How-To Geek

Add Background Color To Word 2007 Documents

Instead of using the standard white background with Word documents, here is how to add some background color to spice up your documents.

Open your word document and choose Page Layout on the Ribbon, then select page color to select the background color you want. 


The nice thing about Word 2007 is you just need to hover the mouse over each color to see a preview of how it will look in the document.  Select the background color you want and you are done.


Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/24/07

Comments (85)

  1. Jedo

    I’ve been looking how to add different background color to different pages of the same document all day long now…forums, sites like these, everywhere… Nothing. You can add a different watermark to a different page but where is the option to change color?

  2. JB

    I’d also like to know how to make a page color apply only to certain pages in Word 2007. Section breaks appear to be ignored when using page colors and applies the page color to the entire document

  3. Rob Mathieson

    if you have a solution to this I would love to hear it. Can’t believe its not a feature.

  4. Jake

    I too am looking for a way to apply different background colors to different pages within the same document. I would be really greatful if anyone can help us. Thank You. :)

  5. Jedo

    I discovered that, aparently, it’s not possible. In order to change background you first have to create a table that ignores text and falls behind it (that’s possible through the options). You then stretch the table to fit the whole page. You then place a picture into the table and the picture of the table becomes the background of the page.

  6. whs

    If you want to get the background color printed, there is one more thing you have to do: click the office button, then Word Options (on the bottom), then click on Display (in the left pane), then go to Printing Options and enable ‘ Print background colors and images ‘. If this is not enabled, you may look at nice background colors on your screen but it will not print them.

  7. Sandy Shepharad

    When I put color on my page in word, as you describe above, it does not print in that color on the printer.. nor does it show in color in Print Preview. ????

    Hey! Maybe you could help me with another issue I’m having with Office 2007. I hunted for two hours on line this past weekend. When inserting pictures in Word, I’m having trouble moving them around. Yes, I unclicked Snap to grid. I’ve Text in front, behing,you name it. I’m held on to Alt to move. I’ve tried using the up and down arrows. ARGH. They do move around nicley in the Website View though (?). This seems to only be a problem with more than one picture. With Office 2003, I could easily move around a lot of pictures.

    Any help for me??

    Huge thanks!

  8. Sandy

    Oops… I see the answer to my inquiry regarding printing a colored page, directly above my post.

    I still need help on moving around inserted pictures in Word though.

  9. Ngoc Tran

    er.. yeah that did work but when i go to print the background is still white

    plz help!!

  10. Angst

    I use a text box or box shape, stretched to fill the page and select a fill colour as required. Then select order and send behind text. The shape can then be copied and placed on any page, and the fill colour changed if necessary.

  11. martha

    I tried a text box and I am still not getting even the print view to show the color. Word has great background, I wish I could print it.

  12. Clare

    I can’t get Word 2007 to print background colours or lines on text boxes either. I ahve updated the print options to allow background colours but it still does not work. Any ideas?

  13. Aisha

    To move your pictures around just right click on then go to format and layout select “tight” or “square” and click okay… your picture should move freely… if your using word 2008 right click and click on text wrapping then select “tight” or “square”.

    To add a backround color go to autoshapes (insert then shapes in word 2008) and select square hold your mouse down and move it and the shape will stretch and get bigger. Keep stretching it till the whole page is covered from each side then right click it and select “format autoshape” under fill select the colour and choose the colour you want (light colors for backrounds recommended)now just click okay. The final thing is to using the above method intead of selecting “tight” or “Square” choose the option saying “send to the back” for word 2008 right click select order then select send to the back. Note: Sometimes you will need to select “Send behind text” if “send to the back” does’nt work.


  14. Brien Malone

    ** To change the color of a single page, just click the [Insert] tab and choose the [shapes] button in the [Illustrations] group. Choose a rectangle (fourth from the top).

    Create the initial shape and choose a color, then stretch the rectangle border larger beyond the page boundaries.

    Mouse around the rectangle until you see the move cursor (pointer with 4 arrows around the tip) and right click. You should see [Grouping] and [Order] in the context menu. (If you see [font],[paragraph],[bullets] and [numbering] mouse to a different spot in the rectangle and try again.)

