How to Add a Background Picture to a Microsoft Word Document

With Microsoft Word 2013, it's quite easy to insert a picture to use as a background for any document. To add a background picture to a single page, with full control over its tone, color and transparency, use the Insert Picture option. If you want the same image to appear on every page as a semi-transparent watermark, use the Watermark option under the Design tab.

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Customize your own watermark in Word 2013.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Manually Inserting Background Images

Step

Launch your Word document and go to the page where you want the picture to appear. Click the "Insert Menu" and then select "Pictures" to get an image from your computer or "Online Pictures" to get an image online, including royalty-free images from the Office.com Clip Art Gallery.

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Insert picture choices are under the Insert menu.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.
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Send the image behind the text.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Click the "Layout Options" icon located beside your newly-inserted image. Select the "Behind Text" option.

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Resize the photo.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Resize the image as needed by dragging the square "Handles" on its border. Dragging a corner "Handle" keeps the picture's aspect ratio intact.

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Formatting options are under the Picture Tools Format menu.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Click the "Format" menu, then the small "Dialog Box Launcher" beside Picture Styles. The Picture Styles dialog box opens on the right of your document.

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Click the "Format Picture" icon.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Select the "Picture" icon in the Format Picture menu. Expand the Picture Corrections, Picture Color and Crop sections by clicking the Arrow icon beside each title.

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Click the "Presets" menu.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Adjust the brightness and contrast, color saturation and tone, or crop the image as desired. Clicking the "Presets" menu in the Picture Corrections section, or the "Recolor" menu in the Picture Color section give you a variety of preset image settings to choose.

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Adjust the brightness and contrast.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Adjust the brightness and contrast as necessary after selecting any preset to tweak the image's appearance. Make sure the image is bright enough that the text in front of it is clearly legible.

Adding a Watermark

Step

Launch your Word document. Click the "Design" tab, select "Watermark" and click the "Custom Watermark" option.

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Select the "Custom Watermark" option.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.
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Select "Picture Watermark."
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Click the "Picture Watermark" option and then click the "Select Picture" button. You can select from pictures on your computer or pictures online, including royalty-free Office.com Clip Art pictures.

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Use the "Washout" and "Semitransparent" options.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Step

Click the "Washout" and "Semitransparent" check boxes to select them if they aren't checked already. Click "OK." The selected image is added to every page in your document as a watermark.