How to create a watermark in Microsoft Word

Watermarking in all versions of Microsoft Word is an incredibly useful feature for communicating the business nature and constraints of a document. The most common examples are to indelibly mark a document as confidential, private or draft. As Microsoft Word allows you to use pictures as a watermark, you can use a company logo or signature picture to help readers know the originator and owner of a document.

The creation of a watermark in Microsoft Word 2010 and Word 2013 (which at time of writing comes with Office 365) is exactly the same with one small location difference.

Here's how to place a watermark on every page in a document.

Once you have opened your document:-

  1. In Word 2010, click on the Page Layout tab (in Word 2013 click on the Design tab)
  2. In the ribbon, click on Watermark. A vertical scroll list of six watermarks will appear (Confidential, Do Not Copy, Draft, Sample, ASAP and Urgent)
  3. Select the watermark that you wish to use.

The above screenshot shows the steps to create a watermark in Microsoft Word 2010. As you can see in thescreen shotbelow the steps to create a watermark in Microsoft Word 2013 is exactly the same as Word 2010 apart from the location of the Watermark icon, which is now on the Word Design tab.

word2013Watermark

The standard textual watermarks provided by Microsoft Word are good for the majority of occasions. However, you may wish to use the watermark for other purposes such as to brand every page using special text, with an emblem, or company logo picture. Microsoft Word, enables you to insert customised texts and pictures for watermarks. Here's how:

To create a watermark using a picture or customised text

  1. Click on Page Layout tab (Word 2010) or the Design tab (Word 2013)
  2. In the ribbon, click on Watermark. A vertical scroll list of six watermarks will appear with a set of menu options below.
  3. From the menu options, select Custom Watermark. The Printed Watermark dialogue box will appear asking you whether you would like to use a picture or customise the text.


In thePrinted Watermark dialogue box, we will use the customised text option.

  1. Select the Text drop down to see if the customised text already exists in the library. If not, type your own text.
  2. Experiment with the font, font size, colour, layout and transparency to see what looks best for your document.

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Tip: Avoid using a dark colour with no transparency as it will cause readability problems as shown in our comparison.

Watermarks are a useful feature in Word, especially when letting readers know whether a document is purely a draft document and so will need editing, or whether the document is confidential and the information not to be disclosed.