How to Make a Faded Picture Background in Microsoft Publisher

By Aaron Parson

Adding a background image to your Publisher 2013 creation helps to grab attention, but if you don't fade the image by applying transparency, it'll overwhelm the actual content of your publication. To start, insert a picture with the **Pictures** button in the Insert tab, and then use one of two methods to fit the image: Either use the **Apply to Background** option or resize and position the image manually for more precise control.

Apply to Background Method

Step 1

Right-click the image and choose **Format Picture**.

Step 2

Drag the **Transparency** slider, use the arrows or type a number to set the image's transparency. The more transparent the image, the easier it is to read text over your background. Click **OK** to fade the image.

Step 3

Right-click the image, choose **Apply to Background** and pick **Fill** to fill the page's background with the faded image.

Step 4

Select the original picture, which now sits on top of the background, and press **Del** to delete it, retaining the faded background image.

Manual Method

Step 1

Drag a picture after inserting it to position it. Drag the handles on its border to stretch and resize it. Resize the image either to fill the entire page to the border lines, or to fill the desired portion of the page.

Step 2

Open the drop-down menu on the **Send Backward** button on the Home tab and choose **Send to Back** to move the image behind all other items on the page. If you insert the image prior to designing the rest of the publication, you won't need this step.

Step 3

Right-click the image and choose **Format Picture**. Move the **Transparency** slider or enter a number to set the level of fading. You won't see the change take effect until you press **OK**.

Tips & Warnings

  • As an alternative to picking an image from your computer, click **Online Pictures** to search for images on the Web. By default, Publisher searches for images with Creative Commons licensing, some of which do not permit commercial use, so check the image's source before publication.
  • Use a transparency of a least 50 percent to make sure other content appears clearly atop your background.
  • Stretching images can make them distorted or blurry. If possible, use an image that fits without stretching.
  • A background image can add significantly to the amount of ink used per page, increasing costs.