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How to add backgrounds in word

To add some extra visual interest to your document, add a background color using the Page Color button. You can also add a watermark.

Add or change the background color

Go to Design > Page Color.

Choose the color you want under Theme Colors or Standard Colors.

How to add backgrounds in word

If you don’t see the color you want, select More Colors, and then choose a color from the Colors box.

To add a gradient, texture, pattern, or picture, select Fill Effects, and then go to Gradient, Texture, Pattern, or Picture and select an option.

Patterns and textures are repeated (or “tiled”) to fill the entire page. If you save your document as a webpage, the textures are saved as JPEG files, and the patterns and gradients are saved as PNG files.

Remove the background color

Go to Design > Page Color.

Select No Color.

Important: Office 2010 is no longer supported. Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere from any device and continue to receive support.

You can use gradients, patterns, pictures, solid colors, or textures for backgrounds. Gradients, patterns, pictures, and textures are tiled or repeated to fill the page. If you save a document as a webpage, the pictures, textures, and gradients are saved as JPEG files and the patterns are saved as GIF files.

Add or change the background color

Go to Page Layout > Page Color.

Do any of the following:

Select a from Theme Colors or Standard Colors.

Select More Colors and then choose a color.

Select Fill Effects to add special effects, such as gradients, patterns, or textures.

Note: Select the color that you want before you apply a gradient or pattern.

Remove a background

Go to Page Layout > Page Color.

Select No Color.

Change the background color

Go to Design > Page Color.

Choose the color you want. If you don’t see the color you want, select More Colors and then pick a color from any of the options in the Color box.

To pick a color from a file, select the picture image, click the gear icon, and select New from File.

You probably are already aware that Word provides many different ways for you to get fancy with your documents. For instance, you can add graphics and WordArt that convey information much better—at times—than mere words alone can.

One of the ways you can make your document fancy if it is destined for a Web page is to add a background. Simply follow these two simple steps:

  1. Make sure the Page Layout tab of the ribbon (Word 2007 or Word 2010) or The Design tab of the ribbon (Word 2013 or a later version) is displayed.
  2. Click the Page Color option in the Page Background group. Word displays a small palette that shows colors and has a couple other choices.
  3. Choose the color you want to use for the background of your documents.

Note that the color you selected is visible as a background for the document. This background color is visible only if you are using Print Layout or Web Layout views. If you switch to a view that doesn’t support the background color, the document looks normal again (with a white background), but switching back to a supporting view again displays the same background color.

If you want to get rid of the background, follow the same steps, above, but in the third step choose “No Color” from the options.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6279) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding a Background to Your Document.

Author Bio

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. Learn more about Allen.

There’s nothing wrong with a white background, but Microsoft Word lets you change the color of a document’s background. You can even use a picture, but don’t get carried away.

How to add backgrounds in word

Editor’s note: In the video, Brandon Vigliarolo uses Microsoft Office 365 and walks through the steps of adding colors or images to the background of your Word documents. In the following tutorial, Susan Harkins explains the process when using Word 2010. This article was first published in December 2011 and was updated in March 2019.

Most documents are rather boring–the same black text on a white background. That’s the way it should be though because most documents don’t require special graphics and colors. However, when a document requires more, Word offers many visual possibilities. For instance, you might want to change the background’s color or even use a picture as the document’s background. Both are easy to accomplish, technically speaking, and in this article, I’ll show you how to do both.

Keep in mind that adding a background color or picture to a document is much easier than designing a visually effective document. I’ll share only the mechanical process; how you implement the feature is up to you.

I’m using Office 365 Word (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use older versions. You’ll find these options on the Design tab in the Page Background group. (In earlier versions, look for the Page Layout tab.) The browser edition doesn’t support the background feature.

Add color

Adding a bit of color is probably the easiest way to liven up an otherwise boring document. You might decide to add a sedate color to a promotional letter or resume. To add color to a document’s background, you’ll work from the Design tab, as follows.

  1. Click Page Color in the Page Background group.
  2. Choose a color from the gallery (palette) as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

How to add backgrounds in word

Choose a color–it’s that easy!

It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can click More Colors to fine-tune a gallery color. Choose No Color to remove a colored background.

Although simple, you could create some ghastly backgrounds. There’s a lot to consider when introducing color into a document. Color-wise, there are several attributes, hue, chroma, and so on.

Your main consideration should be legibility. In that regard, contrast is usually the most important factor: the higher the contrast, the more legible the text. It also adds to the layers of separation, as shown in the illustration in Figure B. The more contrast, the more depth, which improves readability. I’m not suggesting that you take a crayon-box attitude to your documents though. This illustration is just that, an illustration–not a recommendation for these particular colors.

Figure B

How to add backgrounds in word

Documents with high contrast are easier to read.

