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Watermarks and Backgrounds (MS Word)

Guest Author - Chris Curtis

Here are some ideas for your family newsletters, organization flyers, sale announcements, party invitations, kid's birthday announcements, new baby announcements, and holiday greetings using MS Word Watermarks and Backgrounds. Word's Background feature was designed primarily for use in a web page design but can be used to add gradient color, or a texture or pattern to your printed page. When you add a watermark or background it applies to all pages of the document.

On screen, background effects will only be displayed while in the Web layout view. The key here is to make sure that when you choose a background style that it is obscure enough to not overpower your document's text. Although you can add pictures using the background tool, the watermark tool is a better option as it allows you to fade it so that it sits in the background without consuming your text. Also note that you cannot combine these two features to have a background effect and a watermark effect at the same time.

MS Word offers several features you can use to decorate your documents. By adding a watermark or background to your document, you can make all of your public communications uniquely yours.

Ideas:
Insert your family holiday picture as a watermark
Insert a picture of an shamrock, Easter egg, bunny, Christmas ornament, Americana or other Country Flag, fireworks, holiday bow or Christmas Tree as a watermark
Add a colored texture or pattern in the background
Add a gradient color to the background
Add a text message (such as Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, Celebration, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays etc.) as a watermark

To Insert a Watermark
Select Format | Background | Watermark (2003) or Format | Background (Word XP)
Select Printer Watermark to display the dialog box

FOR PICTURES
Browse to select the picture of your choice be sure to choose something that will be subtle in your background
Select the size scale to suit your preferences
Select washout to fade the effect
Click on Apply

FOR TEXT
Select the Text Watermark radial button
Select a predefined text message or type your unique message (i.e., try doing one with your name to see how it works)
Chose a font style, size and color
Selecting Semi-transparent is a good idea to fade it into the background
Choose layout to be diagonal or horizontal
Click on Apply

Reactivate the dialog box to make any changes you feel will give you the effect you want. Removing the watermark is also a simple task, simply activate the dialog box and select the No Watermark radial button.

Adding a background effect is also very simple.
Select Format | Background | Watermark (2003) or Format | Background (Word XP)

FOR COLOR
Simply make a color choice from the color grid or more colors feature. You want to make sure, however, that your color selection is subtle. Light pastel colors work best.

FOR PATTERNS
Select Fill Effects
Choose the appropriate tab for the effect you want.Gradient, Patterns, Textures, or Pictures.

Note that you cannot make the background choices transparent or faded; therefore, proper selection of a picture, pattern, or texture is critical to avoid your text getting lost in the background effect. Sometimes changing the text to a different font style, applying bold characteristics, changing the color to be contrasting with the background and making the text size larger can offset the complexity of the background effect that you choose.

To remove the effect, simply select No Fill from the Background dropdown. The key here is to experiment with the features to see the various effects that you can create.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chris Curtis. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Nunn for details.

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