How to Add a Word Background Image

If you’re making a document in Microsoft Word that will be prominently featuring visual elements, such as a newsletter or a flyer, then you may consider adding a background image to the document as well.

Fortunately Microsoft Word gives you the ability to add a background image or a watermark to a document, and you can even use your own custom image. Our guide below will show you how to add a background image in Word so that you can achieve the desired appearance for whatever you are creating in the application.

A similar technique can be used to add watermarks in Excel. Our Excel remove page 1 watermark article can instruct you on how to delete watermarks in your spreadsheet.

How to Add a Picture to the Background in Microsoft Word

The steps in this article were performed in the Microsoft Office 365 version of Microsoft Word that is included with a subscription. However, these steps will also work in most other versions of Microsoft Word.

We will be adding the image as a watermark in the steps below so that it appears on each page of the document. You can read our Google Docs – set background image article to see how to perform this action in Googles word processing application instead.

Step 1: Open your document in Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Select the Design tab at the top of the window.

click the design tab

Step 3: Click the Watermark button in the Page Background section of the ribbon.

click the watermark button

Step 4: Choose the Custom Watermark option at the bottom of the menu.

select the custom watermark option

Step 5: Click the circle to the left of Picture watermark, then click the Select Picture button.

choose the picture watermark option

Step 6: Browse to the picture that you wish to set as your background, select it, then click the Insert button.

find and select the picture to use for the background image

Step 7: Click the Scale dropdown menu and choose the scale for the image, select whether you wish to washout the image, then click the OK button.

how to add word background image

Additional Notes

  • Adding a background image to your Word document in this manner is the same process that you would use to add a watermark.
  • After you have added the watermark to your document you can make some additional adjustments to it as well. For example, you can apply fill effects to the watermark, or you can elect to change the page color in the document.
  • A Microsoft Word document won’t be able to print with a page color by default. If you would like to include a background color on your page when printing then you will also need to change a setting on the Display tab of the Word Options window. You will need to click the check box to the left of Print background color and images.
  • After you add the background picture, you may note that it is either too big or too small. If you select the Scale drop-down menu you will see a list of sizing options that you can use to scale the background image in the page layout.
  • Many pictures that you add to your document in this manner will take up the entire page. If that’s not the desired result, then the point above about scaling the watermark is an effective solution.
  • There are many places that you can find pictures to use in your document. You can take a screenshot with the Print Screen button, you can download a picture from Google Images, or you could create your own picture using the camera on your smartphone.

Are there comments in your document that you don’t want to include when you print? Find out how to hide comments in Word and only print the content of the document.