Limiting your choices will produce the best results. Limit your color palette to two or three colors. Use different shades (hue) and saturation (chroma) to add variation. And remember, even in digital form, there’s nothing wrong with a white background.

Add a picture

The process for adding a picture to a document’s background is similar to inserting a picture into an AutoShape–you use the Fill Effects option.

Note:This feature has the potential to produce more ghastly results, so just because you can add a picture doesn’t mean you should.

You’ll use the same Page Color option on the Page Layout tab (in the Page Background group) to add a picture, as follows.

  1. Click the Page Color option and choose Fill Effects.
  2. Click the Picture tab.
  3. Click Select Picture.
  4. Locate the picture you want to insert and click Insert.
  5. Click OK.

Figure C

How to add backgrounds in word

You can easily add an interesting background to your document.

Figure C shows an interesting background that might work well with the right subject matter, but it presents quite a challenge. What color font would you use? How much text could you add? Balancing all the requirements takes skill, but most of us can learn those skills with the right training. If you change your mind, it’s easy to remove, albeit not intuitive: Choose No Color from the Page Color dropdown.

As I mentioned, adding color or a picture to a document’s background is easy. Producing a visually effective document takes specialized knowledge.

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How to add backgrounds in word

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If you ever wanted to print out an MS Word document on a colored page, you would likely just type the document out on a plain white background and insert a colored page in the printer when you print it. The same can’t be said if you want to add an image to the background of a page. There’s the watermark option to make do with but if you’re interested in adding a full page background image to a document and have it tile properly if needed, there’s a built-in feature to do just that.

Open the MS Word file you want to add an image background to. Go to the ‘Design’ tab and click the ‘Page Color’ drop-down in the ‘Page Background’ set of tools. A pop-up menu will open with colors to set as the background. At the very bottom of this pop-up is an option ‘Fill Effects’. Click it.

How to add backgrounds in word

A new options box opens with fill effects to choose from. Go to the ‘Picture’ tab and click ‘Select Picture’. Another pop-up will open for selecting the picture. The pop-up can select a picture from your local disk, or you can search on Bing from inside it for an image to use. The image search is restricted to images that have been explicitly marked as available for free use.

How to add backgrounds in word

If your image is too small for the page, MS Word will automatically tile it. If you want to find out what size an image should be so that it fits on the page perfectly, find the size of your page in inches and convert it to pixels. When you select an image, make sure it fits the dimensions for the page.

New documents that you create in Microsoft Word have a white background color by default. If you’re creating a document for school or work, then that’s likely the format that you need.

But some documents that you create in Microsoft Word are more effective with a different background color, so it would be helpful if you could change that.

Fortunately the background color is something that can be switched in Microsoft Word. Our guide below will show you how to change your background color in Word for Office 365.

How to Use a Different Background Color in Microsoft Word

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Microsoft Word for Office 365 application. If you’re a Google Docs user then you can learn how to set a background image in Google Docs as well.

Step 1: Open your document in Word.

Step 2: Select the Design tab at the top of the window.

How to add backgrounds in word

Step 3: Click the Page Color button.

How to add backgrounds in word

Step 4: Choose the desired page background color.

How to add backgrounds in word

If you want to use a color other than the one that is shown, click the More Colors option at the bottom of the dropdown menu, then click the desired color from the color picker.

If you would like to remove the background color you can select the No Color option from that dropdown menu instead.

Note that Word will not print a background color by default. If you would like to include the background color when printing, then click the File tab at the top-left of the window, then select Options at the bottom of the left column to open the Word Options window.

Select the Display tab at the left side of the Word Options window, then scroll down and check the box to the left of Print background colors and images. Click the OK button when you’re done.

How to add backgrounds in word

Printing the background color on a document can use a lot of ink, so it’s best to only print the background color when you are doing the final version of the document. Additionally, this setting is preserved after you enable it, meaning that future documents will print with background colors and images as well until you switch it back.

Additional reading

Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.

His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop and more.

In general, you can insert background image to all pages of a Word document easily by clicking Design (or Page Layout) > Page Color. However, in some cases you may just want to apply background image to only one page, how could you deal with it? This article will introduce a workaround to solve it at ease.

Apply/insert background image to only one page in Word

Please follow below steps to apply background image to only one page in a Word document.

1. Scroll to the specified page you will add background image in, and click View > One Page to show the whole page in the screen.

