Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Permanent Watermarks in a Document.

Permanent Watermarks in a Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 23, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Anthea wonders if there is a way to embed a watermark in a Word document so that it cannot be deleted. Ideally for Anthea, the watermark would travel with text that is copied and pasted into another document.

There are any number of ways to add watermarks to a document, as discussed in other issues of WordTips. For the purposes being considered by Anthea, the best place to put the watermark graphic is in the header of the document. Get the graphic positioned as you want it to appear, and then protect the document. (Protect it as a form, as described in other issues of WordTips.) This will stop the watermark from being deleted in the current document.

If you want the watermark to travel with any text copied and pasted to another document, the problem becomes a bit stickier. If a person copies just a portion of text (perhaps a few words or a few paragraphs), then the watermark won't go with the text. If, however, a person copies all the text in a document (by pressing Ctrl+A, for instance, prior to copying), then the watermark will be pasted into the other document along with the text. This occurs because in Word headers are an attribute of sections, and if what you are copying includes the end-of-section or end-of-document markers, then the header is copied along with the text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13246) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Permanent Watermarks in a Document.

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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