How to add a watermark in Excel

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Aina Prat Blasi

Surprisingly, Excel doesn't have a built-in watermark feature. Many people give up when they don't see specific built-in features. However, most programs have workarounds that allow users to do more than the basics their editing tools allow.

For this reason and the way Excel was created, this means that you can use your own images, logos or even text to create a watermark and add it to your project. The process is quite simple. Here is the detailed guide.

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1) Creating the watermark

First you need to click the Insert button on the top toolbar. Next, you need to select the Header and Footer menu.

The header should appear above the top row of the worksheet.

Click on the header and select Image. Select the image you want to use and click Insert to add it to your project. In the header you will also see the text “& [Image]”, which informs you that the header now contains an image.

After clicking outside the header, you will be able to see the selected image as a watermark. The watermark will appear behind the sheet data, so if it's not too dark, you should be able to read the contents of the worksheet. If not, you'll need to adjust the brightness of the watermark so it doesn't obscure the text.

To write this tutorial we used a Windows 10 image as an example. Note that the image essentially becomes the background in this worksheet. However, if the image is small, the watermark will not cover the entire page.

Of course, you can also do some tweaking on the watermark later.

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2) Changing the watermark

To start editing the watermark, click the header again to open the menu. Click the Picture Format option on the Design tab.

Customize the image according to the size and shape you want. You can also perform advanced edits such as changing the color of the image, adjusting brightness and contrast, applying grayscale and fading effects, and even cropping the image.

If you are using text as a watermark, you can edit it after adding it already. However, this option is only available in Excel 2010 and later versions.

You can also reposition a watermark to make it centered. You won't have to use tools for this. Simply select the text in front of the “& [Image]” line in the header. Once done, hit Enter to add a few more lines.

This allows you to center the watermark or scroll down at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, it may take a few tries as there is no preview mode.

When the customization is complete, click OK in the dialog box and that's it. The watermark should now be visible on all pages.

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Notes for watermarks on Excel 2010 and later

Just because you've added a watermark to your spreadsheet doesn't mean you can always see it. Watermarks are visible in Page Layout view, Print Preview, and on printed paper. If you're using Normal view, as many people do, you won't be able to see your watermark on the page.

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Further Reading:

  • How to use absolute references in Excel
  • How to add watermark in PowerPoint
  • How to enable or disable AutoCorrect in Excel
  • How to Put a Picture Behind Text - Microsoft Word
  • How to Easily Add Watermark in Videos on Android
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