How to add background image in MS Word

Adding a background image to your document allows your readers to visualize what you’re talking about. It enhances the overall visual appeal of your document, especially when you create marketing materials.

Now, Microsoft Word provides different ways to add a background image to your Word documents. Additionally, there are a lot of editing tools for us to explore to customize background images to match the style and theme of our content. 

Now, there are about four ways to add a background image in MS Word. 

4 Ways to Add a Background Image in MS Word

  • Add a background image using the Insert Pictures dialogue box
  • Add a background image by copying and pasting
  • Add a background image by dragging and dropping
  • Add a background image using Custom Watermark

In general, Microsoft allows you to insert images to any of its Office applications. It is important to understand when to use each method in particular situations. The first three methods are most sensible to use when you want to set an image as a background while easily accessing other features to customize it. Use the fourth method to add a background image and apply it to each and every page of your document. 

Having said that, let’s get started! 

Why Should You Add a Background Image in MS Word?

Images are a great way to help your readers visualize what you’re trying to say, or to give an otherwise boring text-only document some color and life. Marketing materials make use of pictures to attract more readers through visual representations. If you are creating documents to be used as marketing materials, you’ll find adding images an impressive skill to have. Not only does it give your document a visual appeal, but it also makes your document look more professional. 

Now, whatever reasons you may have for adding a background image, you’ll get the same results when you follow the simple steps we laid out here in this guide. However, allow us to give you a list of general reasons for when adding a background image in MS Word is most preferable. 

You’ll want to add a background image to your Word document when: 

  • You want to add a visual appeal to your document. 
  • You want to create templates for company documents.
  • You want to create brochures, flyers, or the likes for marketing purposes.

Of course, these situations are simply general examples and should not be followed strictly. You’ll certainly discover other reasons for when to add background images in your Word document. The instances mentioned above are basic situations where figuring out how to add a background image in MS Word is a useful skill to have. 

Now, here’s how you can add a background image in MS Word.


Method 1: Add a Background Image Using the Insert Pictures dialogue box 

As its name implies, the Insert Pictures dialogue box allows you to add pictures and set it up as a background image. You’ll find this, among other basic tools, in Microsoft Word’s Ribbon. The Ribbon is the primary toolbar of MS Word that contains all of the things you’ll ever need when creating Word documents. 

Here’s how you can access the Insert Pictures dialogue box to add a background image. 

Step 1: Open up a Word document. 

First of all, let’s open up an MS Word file. If you have one already opened, do not hesitate to use that. Also, feel free to create a new document, as this method doesn’t require any content except for the image we’ll use as the background. 

Step 2: Launch the Insert Pictures dialogue box. 

Now that we have a Word document opened, move your cursor to the top-left corner of your window and select the Insert tab. Click on the Pictures button right below it. 

This will open the Insert Pictures dialogue box in the middle of your window. 

Step 3: Insert the image. 

Locate the folder where you saved your image file. Select an image by double-clicking on the image file or by clicking on the Insert button. 

For this example, we will be selecting the file background image in the Pictures folder. 

Tip: If you downloaded an image, you may want to check your Downloads folder first. Otherwise, the Pictures folder is always the best place to start locating images. 

Step 4: Set the picture as the background image. 

Once the image is inserted, you’ll notice that MS Word will place it where your cursor was before Step 3. Do not fret because this is the default. 

Now, right-click on the image and select the Wrap Text option from the Context Menu. Then, select Behind Text on the horizontal drop-down menu option. 

Congratulations! You’ve just added a background image in MS Word. If you want to learn more about how to customize the image to make it look better, we’ve got you covered. Go ahead and visit the Customizing Your Background Image in MS Word section. 


Method 2: Add a Background Image by Copying and Pasting 

Likewise with text, you can copy and paste images across different documents or applications. This method allows you to easily insert pictures, be it from a folder, another document, or application. 

Here’s how you can copy-paste images. 

Step 1: Open up a Word document. 

First, go ahead and open up a Word document. You may also create a blank document if you don’t have one opened yet. Otherwise, feel free to use your own personal document where you need a background image set up. Do not worry about messing it up, as this should not change or delete any of your document content. 

Step 2: Copy-paste the image. 

Once your document is opened, locate the image and right-click on it. Then, select Copy from the Context Menu. Alternatively, you may hit the CTRL + C keys on your keyboard to copy the image seamlessly. 

Now, go back to your document and paste the image. Do this by right-clicking on any part of your document then selecting Paste. Alternatively, you can also press CTRL + V on your keyboard to paste. 

Voila! You’ve successfully inserted an image into your Word document. The steps are the same as the previous method from here on out. 


