How to Add Watermark in MS Word

One way or another, we all have seen watermarks scattered over Office documents, PDFs, videos, or photos.

We commonly see the company’s logo, the name of the document owner or the words “Draft” or “Confidential” faintly stamped in the background.

Simply put, a watermark is a text or image that spans over a significantly large portion of each page of a document. It’s superimposed, usually in light gray color, such that both the content and the watermark are clearly visible and readable.

This is also why others call it a “ghost text”.

Centuries back, watermarks were used to identify the manufacturer of the paper, the grade of the paper, or to detect counterfeiting.

Today, we use watermarks for the same main reasons, plus a lot more. With the technology we have now, we actually have more options that are far more customizable to add watermarks.

Microsoft Word offers just that. MS Word watermark feature enables us to add different watermarks easily with just a few clicks.

And, with a little more effort, you can customize them to further add identity to whatever purpose your document serves. 

Now, there are about two ways to add a watermark in MS Word. 

2 Ways to Add Watermark in MS Word

  • Using predefined watermark 
  • Using custom watermark

Whether you want to protect or classify your documents, a watermark is one of the best ways you can do that. We will walk you through each step of these two methods. And, you can rest assured that the steps in this guide are relatively easy to follow as we’ve created it with beginners in mind. 

The method of using predefined watermarks is the quickest way to get the job done. Unfortunately, it’s quite limited to six texts—Confidential, Do Not Copy, Draft, Sample, Urgent, and ASAP. If you need to insert a particular text, for example your company name, then you’ll find the second method more useful. Either way, we’ll cover both these methods in this guide down below. 

So, without any delay, let’s get right to it! 

Why Should You Add a Watermark in MS Word?

You may find it surprising if we told you that adding watermarks on documents has been a practice as early as the 13th century. Back then, watermarks were primarily used as a trademark or to prevent forgery. Today, it continues to be an effective way to give your document an identity, classification, and protection. 

In today’s transactions, thousands of documents are being processed, transferred, and stored every day. And, believe or not, many of these documents end up in the wrong place. Some are misinterpreted and misused. Others are altered and viewed by mistake. A few problems that could arise when you are managing different sorts of documents are: 

  • A draft document being perceived as final. 
  • A confidential document being forwarded to the wrong person. 
  • An urgent document being classified, sent or handled without urgency. 

Luckily, Microsoft Word helps us to solve this problem by easily adding a watermark to your documents. Now, here are a couple of situations for when to watermark your documents. You’ll want to watermark your documents when: 

  • You want to convey your document’s status.
  • You want your reader to handle your document with confidentiality and/or urgency. 
  • You want to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. 
  • You want to protect your document from plagiarism and forgery. 
  • You want to brand your documents as a way of digital marketing. 
  • You want to convey identity and ownership to a document. 

These instances are merely general examples and should not be followed strictly. We’re confident that you’ll discover other reasons as you use this function in the future. 

Adding watermarks to your document helps your readers avoid confusion and misinterpretations. This is why you should learn how to add watermarks in your documents. You can easily avoid trivial mistakes that could otherwise be a big problem later on. 

Now, here’s how you can add a watermark in your Word document. 

Method 1: Using Predefined Watermarks

This guide will walk you through the steps of using ready-to-use watermarks in MS Word. This is by far the fastest way to watermark your document. 

Here’s how you can do that. 

Step 1: Open up an MS Word document. 

First off, we need to open a Word document. Now, since we are simply adding a watermark in the background, we can use a blank document for this one. If you have a document already opened, that will do just fine. Feel free to use that, as this method will not change or delete anything in the content. 

Step 2: Go to the Design tab. 

Now that you have your document opened, go to the Ribbon and select the Design tab. You’ll find this on the left side of the Ribbon. 

Step 3: Click the Watermark button. 

On the rightmost part of the Ribbon, click the Watermark button in the Page Background group. This will open a drop-down menu showing different watermark templates. 

Step 4: Select a predefined watermark. 

On the drop-down menu, select a predefined watermark in the selection. You can scroll down to view more options. By default, you should see three categories namely confidential, disclaimers, and urgent. 

