Today, we’re going to insert and modify image watermarks in Microsoft Word.
This is the second in a three-part series about watermarks in Microsoft Word. In the first part, we inserted and modified text watermarks. In the third part, we will insert text and image watermarks on specific pages in Word.
Image watermarks can be anything from logos to background pictures or graphics used for security, branding, or design.
This tutorial is available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
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The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps will also work in Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013. However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions of the software.
How to Insert Image Watermarks in Microsoft Word
These steps show how to insert image watermarks on every page of your document.
- Select the Design tab in the ribbon.
- Select Watermark in the Page Background group.
- Select Custom Watermark from the drop-down menu.
- Select the Picture watermark button in the Printed Watermark dialog box.
- Select the Select Picture button.
- Select From a file in the Insert Picture dialog box to locate an image stored on your computer.
Alternatively, you can choose Bing Image Search to search for an image online or OneDrive to locate an image stored in the cloud.
The Insert Picture dialog box will close automatically after you make your selection.
- Find and select your image in the second Insert Picture dialog box, and then select the Insert button.
- (Optional) Select a scale (sizing) option.
- (Optional) Select Washout to lower your image’s color intensity. (The brightness and contrast can be customized, as shown in step 7 in the modification section below.)
- Select the OK button to close the Printed Watermark dialog box.
Your image watermark should appear in your document.
How to Modify Image Watermarks in Microsoft Word
These steps show how to modify the size, position, and color options for an existing image watermark.
Important Note: Each time you add a watermark, it replaces the existing watermark. So, if you want to replace your watermark, repeat all the steps in the section above.
- Double-click the top of any page to open the Header & Footer tab. (In Word, watermarks are part of the header even though they typically appear in the middle of the page.)
- Hover your cursor over the watermark until your cursor becomes two crossed arrows. Then, double-click to select the watermark.
Small, gray adjustment handles (squares and circles) will appear when the watermark is selected.
Important Note: The selection process can be a bit temperamental, so you may have to try more than once to reveal the adjustment handles.
Resizing and Repositioning
- Select, hold, and drag the adjustment handles to change the size of your watermark. (The top, center handle tilts the watermark to the left and right.)
- To reposition your watermark, hover your cursor over the watermark until the cursor becomes two crossed arrows (see figure 12). Then, click, hold, and drag your watermark to a new position.
- Right-click the watermark with the crossed-arrow cursor, and then select Format AutoShape/Picture from the shortcut menu.
- (Optional) Select an option from the Color menu in the Format Picture dialog box:
- Automatic (This option is usually a washout.)
- Washout (This option reduces color intensity.)
- Black & White
- (Optional) Adjust the Brightness and Contrast, as necessary.
- Select the Reset button to return the watermark to the default settings.
- Select the Compress button to reduce the image’s resolution or delete cropped areas in order to minimize the file size for printing or web display.
- Select the OK button to close the Format Picture dialog box.
Additional Picture Format Options
- (Optional) Explore the Picture Format tab for additional options such as Shadow Effects. (Note that this tab only appears when an image watermark or other image is selected.)
Finalize Your Modifications
- Select the Header & Footer tab (see figure 11).
- Select the Close Header and Footer button.
Your watermark modifications should take effect immediately.
If you need to delete your watermark, see “How to Delete Watermarks in Microsoft Word” in the first tutorial in this series.
Updated March 06, 2022