How To Add a Custom Watermark in

Adding a printed Watermark into an Document takes two steps. First you have to design your watermark in a graphics application and then add it to the document.

Open your favorite graphics tool, mine is G.I.M.P. but yours might be Windows Paint or some other tool.  Choose the text of your watermark, and use the text tool to type it out.   Then rotate the text  40 to 50 degrees so it is noticeable (like the one below).

An Example WatermarkI set the text color to be 20% grey.  Since this is a graphic and not really a text document, you could use the organizational seal or any other graphical image as a watermark, but you must make the color light enough that the watermark does not interfere with the reader’s comprehension of the document.

Then go to your document in OpenOffice.  My version is 3.0 on Windows 2000.

Go to the Format menu, choose “Page” and in the page-format dialog, choose “background.  Then choose “Graphic” instead of “Color” from the “As” dropdown menu.  Browse for your special watermark file.  In this case the file is in the My Pictures folder and is called example-watermark.gif.  Gif format saves files smaller than the same file saved as a BMP.

Once you have chosen the file, set it as either;

“Position” (which lets you place it in one of 9 positions on the page),

“Area” which zooms your picture to fill the available page

or “Tile” which places as many copies of your graphic on the page as will fit.

Your Watermark will then save as part of the document.Watermark Browsing Dialog

You can choose to have an embedded watermark image, in which case it remains static, regardless of how many changes you would like to make in the watermark image, or as a linked image, which will automagically change as you edit the watermark graphic file.

For more information about the differences between Word and OO.o, look at this page:


  • you all rock! I’ve been looking for this solution for a while!

  • i want text type water mark not picture type

  • Mama,
    You just need to type a text line into a blank graphic file. Then your “graphic” looks like a text entry

  • yes this works wolf! thanks for the help.

  • No good when you want to save as doc. The watermark seems to be lost

  • I just tested in OOo 3.2 and I found the same issue. Let’s look around for a better solution and update this post.

  • OK, in OOo 3.2, it works to Insert > Picture > [then place it where you want it on the page]
    Then right-click on the picture, choose Wrap and then “In Background.”
    The documentation for OOo 1.1 suggests also anchoring the image to page as opposed to the default which is “anchor to character.”

    A background colour stays on the .doc document, but this seems to be the way to keep a graphic image on the page as a watermark. The only problem is you can select it and move it around on the page. If you do this accidentally, you might have some odd effects.


  • Very nice tip,worked great,thanks!

  • Using office 3.3 and about to lose my mind.

    When I use the browse button, Windows 7 makes my graphic files invisible and unavailable so that I cannot upload the graphics for the watermark.

    I have tried all these file types so far to no avail:
    .jif [.odt inserts]

  • Also, I tried the work around for Ian that Sergio liked for open office 3.2. it is not working.

  • Another work around – Note, in oo.o 3.3 I can create text, put a box around it, and select the box around it, and then click format> arrange> send to background. However, if I do this, I cannot get the text color to change such that I could make it light gray.

    This seems an easy way to make the watermark, so could anyone tell me a away to make the text light gray, and then send it to the background so one could type right over it?


    • @Aren – Is it possible to format the text color (highlight the text, right-click and choose “format character.” Then set the font color and send it to back?

  • Creating an image is NOT convenient when you want something simple and common like a “draft” or “confidential” watermark. An image is also just a waste of resources for a simple text watermark.

    • Isn’t this argument a strawman, these days when harddrives run to hundreds of Gigabytes? How do you imagine the other office suites make watermarks? I guess somebody could develop a set of templates for this feature. In fact it would be very simple to do it. Now you have gotten me thinking…

  • This does seem unnecessarily difficult – all this for a “simple” watermark. Windows Paint does not allow rotation of the image other than 90, 180 or 270 degrees. The “strawman” relating to resources is totally wrong – this IS a concern – already Ooo takes forever when I am working in a large file – say with many pages and with embedded photos etc. The last thing I need is more processor effort to insert a “simple” DRAFT watermark.

    Why is it so hard?

  • Thanks! It worked fine! I used a JPG file with the “Area” setting in Open Office on a Mac.

  • Thank you so much. It was very easy to understand and use (specially when you’re stressed and under pressure!!)