Writing On Top of Locked Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 21, 2013)


Roxanne wants to create a Word document with artwork locked in place permanently and then allow the user to type directly on top of that artwork. She doesn't want them to mistakenly move the artwork at all, so she is wondering how she can lock it in place permanently.

There are a couple of different ways that you can approach this problem. One is to simply lock the graphic in place and make sure that it is set to be behind text. Follow these steps:

  1. Place the image in your document.
  2. Right-click the image to display a Context menu.
  3. If you are using Word 2007 choose Text Wrapping | More Layout Options. If you are using Word 2010 choose More Layout Options. If you are using Word 2013 choose Size and Position. Word displays a dialog box whose name varies depending on the version of Word you are using.
  4. Make sure the Text Wrapping tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Text Wrapping tab of the Layout dialog box (Word 2013).

  6. Click the Behind Text option.
  7. If you are using Word 2007 display the Picture Position tab. If you are using Word 2010 or Word 2013 display the Position tab. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box (Word 2013).

  9. Clear the Move Object with Text check box.
  10. Set the Lock Anchor check box.
  11. Click OK.

If you make these settings, Word theoretically positions the graphic behind your text and doesn't move it. I say theoretically because it is possible that this won't work in all instances—the graphic is still fairly accessible to a user.

Another approach is to make your graphic even a bit harder to get to. The easiest way to do this is to place the graphic in either the header or the footer of the page. You could, if desired, also set a watermark for your document, which places the watermark image (which you choose) into the header of the page. You achieve the same thing and have greater flexibility if you simply insert the graphic in the header or footer yourself.

First, if you are working with a multi-page document and you don't want the graphic to appear on every page, you'll need to place a section break before and after the page on which you want the graphic to appear. Then, follow these general steps:

  1. Place the insertion point within the page, making sure it is between the two section breaks (if you inserted breaks).
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Header tool in the Header & Footer group, and then click Edit Header. The header is displayed and the insertion point is within it. (If you prefer to put the graphic in the footer, use the Footer tool and click Edit Footer.)
  4. Make sure the header or footer is not linked to the previous section.
  5. Insert the graphic you want to use, adjusting its size and positioning as desired. Make sure, as well, that the graphic is formatted to appear behind text; you an also adjust brightness of the image, if desired.
  6. Click on Close Header and Footer (on the Design tab of the ribbon).

With the graphic in the header or footer, it is much more difficult for the user to mess up the graphic, and anything that is typed on the page will appear "over" the image. There are a few drawbacks, however. First, you can only place a single image on each page of your document using this technique. Second, it is much more difficult to have other, meaningful information in the header or footer in which the graphic was placed. Third, if you want the image to appear on a printed output, you'll need to set Word's printing settings so that background images are printed.

As with many things in Word, getting your graphic to appear exactly as you want, with the desired relationship between the image and your document text, will take some experimentation. Don't be surprised if your first attempts don't produce what you want, but through trial and error you should be able to get it pretty darn close.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11357) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Embedding TrueType Fonts in E-mails Composed in Word

When you use Word as your e-mail editor, it allows you to format the text of your e-mail messages using tools you are ...

Discover More

Selecting a Word

Selecting text is a critical skill to possess when you want to work with a Word document. This tip explains how you can ...

Discover More

Indexing a Range of Pages

After you get your document ready for indexing by inserting index fields throughout it, you may want to index only a portion ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting from the Clip Art Gallery Doesn't Work

Ever insert a picture and it won't display in your document? It could be due to some of the display settings in Word. Here's ...

Discover More

Resize Graphics Outside of Word

Need your graphics to be larger or smaller than they first appear when you insert them in a document? Your best bet may be to ...

Discover More

Moving Captions with Pictures

Put a caption with a picture and you'd probably like the two elements to behave like they belong together. If you are tired ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 1?

2013-10-21 09:09:35



I'll have to check that out. I've tried in the past, but never had great luck with multiple graphics in a header or a footer. (I know that you can insert one in a header and one in a footer, but my lack of luck has been in inserting two or more in a header *or* a footer.)


2013-10-21 09:08:03


You are right, Bryan. I corrected the wording.


2013-10-21 07:44:43


"As with many things in Excel"

I think you meant Word.

2013-10-19 17:29:20

David French

Inserting graphics in Header/Footer

Sorry but I beg to differ - In Word 2010 it is possible to insert more than one graphic on a page.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.