Method 3: Add a Background Image by Dragging and Dropping

MS Word allows you to drop images onto any of your Word documents. The process is the same as when you drag-and-drop files between folders. This method is the  quickest way to add images to your Word files. 

Here’s how you can do that. 

Step 1: Open up a Word file. 

To get started, let’s open up a Word document. You may opt to use your own personal document if you already have one opened. Don’t worry about messing up your document, as this should not make any changes or delete any of your content. After all, any unwanted changes can be easily reverted by pressing the CTRL + Z keys on your keyboard. 

Step 2: Drag and drop the image. 

With your Word document opened, locate the folder where you saved the image you want to use as the background image. Once located, simply click and hold the image, drag it onto your Word file then let go. 

You can choose any part of your document to drop the image. This will slightly move the text around it, if you have any. Do not fret. This is, by default, how Word inserts images into documents with text in it. 

The steps to set your picture as the background image are exactly the same as the previous method from point onward. 

Congratulations! You’ve just added a background image in Microsoft Word. Check out the Deleting a Background Image in MS Word section we’ve included in this guide to learn how to delete background images.


Method 4: Add a Background Image using Custom Watermark

In this method, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to configure a custom watermark as an image background in your Word document. This is ideal when you want to quickly add an image as it is and make it visible on all pages of your document. 

Here’s how to do that.

Step 1. Open up an MS Word document. 

Before we get started, we’ll need to open up a Word file. Feel free to use your own personal document where you need a background image configured. You may also choose to use an empty document for this method. Your content should neither be changed nor deleted, as we’re only adding an image in the background. 

Step 2. Go to the Design tab. 

In the Ribbon, select the Design tab. Move your mouse to the upper leftmost part of the window and click the Watermark drop-down menu button. This will display a list of options to insert watermarks. Go all the way down the options and select Custom Watermark. This will launch the Printed Watermark dialogue box. 

Step 3. Add the image. 

On the Printed Watermark dialogue box, select the Picture Watermark button among the options. Then, click the Select Picture button. 

This launches the Insert Pictures menu in the middle of your window. Select From a File and locate your image. 

Click the Insert button when done. Click the Cancel button to exit and revert any changes. 

Click the Apply button if you want to see the changes while keeping the dialogue box open. Click the OK button to proceed and exit the dialogue box. Otherwise, click the Close button if you changed your mind. 

There you have it! You’ve just added a background image using a custom watermark in MS Word. 


Deleting a Background Image in MS Word

There will come a time when you need to change your background image. This step requires deleting the current background image first before adding a new one. 

To delete the background image in your Word document, hover over the image until you see the cursor change to a four-point arrow. Then, click the image and press the Delete key on your keyboard. 

Alternatively, you can use the Remove Background button found in the Format tab. Note that the Format tab will only show up after you’ve selected your background image. 

Remember to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Z to revert any unwanted changes. 


Customizing Your Background Image in MS Word

If you’re looking for ways on how to make your background images look prettier, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll guide through how to use different options to make a few color adjustments. 

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most useful functions in the Format tab. 

Adjust Group

Remove Background

Use this when you want to delete your background image. 

Corrections 

Use this when you want to adjust the brightness, contrast, or sharpness of your background image.

Color 

Use this when you want to change the color saturation and tone of your background image to match the theme of your document. 

Artistic Effect

Use this when you want to add a painting-like effect on your background image. 

Compress Pictures

Use this when you want to minimize the overall size of your document. 

Change Picture

Use this when you want to change your background image. 

Reset Picture

Use this when you want to revert all changes made on the background image. 

Size Group

Crop

Use this when you want to crop unwanted areas of your background image. 

Shape Height

Use this when you want to accurately set the height of your background image up to 2 decimal places. 

Shape Width

Use this when you want to accurately set the width of your background image up to 2 decimal places. 

We’re sure you’ve noticed by now that there are way more editing tools in the Format tab than we’ve just covered. We’ll leave it up to you to explore and check out each one of them if you’re up for it. Note that MS Word immediately shows you the changes once you select any of the options so you can have a preview of how it looks. 

Leave us a comment below if you found any interesting add-on to your background image. 


Conclusion 

You’ve finally reached the end of this article. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out how to add a background image in MS Word. Here’s a quick summary of the main topics we’ve covered today. 

Adding a background image gives your readers a better visual presentation so as to generate a good marketing impression. We’ve elaborated on four different methods by showing you the step-by-step process. The first three methods make use of the idea of inserting a picture first then editing it as the background image. The last method employs the use of picture watermarks. 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful! 

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