    From the right-click context menu, choose [Order] –> [Send behind text]

    When you print, you’ll still see a white margin around the page, but I think you can adjust the margins to 0″ to make this go away… not sure.

    Hope this helps!

  15. Kim

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I had found how to add a background color/picture but could not get it to print. You’re a lifesaver!!

  16. Gavin

    I have done everything you said listed above, but i still cannot get a background colour. When i put in a coloured rectangle, or shape it just covers everything i have on the page, which is not what i want. When i choose a background colour it shows up, but in print preview, and when i print it the goes back to white

  17. Mick H

    There seems to be several issues here.
    1. Inability to select a picture placed in a word Doc.
    If you have copied a picture into word you may find that it is behind the text and so you will not be able to select it. Just right click on the object and you will see the place holders around the picture appear and a drop down menu. Move mouse cursor over the “Order” field and another drop down will occur, left click on “Bring in front of Text”. You should now be able to select your picture with the left mouse button.

    2. Inability to move picture in a Word Doc.
    Right click on picture, format picture, layout, You can also select “In front of text” or “Behind Text” here, click on advanced Advanced, picture position, and at the bottom ensure that only the “Lock Anchor” and “Allow Overlap” boxes are selected. Then press OK, twice. You can now move/resize your picture at will.

    3. Inability to print a background in a Word Doc.
    Tools, Options, Print, look about half way down to the “Include with Document part” and select the “Print Background colours and images”.

    4. Inability to place different page colours/effects and then print over them.
    Stretch a text box from top left corner to bottom right corner. You can fill with flood fill if you enable the Drawing tool bar to be seen (View, toolbars, drawing), or indeed any other effect you wish. Once you are Happy, Left click anywhere inside the page (to select the text box in effect), then move the cursor towards one of the borders until it changes to a cross, right click then a drop down menu will appear, choose “Format Text Box” and continue as in No2. Above. Ensure you choose the “Behind Text” option. Also its worth checking what colour you are using for the text because if its the same as the background you wont see it! Simply repeat this to colour each page differently.

    Hope this helps, Mick

  18. Gavin

    Thanks a lot Mick, works now

  19. Valerie

    With regard to color backgrounds, I have been trying to use the color gradient feature and it looks great on the screen and print preview, but when printed in hard copy, it doesn’t show a whole page gradient but instead it shows “tiles” of gradient, either looking like a keleidoscope or colored vertical or horizontal bars. If anyone has ever experienced this, or has any ideas to fix it, I’d be most grateful to hear from you.


  20. Mick H

    If the Print Preview view is as you want, then that is what Word is sending to the printer. This is possibly a printer issue and the easiest way to check is to either send the page by email to a friend/your office or copy it onto a zip stick and try it on a different PC/printer. Let us know back here how you got on. I am not aware of a “Tile – Stretch” graphic option similar to placing a picture onto your desktop.


  21. Valerie

    Thanks, Mick! Unfortunately, I already did try that and the same thing has happened on four different printers now

  22. MickH

    I sounds like the formatting in the document itself may be the problem which is why it is moving to which ever PC you go to. I have a number of Questions:

    1. Which version of Word are you using?
    2. By which method are you filling the page? If it is format/background/fill effects/gradient method, try making a new document and try the text box method above.
    3. What view are you using ie Web view etc
    4. Does the document print ok without the background effect, and does it print ok with just a single colour background?
    5. Go into the Tools/options/print – under print options just leave Allow A4 resizing, and Background printing, Under Include with document, just leave Draw object and Background colour and images selected, nothing else, then try printing again.

    If this fails then you may have a problem with your Word default template. Close Word, do a search for, rename to Normal.old, come out of those screens then reopen Word, it will create a new Normal template on its default settings. Don’t open your problem file, but make a new page, then print it off and see if now ok.

    Let us know how you get on.
    Regards, Mick

  23. Valerie

    Thanks for the help! Unfortuately, I haven’t resolved the problem yet as I have been unable to find the file. I searched the Program Systems folder without success. Where is this file normally found?

