What is a Watermark in Microsoft Word 2016, Word 2019, or Word for Office 365?

If you find yourself wondering “what is a watermark in Microsoft Word” then it’s likely that you have been exploring the options in the program. Many word processing applications allow you to create watermarks or set a background image, and Microsoft Word is no exception.

There are a number of formatting options that you can apply to a Word document, and some of those options affect the page background.

One of these options is called a watermark, and it comes in a variety of styles. You can have a text watermark, a picture watermark and a handful of other custom watermark options that let you accomplish your design goals.

But as to the question of what a watermark is in Microsoft Word, then the answer is that a watermark is a design, either text or image, that appears behind document content on each page.

The watermark text or watermark image will have a washout appearance to it. This is a semitransparent formatting option. It has the effect of keeping the watermark information visible, while not making the document content difficult to read.

How to Add a Watermark in Microsoft Word

The steps in this article were performed in Microsoft Word for Office 365, but will also work in other versions of Microsoft Office, including Word 2016 or Word 2019.

Step 1: Open your Microsoft Word document.

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

select the Design tab

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

click the Watermark button

Step 4: Select one of the default watermark options from the drop-down menu, or click the Custom Watermark button if you wish to add a picture watermark, such as a company logo. Note that there is a Remove Watermark option on this menu that you can use later if you decide to remove your watermark.

what is a watermark in Microsoft Word

Step 5 (optional): Check the circle to the left of Picture watermark, then click the Select Picture button if you wish to add a pictures as your watermark. You can also check or uncheck the Washout option, depending on your preference. Once you’re done, be sure to click the Apply button.

how to add a watermark in Microsoft Word 2016, Word 2019, or Word for Office 365

Additional Information About How to Insert Watermarks in Microsoft Word

  • Watermarks that you choose will be added to each page of your document.
  • Additional page customization options can be found on the Layout tab (or Page Layout tab in older versions of Word.)
  • The default watermark options include things like “Do Not Copy”, “Confidential”, “ASAP”, “Urgent” and more.
  • When you are designing your own watermark, such as a custom text watermark or a watermark from a picture file, it’s likely that you will want to experiment with the other options on the Custom Watermark menu until you achieve the desired appearance.

Find out how to remove a watermark in Microsoft Excel if you have a spreadsheet that someone else created and you need to remove text or an image from the page background.