Recently, I sent a draft article to a friend for review. Although I expected to get a call to discuss the article, I didn’t think we would discuss how I made the Microsoft Office document. Specifically, he wanted to know how I added the “ghost text” or Microsoft Word watermark that read Draft. And with a little more effort, it’s just as easy to create a custom text or picture watermark. You can even add your company logo.
Why Use Watermarks?
Like many people, if I send a business document which is confidential or a draft, I include a watermark. These watermarks add context to the item and convey its status or importance. Moreover, they can also add an implied layer of protection. For example, few people would misinterpret your draft as your final document or forward a confidential document.
There is another group of users that create custom watermarks using an image. This is different than using a logo on a letterhead template because the image spans a larger portion of the page than the header area. These semitransparent items appear in the background and your text sits on top. The document text is clearly readable, but you can see the watermark.
Default Text Watermarks
By default, Microsoft Word has six predefined popular watermarks. These simple text variations include:
- Do Not Copy
The above items are the easiest watermarks to insert into your document.
How to Add a Watermark in Word
Time needed: 5 minutes.
You can either create the watermark first or add later. I prefer writing my document first because I find the watermark can be distracting.
- Write your document. By default, your watermark will show on each page.
- From the main menu, click the Design tab.
- Locate the Page Background group. This section is to the far right.
- Click the Watermark button.
If you just see a small definition box, click the button again.
- A drop-down panel appears with default examples.
Each example includes a slanted and horizontal layout.
- Click the version you prefer.
Your selection will show underneath your text in light gray.
Add Custom Watermark Text
The default items fit most uses. However, there are times when you need something different. Perhaps, a wording change or orientation. In either case, Microsoft Word can accommodate your needs.
- Follow Steps 1-4 in the previous section.
- Scan past the default thumbnails and choose Custom Watermark.
- The Printed Watermark dialog box opens.
- Clear the value from the Text text box and enter your watermark text.
- Adjust the Font, Size, Color and Layout options to suit your style.
- Click Apply.
- Click Close.
Your customized version should show on every page. In my case, it overwrote my previous Draft watermark with My Custom Watermark. As you can see, you’re only allowed one watermark.
Making a Watermark Image
Perhaps, words aren’t enough. Sometimes you want to spruce things up with an image. This could be a simple picture or even a logo. The idea is not to select a picture that competes with your document or consumes your printer ink.
- Find a suitable image. Simplest is probably best.
- Follow steps 1-3 from above.
- On the Printed Watermark dialog, click the radio button for Picture watermark.
- Click the Select Picture button.
- The Insert Picture panel opens.
- Select an insert option and go to your picture location. Microsoft Word allows most image file formats except .SVG.
- Click Apply.
- Click Close.
As with the other examples, your inserted image will appear in the background. By default, Word will do auto-scaling for the best fit.
Whether your preference is text or images, Microsoft Office 365 and Word give you plenty of options without relying on WordArt. Watermarks can be a valuable enhancement to any Microsoft Word document. They help convey the status of a document such as the “Draft” watermark or promote your branding with an image. And when you finally get out of “Draft” mode, there is a Remove Watermark option in the built-in menu.