Writing On Top of Locked Graphics

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 6, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365

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 or a later version, choose More Layout Options from the Wrap Text drop-down list. Depending on the type of image that was placed in your document, More Layout Options may be available near the bottom of the Context menu. After you choose More Layout Options, 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.

  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 a later version, display the Position tab. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box.

  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 can 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, it is much more difficult to have other, meaningful information in the header or footer in which the graphic was placed. Second, 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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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. ...


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