Who Says You Can't Create a Watermark in Excel?


Q: My firm’s tech support guy says watermark functionality is not available in Microsoft Office Excel 2003. I can’t see how Microsoft could have left it out. Accountants typically have to be able to circulate a financial report with such words as CONFIDENTIAL or DRAFT printed in light type right behind the numbers. Is my tech guy right?


A: Your support person is technically right. Notice he said “watermark functionality.” In other words, hard as it is to believe, the watermark is not a built-in function in either Excel 2003 or 2007, although, oddly, it is available in Word. However, there are workarounds.


One involves simply using your printer’s capabilities. Many printers have a watermark feature built in. Check your printer’s documentation to see if yours has that feature. Or you can quickly discover whether it has that function by accessing the printer (Ctrl_P) and then clicking on Properties (see screenshots below).



If your printer lacks that function, another option is to create a watermark in Word and print as many sheets as you’ll need, put them in the paper tray and print the spreadsheets on them. To do that in Word 2003, go to Format, Background, Printed Watermark. That opens the Printed Watermark screen (see screenshots below). Fill in your options.


In Word 2007, go to Page Layout and in the Page Background group, click on Watermark and follow the directions. To view a watermark as it will appear on the printed page, use the Print Layout view.




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