Word Page Background

A background or a page color in Word is primarily used to create a more interesting effect for viewing. Most documents are rather boring, some black text on white paper. That’s the way it should be though because most documents don’t require special graphics and colors. However, when a document requires more than some black text on a white background, Word offers many visual possibilities. You can use gradients, patterns, pictures, solid colors or textures.

Setting a Background Color

Using Word 2010, you’ll find these options on the Page Layout tab in the Page Background group. Specifically, the Page Color option lets you change the color of the background. To add color to a document’s background, you’ll work as follows:

  1. Select the “Design” tab.
  2. In the “Page Background” area, select “Page Color“.
  3. Choose a desired color.

Setting a Watermark

A watermark is a faded, background image that displays behind the text in a document. It can be used to indicate a document’s status (confidential, draft, etc.) or to add a company logo. We’ll show you how to add watermarks to documents in Word 2013.

  1. Select the “Design” tab.
  2. In the “Page Background” area, select “Watermark“.
  3. Choose the watermark you wish to use.

If you’d rather create your own text watermark, at the bottom of the watermark gallery click Custom Watermark, then click Text watermark, and in the Text box, type the text you want. You can try different fonts, layouts, sizes, and colors while you’re at it.

Setting an Image for a Background

The process for adding a picture in Word 2007/2010/2013 to a document’s background is similar to inserting a picture into an AutoShape - you use the Fill Effects option. You’ll use the same Page Color option on the Page Layout tab (in the Page Background group) to add a picture, as follows:

  1. Click the Page Color option and choose Fill Effects.
  2. Click the Picture tab.
  3. Click Select Picture.
  4. Locate the picture you want to insert and click Insert.
  5. Click OK.

Removing the picture isn’t exactly intuitive: choose No Color from the Page Color dropdown.

The options to put text in front of an image is a bit limited in Microsoft Word, as it’s not a true publishing software package. However, you can use this little trick.

  1. Select “Insert” > “Pictures“, then choose the picture you would like to use.
  2. Select “Insert” > “WordArt” the select the type of WordArt you would like to use.
  3. A box is created that you can drag anywhere you want, including in front of an image. It’s not a true background, but it works for some situations.

Note that document background never prints by default. The reason a background color is not printed, is because Word assumes you want to be saving ink and thus won’t print the background color. There is an option to print background colors and images. By default, this option is set to false. From Word 2007, you can find this settings under "Word options" window, "Display" tab, "Printing options" section and the option is called "Print background colors and images".