To see this process in action, watch the video that accompanies this post.

Most people have seen a document with a watermark. Confidential, Draft and Do Not Copy are commonly used watermarks. The purpose of a watermark is to visually alert the reader of a particular status related to this document. Attaching text like confidential or draft into the background of the document ensures the mark stays with the document even if copies are made. By contrast, having this information in an email or on the outside of an envelope does not protect the documents inside once they are removed from the email or envelope.

Another benefit of watermarks is that they can be added quickly and cause minimal distraction to the document context.

How to Add Standard & Custom Watermarks to Documents


There are two main types of watermarks to add to documents:  standard and custom. Custom watermarks allow you to use an image as the watermark as well as customizing the format of standard watermarks.

Adding standard watermarks

Standard watermarks consist of the following text choices:

  • Confidential
  • Do not Copy
  • Draft
  • Sample
  • ASAP
  • Urgent

To add a watermark:

  • Open Microsoft Word.
  • Create a new document or open an existing document.
  • Click the "Design" tab.
  • Click on the arrow under "Watermark".
  • In the drop-down menu, select from one of the default watermarks available. There are three sections to choose from: Confidential, Disclaimers and Urgent.
  • Once a standard watermark has been chosen, it will appear on each page in the current document.
  • To remove a watermark, simply click the "Remove Watermark" button under the watermark menu.

Adding custom watermarks

Custom watermarks include adding images as the watermark and customizing the format of standard watermarks. Customizing the format of standard watermarks includes modifying the:

  • Language
  • Font
  • Size
  • Color
  • Transparency
  • Layout

To add a custom watermark:

  • Click the "Design" tab.
  • Click on the arrow under "Watermark" and click the "Custom Watermark" button.
    • In the Printed Watermark window, use drop down menus to change the language, text, font type, font size, color, transparency or layout as desired.
    • While making changes click the "Apply" button to see how the changes will appear.
    • Once all desired changes have been made, click "OK" to accept the changes and close the Printed Watermark customization window.

    To add an image as the watermark:

    • Click the "Design" tab.
    • Click on the arrow under "Watermark" and click the "Custom Watermark" button.
    • In the Printed Watermark window, click the radio button next to "Picture Watermark".
    • Click the button to "Work Offline" if you plan to use an image from your local computer. Otherwise, wait for image selections to load.
    • Select an image to use as the watermark and click "Insert".
      • If desired, modify the scale or washout of the image.
    • Click "Apply" to see the changes.
    • Click "OK" once the watermark appears as desired.

    Watermarks are an efficient feature for marking documents in a way that keeps important information with the document, such as protecting the document from being copied without permission. Custom watermarks allow images to be used, such as a business logo or marketing theme. Adding either standard or custom watermarks can be done within minutes and there are various customizations available to apply to text and image watermarks.

    As always, knowing how to utilize included features is key in getting the most out of our software as well as saving time and energy.