Monday, August 13, 2012

Applying a Watermark to all pages in an MS Word Document

I recently had to apply a "Draft" watermark to an MS Word document that had been handed to me from my co-workers.  However, the problem that I encountered was that each time I attempted to apply the "Draft" watermark to the document, it would only apply the watermark to a single page!!

If you are wondering how I attempted to apply a Draft Watermark to a page, this is how I did it (in Office 2010):

  1. Open up the MS Word document
  2. Click on the Page Layout tab in the Ribbon
  3. Click on the Watermark button
  4. Select the Draft watermark

Well, one of the problems that was introduced by the document is that all of the pages in the document did not use uniform standard headers/formatting.  Therefore, as soon as the Watermark was applied to one page, it would be wiped from the other pages.  I discovered this by attempting to apply the Watermark to various different pages with success in applying it to multiple pages while others only had it applied to a single page.

Fortunately, after some Google searching and investigation, I discovered the solution to be much more subtle.  As tedious as it was, I had to copy and paste the Watermark applied to each page in the header to all of the other pages that had varying headers.  Therefore, if I had 3 or more pages with varying headers (such as a Title page, Table of Contents and main content page), I had to copy and paste the header Watermark to each of these varying pages.

In this manner, I was able to get my "Draft" watermark to apply to all of the pages in the document!

The solution posted by Ross (in the comments below), looks like the following:

  1. From the Design tab in the Office Ribbon, select Watermark
  2. Select Custom Watermark...
  3. Choose Text watermark and from the Text dropdownlist, select "Draft"


  1. There is an easier way that seemed to work for me. (Office 2013). Instead of choosing one of the pre made watermarks, choose the "custom" option. Within the pop up box that appears, select "text", then "draft" from the drop down list, then apply - this seems to mark every page regardless of sections or different types of headers within the document!

  2. Hi I want full page watermark like as in document of degree or

  3. wow now that was really a quick fix.. thanks

  4. An alternate approach also worked for me (using Word 2010). I used Ctrl+A to select the entire document, then selected the Page Layout / Watermark / Custom Watermark.... Typed in the text I wanted to appear on every page, then selected "Apply".

  5. You explained it in such an understandable way! Thank You!