Instead of selecting text from the Text drop-down box, simply type in your custom text. When you click OK, the your custom text will appear as a watermark.

Change Watermark Location and Position

You are limited in your options for inserting picture watermarks in your document.

Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of specifying the position of the watermark on the page, it will be centered vertically and horizontally.

The majority of people will probably want their watermarks in the dead center of the page, but some might find this a little boring, not to mention restrictive. Those who want to add a little more creative flair might want to experiment with the positioning of the watermark on the page. Fortunately, there is a way to get around the restrictions on placement. If you have a photo or graphics program, you can use it to add white space to the edges of your picture.

The blank portions won’t print. But Word considers them part of the image, so they can be used as spacers that will push the image to one or more side of the page. 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.

Insert Watermark in Word for Mac

A watermark is a handy way to provide information about a document. Use one to indicate that a printed document is a draft copy. Or use a watermark to indicate that a document is confidential.

Of course, you can also use watermarks to add a professional touch to your work. For example, you can add your company's logo to letters, reports and other important documents.

Fortunately, it is easy to add a watermark to your Mac Word documents, if you know where to look.  To insert a watermark in Word Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Insert menu
  2. Select Watermark
  3. Specify whether you'd like to add a picture or text watermark
  4. Specify your other options, such as opacity and font size
  5. Click OK