    The document was created in Word 2007. When the document is converted to Word 2003, the same error occurs. I haven’t tried the text box option yet, as there are many pages to the document, and I was hoping to avoid that technique. I am using the format/background/fill effects/gradient method currently. View is Print Preview. Document prints fine w/ background color or with a single color. All was ticked correctly as per your #5 instructions…same result.


  24. MickH

    If you go to explorer and go to:
    Documents and Settings/Your user name(ie Val)/Application Data/Microsoft/Templates
    You should find it ok.

    Did you try making a new page and use your current method of gradient fill, and see what 1 page prints off like? (Only use pastel shades to save on ink here!)
    Also try adding a last blank page to your document, turn off the gradient fill, then use a text box, fill with you gradient and print off just that one blank page to see what it looks like.

    The other thing which can give problems in Word is Norton Antivirus. I have known quite a few people that have had to ditch it and go to another Antivirus program like AVG, due to problems with MS Word.


  25. Valerie

    Hi Mick,

    Thanks for your persistence with this. I was unable to find for Word 2007, but was able to for Word 2003. I took the actions you requested with a new default, and the problem remained.

    I don’t have Norton antivirus installed on the computer that I created the file in. When I add a new page to the current document, it has the same problem. I was able to get the look I am seeking by using the gradient feature within a text box, so at least I can simulate what I want, even if a bit labor intensive.

    If you know where I may be able to locate in Word 2007, I’ll give your recommendations another go…otherwise I’ll get plenty of practice with the text box gradient method.

    Thanks so much for your help!


  26. MickH

    Hi Val,
    This is a tough one. Did you produce the doc using Word 2003? If so, with no conversion, and printing from PC doc was produced on, is the printout still tiled?
    Did you say that with a gradient box on a new blank page in your document it prints ok? If this is the case then it would suggest that the page formatting is where the problem lies and there may be a clash of page setups. Open your document with the background as you would like it. Go to File>Page Setup>Paper then look near the bottom to Print Options. Only 4 things should be checked here: Allow A4/Letter resizing, Background Printing, Drawing objects, Background Colours and Images. Click on OK.
    Next click on Layout>Borders – ensure none selected, Also same on Page Border.
    Next click on Shading and ensure nothing is selected, ie No Fill and the Style pattern is set to Clear.

    If this is already the case proceed as below.

    In explorer choose Tools/Folder options/View – then go down to the hidden files part and select show hidden files. Then come out of it and make sure no other programmes are running. is called normal.dotm in Word 2007.

    1. Click on Start>Search>All Files & Folders and type into the “Name or Part of Name:” field. (Typing will also find normal.dotm in Word 2007).

    2. Next click on Advanced Options and be sure that Search System Folders and Search Subfolders are checked, along with Search Hidden Files & Folders.

    3. Also, the “Look In:” field should be set to your main hard drive (usually Local Disk C:) rather than to an individual folder, such as “My Documents.”

    It’s not uncommon to find multiple copies of, so wait till the search has finished before deleting anything. When all the files have appeared they can be deleted by left-clicking them and pressing your DELETE key. Alternatively, you can select them and click the toolbar’s red X. Or you can right-click them and choose DELETE on the pop-up menu.

    Next, its probably best to reboot the PC then carry out the above procedure again. Next open up Word 2007, this should recreate a new Normal.dotm file as per MS Word default. Try printing a single page of your document.

    If this fails, did you try opening up a new document, carry out the gradient effect in your normal manner then print it off? was it still tiled?
    Let me know how you get on.

    Keep persevering, we are nearly there, Mick.

  27. Anon

    Aisha, you are my hero!!!! I was going to pull my hair out trying to figure out how to move pics around in word. Thank you!

  28. Rama Krishna

    I am Rama Krishna

    I am using office 2007 word. in a table while typing the text was hiding. i go to the next line the text will appear. how to put off the paragraph..

    please try to help me

    Awaiting for your reply

    Rama Krishna

  29. Laretta

    Help please! When I print out the page colors it works but its printing with white edges around it. I’ve tried margins and the page size but there’s like an inch chopped of the bottom and sides. and a bit at tht top! Please help I’m desperate!

