Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Printing a Draft Watermark.

Printing a Draft Watermark

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 11, 2015)

In Word, I can create a watermark that prints "behind" each page of my document. I have this nifty little technique that allows me to have the word "DRAFT" appear in light shading, behind the text of the document.

Excel is a different story. I can't get such a feature to work in Excel at all. It doesn't provide a means to create and print watermarks. Some people try to use the Background feature of Excel (Format | Sheet | Background) to create watermarks. This adds a graphic "behind" your worksheet, but that graphic does not appear in Print Preview, will not print on the printer, and doesn't transfer to any Web page you create from the spreadsheet. (See the Microsoft Knowledge Base, article 213977.)

The inability to create watermarks in Excel is amazing to many of us who have been using Excel for years. Instead, we have all been forced to scramble around for workarounds that will hopefully suffice until a better solution comes along.

For some people, their printers provide the solution. Some printers have the capability to create watermarks. For instance, the driver for some HP LaserJet printers allows you to do this. You can, in the Print dialog box, click on Properties to display what can be done with the printer, directly. Poke around on all the tabs and in all the controls, and you may find that your printer will create the watermark for you.

Other people use the approach of performing two printing passes. They do one pass in which the watermark is printed. Then, they feed the paper back through the printer to print the actual worksheet data.

Another approach is to create your watermark as a picture, using your favorite image editing software. Make sure the picture is large enough to cover a full sheet of paper, with the word "DRAFT" positioned diagonally in the center of the page. Then, in Excel, go to Page Setup and add the picture to the header. You can adjust its brightness or contrast to get the desired effect.

Finally, there are third-party solutions that you can use to put watermarks on the page for you. An example of this type of utility is FinePrint, which can be found at http://fineprint.com. (A quick search of the Internet should turn up other competing products you may want to consider, as well.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10543) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Printing a Draft Watermark.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing a List of Building Blocks

Building Blocks are a great way to semi-automate the creation of common documents. At some point you may want to get a ...

Discover More

Forcing Stubborn Recalculation

Have you ever recalculated a worksheet, only to notice that not everything calculated as it should? Here's a way you can ...

Discover More

Limiting Input by Time of Day

Excel provides some great tools that allow you to limit what is entered into a worksheet. This tip looks at how those tools ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Defining a Custom Paper Size

Need to print your worksheet on a non-standard paper size? Excel is rather limited in printing to such papers, and here is ...

Discover More

Custom Page Numbers on Printouts

Excel is rather weak on giving you control over how page numbers appear on a printout. This is never more apparent than when ...

Discover More

Hiding a Hyperlink on a Printout

Hyperlinks can be real handy in a workbook, but you may not always want them visible when you send the workbook to the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.