For our example, we used the Do Not Copy watermark under the Confidential category. 

Voila! You’ve just added a watermark in your Word document. 

Method 2: Using Custom Watermarks

There are times when you need a particular text stamped as a watermark in the background of your document. Microsoft Word has got just the right tool for that. This feature of MS Word allows you to customize your watermark by typing in the text you want.

Here’s how you can do that.

Step 1: Open up a Word document. 

To get started, we need to open a Word document. It’s not necessary to have any content in your document for this method. However, feel free to use your own personal document if you already have one open. Don’t worry about messing up your file, as this will not change or delete any of your content. 

Step 2: Go to the Design tab. 

Go to the Ribbon and select the Design tab. Move your mouse cursor to the top-left corner of the window, then click the Watermark button found in the Page Background group

Step 3: Click Custom Watermark. 

In the drop-down menu, scan past the predefined watermarks and select Custom Watermark

This will open the Printed Watermark Dialogue box. Now, select the Text Watermark button and type in the words you want as watermark in the Text: field

Click the Apply button if you want to preview the changes and keep editing. Select OK to apply the changes and exit the dialogue box. Otherwise, click the Close button to cancel and revert the changes. 

Congratulations on successfully adding a custom watermark on your Word document. You may have noticed that there are a lot more options in the Text Watermark dialogue box. If you’re up for it, then keep reading to learn how to customize your watermark using those options. 

Editing and Deleting a Watermark in MS Word 

In this section, we will walk you through the steps of editing and deleting your watermarks in MS Word. 

Editing Watermarks

If you want to edit your watermarks, you will need to reopen the Printed Watermark dialogue box. To do this, simply go to the Design tab and click the Watermark button. Then, choose the Custom Watermark option from the drop-down menu. 

Once the dialogue box is displayed, you should see that the Text Watermark option is selected. Below it are the options you can use to modify your watermark. 

Here’s a quick rundown of each of them. 


Use this when you want to change the language of your text. 


Use this when you want to change the words in your watermark. 


Use this when you want to specify the font to use in your watermark. 


Use this when you want to specify the size of your watermark. 


Use this when you want to specify the color of your watermark. By default, the Semitransparent box is selected to lighten the color shade. Untick this if you want a darker shade. 


Use this when you want to change the orientation to diagonal or horizontal. 

Select Apply if you want to see how it looks like while keeping the dialogue box open. Select OK to accept changes and exit the dialogue box. Otherwise, click the Close button to cancel. 

  1. Click the Apply button to preview and keep editing. 
  2. Click the OK button to apply changes and exit the dialogue box.
  3. Click the Close button to exit. 

Note that the Apply button is only enabled when you’re creating a new watermark or editing a previously added one.

Deleting Watermarks

To delete the watermark on your document, simply go to the Design tab and click the Watermark button.

Move your cursor to the bottom of the drop-down menu and select Remove Watermark

We have covered removing a watermark in a bit more depth in this post.

Adding an Image Watermark 

In some cases, you might find it a useful skill to add an image watermark. This is usually true when you want your company logo to serve as the watermark of your document. Or, if you simply want to give an otherwise boring text watermark some style. 

For this example, we used an image version of the watermark ‘Confidential’. We highly recommend that you prepare the image you want to use beforehand so you can easily follow the steps. 

Here’s how you can add an image watermark in MS Word. 

On the Printed Watermark dialogue box, select the Picture watermark option then click the Select Picture button. This will open the Insert Pictures menu

Now, click the From a file button to browse in your computer. 

Go to the folder where you saved the image and double click on it to insert. 

Click the Apply button if you want to preview the changes while keeping the dialogue box open. Click the OK button to accept changes and exit the dialogue box. Otherwise, click the Close button to revert any changes. 

The watermarked document should look like: 

There you have it! You’ve just added an image watermark in your Word document. 


There are a number of reasons why you might need to add a watermark in your document. A basic example could be a situation when you want to classify your documents based on their status like confidential, urgent, or draft. Watermarking also allows you to add identity or branding to your document. 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful! 

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