    Sorry in the last one I made spelling mistakes

  30. Laretta

    Help please quickly, I need the answer by Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!

  31. roo


    follow the step already was in this thread >>>>>>

    If you want to get the background color printed, there is one more thing you have to do: click the office button, then Word Options (on the bottom), then click on Display (in the left pane), then go to Printing Options and enable ‘ Print background colors and images ‘. If this is not enabled, you may look at nice background colors on your screen but it will not print them. “

  32. Laretta

    Thanx Roo, I alredy tried this and the page does print the background. But around the lovely background are horrible white edges like a border. But I haven’t got a border. Thanx anyway, you’re a great guy for computers!

    Thanx again

  33. MickH

    It sounds like you are trying to borderless print, if so, you must make sure your printer will support this, even though you set the margins to zero, the printer will override this and print a border:

    To do this, click File>Print> Properties

    Click the Properties button to open the Properties dialogue for your printer.

    Mark the option for Borderless Photo (either a button, box, or other type of control). The
    location of the Borderless Printing controls and control labels vary depending on the selected

    Important: If there is no option for borderless printing, then you cannot print borderless stuff
    on this printer. You may also find it will only print certain sizes, in which case you will need to move to another printer which does support this function or if in a hurry take the zipped up file to Staples or someone that does printing professionally, but it will cost you.

    On the Paper/Quality tab, configure the printer options:
    Select the size of the photo that you want to print from the Size drop-down list.
    Choose the type of paper you are printing on.
    Set the print quality to the best quality possible for your printer.

    Click OK to close the printer Properties dialogue, and then click OK to return to Word

  34. Laretta

    Thanx Mick

    But I want to print out an A4 sheet and it doesn’t have an potion for A4. The higheat option it has is 10cmx20cm. But I want the A4 size. And it’s not really a photo I want to print but a A4 poster. And what about the paper. It comes up with all this HP things. I want just normal plain paper!

    Thanx anyway, your great at this computering problems!

  35. MickH

    Hi Laretta,
    Looks like you need a new printer or driver. It sounds like an import from the States, with no A4 option it is not much use to you. If you Google the make and driver, you might find that an update will allow you the A4 option if not go invest in a nice new printer, an ink jet won’t cost you much nowadays, call it an early Xmas present.

  36. Larett

    Thanx Mick,

    I am so glad that they are so cheap!

    And, theres someone on this thread that you haven’t replied to – Rama Krishna. Look’s like he needs some help!

    Thanx again Mick, you’re fantastic!

  37. MickH

    Ok, Laretta,
    Let us know if the new printer works ok. I am afraid I don’t quite understand what Rama is trying to say so perhaps someone else can help.


  38. Katherine

    Nice tutorial, but I’ve always been wondering this:
    you MS Word OS is black, and the usual one that I see everybody have is blue, all blue, very, very blue…. Is there anyway to change the color?

  39. Katherine

    Ugh, nvm, I just found it. Sorry.

  40. Jim

    I am adding pictures into a story and wrapping text tightly to the pictures. I added the first two pictures on page one with no problem. Adding a third picture on page two is another story. The picture inserts okay initially but if I manipulate it in any way at all ( resizing, moving slightly, choosing to wrap tight the text) the picture will immediately jump to page one and position itself over top of the first two inserted pictures. I am getting a little frustrated to say the least. I am sure there is something simple I have missed but cannnot figure it out yet. Any help would be appreciated before I pull my remaining hair out by the roots.

  41. Laretta


    The new printer is working fine! Thank goodness. And it printed my backgrounds fine.Thanks for all the help. I hope the advice you gave me might help someone else in the future!