2. Click Insert > Shapes > Rectangle as below screenshot shown, and then draw a rectangle covering the whole page.
How to add backgrounds in word

3. Keep the rectangle selected, and click Format (under Drawing Tools) > Wrap Text > Behind Text. See screenshot:
How to add backgrounds in word

4. Still keep the rectangle selected, and click the anchor at the bottom-right corner of Shape Styles group on the Format tab (under Drawing Tools). See screenshot:

5. Now the Format Picture pane is opening in the right side of Word document. Please check the Picture or texture fill option in Fill section, and click the File button. See the first screenshot below:
Note: If you are using Microsoft Word 2010 or earlier versions, please (1) click Fill Effects button in the Format AutoShape dialog box, (2) enable Picture tab in the Fill Effects dialog box, and (3) click the Select Picture button. See the second screenshot below:

How to add backgrounds in word How to add backgrounds in word

6. In the popping out Insert Picture dialog box, please find out and select the specified picture you will add as background image, and click the Insert button. See screenshot:
How to add backgrounds in word

7. Check the Tile Picture as texture option in the Format Picture pane.

8. Expand the Line section, and check No line option in the Format Picture pane. See the first screenshot below:
Note: If you are using Microsoft Word 2010 or earlier versions, after returning to the Format AutoShape dialog box, please click Color > No color in the Line section, and click the OK button. See the second screenshot below:

How to add backgrounds in word How to add backgrounds in word

So far, you have added the background image to the specified page only already. See screenshot:
How to add backgrounds in word

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How to change background page color of one page in a Word document?

Normally, when you apply the Page Color feature to insert page color to a Word document, all the pages of the document will be applied the same color. However, if you want to change one page color with another color, this article, I will talk about how to deal with it in Word file.

Change background color of one page in a Word document

May be, there is no direct way to change one page’s color to differ with the whole document, but, you can use the following workaround to finish it. Please do as this:

1. Go the page of the document that you want to change its page color, and then click Insert > Shapes > Rectangle, see screenshot:

How to add backgrounds in word

2. Then drag the mouse to draw a rectangle which as large as the Word page, and then, in the Format tab, choose one color that you want to apply for the page under the Shape Fill drop down, see screenshot:

How to add backgrounds in word

3. And then keep the rectangle selected , click Format > Send Backward > Send Behind Text, see screenshot:

How to add backgrounds in word

4. Now, the rectangle has been inserted behind the text, and the page color is changed as following screenshot shown:

How to add backgrounds in word

When you’re putting background images behind text, it’s normally best to get the text on the page first. Here we’ve created a homework-like factsheet about dolphins, with facts shamelessly ripped off from Wikipedia.

2. Insert the image

How to add backgrounds in word

Now to insert your image into the text. If you’ve got an image saved on your computer, go to Insert in the top menu, click Pictures and navigate to the relevant photo. We’re going to use Microsoft’s online library of free photos, by clicking Insert then Online Pictures and searching for dolphins. These background images work best when the picture itself is on a white background.

3. Look for the picture options pop-up

How to add backgrounds in word

When you insert the picture, a little box will appear to the right of the image, which looks like a semi-circle in lines of text. If you click on that box, you will see various options that let you control how the picture is placed on the page. The option you’re looking for here is Behind Text.

4. Re-size the image

How to add backgrounds in word

Now the image should be on the page, behind your text, but you might want to make it bigger or smaller on the page.

At the corners of the box surrounding the image, you should see little circles. Click, hold and drag the mouse on one of these to resize the image. You can also click and drag anywhere in the image to move it around the page, or click on the looping arrow at the top of the image to rotate it.

5. Make the image lighter

How to add backgrounds in word

Our background image is now nicely in position, but the colours are very dark against that black text, making the text difficult to read in places. So, we’re going to increase the transparency of the image.

If it’s not already selected, click on the Format (or Picture Format) tab at the top of the screen and select Transparency. Experiment with different transparency levels until the text becomes clearly readable.

After a long time writing with Microsoft Word, your eyes may already tired of the default blank page. To refresh yourself , you can insert a picture as the background of Word document.

How to Change Background Color of Word

1. Go to Design tab.

How to add backgrounds in word

2. Click Page Color in Page Background section.

How to add backgrounds in word

3. You can choose a background color here or click More Colors for more options.

How to add backgrounds in word

How to Set Word Background as Pictures

1. First, switch to Design tab.

How to add backgrounds in word

2. Click Page Color in Page Background section. Select Fill Effects… in the drop-down menu. You can set the gradient effect, texture or pattern here, or even insert a picture as the page background.

How to add backgrounds in word

3. Switch to Picture tab in Fill Effects window. Click Select Picture…

How to add backgrounds in word

4. Select From a file to find a picture you like in the folder of your computer. Or you can type the keyword of the picture you want in the textbox of Bing Image Search and press Enter to search eligible pictures on Internet.

How to add backgrounds in word

5. After inserting a picture, you can see the sample in Fill Effects window. If you are satisfied with it, click OK to confirm it.

How to add backgrounds in word
How to add backgrounds in word

6. If you don’t want it anymore, click Page Color again and select No Color to remove the background immediately.