Recently, we showed you how to add a watermark to a document in Word 2013. You can also add a watermark to worksheets in Excel 2013; however, you must add them manually using the header and footer tools. We will show you how.

Open your worksheet in Excel and click the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

In the Text section, click Header & Footer.

NOTE: If your Excel window is smaller, the Text section might be condensed to a drop-down button. If that’s the case, click the Text button and select Header & Footer from the Text section that drops down.

The Header & Footer Tools Design tab displays. To insert a picture as the watermark, click Picture in the Header & Footer Elements section.

The Insert Pictures dialog box displays. Select the location where the desired image file is located. We selected an image from our hard drive, so we clicked Browse next to From a file.

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Navigate to the location of your image file, select it, and click Insert.

While the header is still open, the picture is represented by “&[Picture]”. Depending in the size of the image, you can insert blank lines before &[Picture] to center the image on the worksheet.

To view the picture behind the contents of the file, click on any cell outside of the header. You’ll notice that the image displays behind the text and graphics in your file, but it is full color and possibly very dark.

You can easily make the image appear faded. Open the header again so the Header & Footer Tools Design tab displays again. Click Format Picture in the Header & Footer Elements section.

Click the Picture tab on the Format Picture dialog box and select Washout from the Color drop-down list. Click OK.

The picture becomes faded behind the text and graphics.

You can also use text as a watermark by entering the text in the header (preceded by blank lines, to center the text on the worksheet), selecting the text, and filling it with a light gray.

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To remove the watermark, simply open the header again, select the text or the picture marker (&[Picture]), delete it, and click in any cell outside the header to save your change.

Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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