  42. Tiffany

    Is there a way to have a default background color instead of white? I am able to change it when I open a new document or change it within an existing document but is there a way so when I open Word, it automatically has the other default background color?
    I appreciate any help. Thanks

  43. John Ratti

    I have the same question as Tiffany:

    Is there a way to have a default background color instead of white? I am able to change it when I open a new document or change it within an existing document but is there a way so when I open Word, it automatically has the other default background color?
    I appreciate any help. Thanks

  44. sandeep

    r it is posible to give diffrent background in diffrent ms word pages

  45. Paul

    How to Change the Default Page Color on Microsoft Word 2007

    Go to Open
    Go to Trusted Templates
    Select Normal
    Change the background color on that document
    Close Word down
    Reopen Word

  46. baiju

    How to change the color of a single page in win’ word.?

  47. Sherrie

    Iam trying to type text in a text box but i can not see the words i’am typing is there something i need to do make the words show up?

  48. AH

    Instead of using the standard white background with Word documents, how can I put another color on Word Office 2003?

  49. Pete

    Hey everyone, instead of using shapes and changing all the properties of that, in 2007 you can click ‘Page Color” in the ‘Page Layout’ tab, then choose colours or you can select pictures from your computer by going in fill effects and then picture

  50. krystle

    Tools- options- include with documents- print tab- include with document- background color and images.

  51. Kevin M. Fogel

    I already know how to change a page’s background color to whatever I want. However, I need to know how to change it and then retain that setting so that new documents open in that color. I do this because I have 6 (yes, I said 6) monitors attached to my PC (similar to a stock trading station). Anyway, when all of the monitors are on, as they usually are, there is too much light coming off the screens. So I want all new Word documents to open with a dark colored background and a lighter colored text.

    Can this be done? How?

  52. Dave

    Is it possible to color one page of a document?

  53. Amanda

    I have another different background question. I have an image that approximately 1″x1″ on the screen. I want to tile it across a background on a word doc. I have done this on the screen and everything looks great. Even in print preview it looks just like I want. Now when I print it, it is tiled just like I asked but the image is now about 1cm x 1cm… so small it almost looks like dots. What am I missing? I thought what I saw in print preview is how it would be.

  54. DJmore

    Please help me: I use Vista. I once saw a click on and off box, to print background shades and colors. I can no longer locate that box now. Can someone inform me, how to print background shades and colors for all my printing needs.

    Thanks DJ

  55. trung

    When I use a picture form as a background in Word, how can I fit the pic in full page ? Cause when I zoom in or out, the pic background will smaller or bigger than the page. And when I print 25 pic in one page ? Can someone help me with this ? Thanks very much.

  56. JTG

    Were bringin da’ Hood because of this awesome How-to Geek

  57. Lynn

    In Word 2007, to print background colors, pick page layout, page setup, paper tab, print options, check the print background colors and images box.

  58. jennifer

    I am trying to figure out why a background image of my document in word 07 looks great on the screen but looks completely different when it prints (it either shrinks it really small or it tiles it). I tried many of the suggestions I found in this thread but nothing changed. I use the page layout, page color method and then insert a picture. Any idea why this happens? It happens on every document I create with a backgound image and on different printers… Thanks!

  59. Michelle

    Hi Mick – Having the same problem with gradient background as Valerie did in October 2008 – very frustrating – tried everything you suggested to no avail – any new tips?

  60. pat

    guys all you have to do is cover the page with a text box, fill the textbox with watever colours you want than your away!


  61. Lori

    I’m trying to import a black graphic in MS Word 2007, then reverse the type out of the graphic (in other words, have white type on this black graphic). Is there a way to do this? Thanks for your help!

  62. ixluvxprinny

    I tried changing the page color, and it worked, but when I printed it out it came out white instead of the color I wanted….

  63. sanjaya

    Hello there,
    Is there a way to change the default white page in the office 2007, the high contrast started giving me headache i have seen a few of my frens using a chinese software which enables changing the white paper colours so that the contrast is not so high and is friendly for the eyes, if only there was some way in office 2007 that would be great………..
    If anyone has any idea just pass it on……we can add colours to documents individually, if we could change the color in the default page that would be lot easier then doing it for each piece of your work.


  64. lolli

    how can we add different colours totwo pages stupid and idiot!!!!!!!!

