How to Apply a Page Background in Word 2016


In this HowTech written tutorial, we’re going to show you how to apply a page background in Word 2016.

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We will first show you how to change the page background in the viewer (without applying it to the printed page). This method doesn’t allow for the background to be printed out. If you want to be able to print with the background, skip forward to look at our workaround using the Header.

To change the color of the background, go under the Design tab on the ribbon and open the Page Color dropdown menu.

If you want more options, click Fill Effects… to add a gradient, texture, or picture.

To add a picture as the background, go under the Picture tab and hit Select Picture… Finally, hit OK.

As you can see, even though the image was the proper aspect ratio and resolution for the background, Word tiles the image.

Furthermore, this background will not print, as shown by the blank page in the Print Preview.

To remove the page background, go back to the Page Color dropdown and click No Color.

To actually print the background, we must use a workaround. First double-click on the Header area to edit it, or go to Insert – Header – Edit. Then hit Insert – Pictures.

To make sure the image is the right size, right-click the image and select Size and Position…

Type in the dimensions of your paper (default is 11”x8.5”) or set the Scale to 99% or 100%.

Right-click the image again and mouse over Wrap Text and select Behind Text.

Left-click and hold on the image, then move it until it is centered on the page as shown when the green guidelines show up.

Under File – Print, or Ctrl+P, we can see a white border in the print preview. This is because printers simply cannot print that close to the edge of the page.

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  2. Hi – can you tell me if it is possible to change the background of a word document like you can in Power Point? I have existing branded resumes that i want to update with the new branding but don't want to manually update the changed elements on dozens of resumes. TIA

  3. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! It was fast, effective and straight to the point. I want you to know that you've saved my life and perhaps countless others.

  4. For Mac People. … I for the love of god could not get this to work, but I did figure out a solution by using several tutorial videos. First, I designed the letterhead in InDesign, then saved it as a high res PDF. I figured out the exact margins of where I wanted my text to appear on the page and made a note. Step 1. Open new blank word doc. Step 2. Under "Layout" Tab, Set margins as you want your text to be. I know, it's weird, but it was the ONLY way I got it to work. Save doc. Step 3. Under "Design" Tab select Watermark > Select Picture button > select pdf from your hard drive > insert. Scale to 100% and unclick "washout" (because you probably want the text on the letterhead to be readable and 100% saturated color.) > select "Okay". Step 4. your image will not be in the exact position you want it to be because MS Word is evil. Swear at your computer now. It's okay. Now, Step 5. Select the "Insert" Tab and click on Header > and then "edit header" at the bottom. NOW I know you DON'T have a HEADER, but evil MSW doesn't know that. … but you will now be able to position the Watermark in the correct place. Click on your image above the "Header | Close" line and position your image. Then hit the "close" x thing. and the header/footer guides will magically disappear. Then, you will be able to have your letterhead for your clients exactly as you want it to be.

  5. it didnt work
    at first it did work but then when i was about to print it i noticed that the picture wasn't there soooo yeah

  6. Thanks for the help. For some weird reason my document is fine but when I hit esc, there's a thin white layer covering the background. Not sure what it is, do you have any ideas?


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