  65. kim

    If you want it to print with background colour and save to pdf with background colour you have to go to “word options”, “display” tab then in printing options check the option ” print background colours and images”

    The problem I am having is putting a gradient in and then when printing or saving to pdf, the whole layout of the gradient changes to look really stripey and horrible, does anyone know how to fix that?

  66. Tony

    Could anyone please tell me how to reverse white text out of a solid background colour with the Office Home and Student version of Word 2007. I could do it years ago with ealier versions – but not now !

  67. Zack

    Thanks! Also, how do you change the theme of Microsoft Word 2007? I don’t mean the document, I mean like the picture you put in the top. Please help me!

  68. Matheepan


  69. Irv

    I have a document in which I have changed the background color of the entire page to reflect the company’s color in a press release. When I go to print the document, there is a border around the entire page. How can I eliminate the border?

  70. lalalalala

    Hey, What happens if I want to have each page of the same document in a different color, because when I change the color as you show it changes the color of the background of the entire document, and thats not exactly what I want. Please help me!

  71. Chad

    How can you have the background color spread across the entire page when printing? As of now, there is a white border around the whole page. I want the color to fill the whole page with no white border.


  72. tmfk

    Thanks How-to-Geek!

  73. Tony Muggleton

    how doyou make the colour on word 2007show on the page

  74. Kaleb Creech

    To change any color scheme on word, access, powerpoint, excel…etc. You have to click the office button in the upper left hand corner. Then you will see a button on the botton on the bottom of the list saying word option (or editor option, access option…etc.) This will open a new window, which will give you the option to change the color scheme.

    I believe the How To Geek is giving false information on how to adjust your options.

  75. Steve

    thank you, quick and easy!



  77. Vikram singh

    gud 1

  78. manne.rajender

    box colour filling not showing. matter is useful

  79. rishabh

    yar ye kam kara hai (ya it realy works)

  80. brea1

    it really works mi teach tried it it works thx how 2 geek [;

  81. fatima

    Is it possible to have 3 different colors for each column on a page in word?

    changing the color of from Trusted Templates does not change the default color for new documents.

  82. hbh

    9/20/2011 Fatima asked”

    Is it possible to have 3 different colors for each column on a page in word? changing the color of from Trusted Templates does not change the default color for new documents.”

    Not possible… but you might try changing the background color of the paragarphs. This would require that no pargraphs roll over from one column to the other, but would give the appearance you are looking for.

    For more flexibility, you may wish to try using MS Publisher.

  83. hbh

    To address questions regarding BACKGROUND COLORS FOR DIFFERENT PAGES:

    There is no WORD formatting attribute for this. The Background Color attribute applies to ALL PAGES of the entire document.

    To acheive a different color appearance you must use a WORD object (graphic, table, etc) inserted either in each page, or in the HEADER of a section. Placing the object in a section header will give all sections using the same header a consistent appearance. If you used a graphic you must choose the “SEND TO BACK” setting [right click and choose “Order” or use the Drawing Tools/Format ribbon (Arrange section)] to place the graphic behind text. If you used a table in the BODY of the document, you must enter all your text into the table cell, which causes the text to lose certain automated features (can’t tab to move through linked outline numbering paragraphs, content won’t show up in the document map, etc.) as table content is excluded from some programmatic features.

    Whichever method you use, there will be A WHITE BORDER ON YOUR PRINTED PAGES because there is a “non printable” area set for all page layouts. No workaround. Use colored paper for correct results, or design the border into your look.

    For advanced graphic formatting such as this, use MS Publisher.

  84. Bri

    Okay, here’s what I did:
    I opened paint.
    I colored the entire picture the color I wanted for my background.
    I saved that.
    I inserted a “picture” in my document.
    I clicked the “Text Wrapping” option, and clicked “Behind Text”.
    I then sized it to fit the page.
    Hope I solved all of your problems! :D

  85. Samantha

    I need to be able to change page colors without affecting 508 compliance…which means I cannot just stretch boxes across pages…I need only one page with color…how can I do this without affecting compliance?

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