How to Add and Remove a Watermark in Excel

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Is it possible to add a watermark on your worksheets using Excel?

Absolutely! Not only is it possible, but it’s also quite easy!

To this date, there’s no built-in feature or a direct way in Excel to add a watermark on your worksheets.

In this article, we’ll show you how you can easily add a watermark in your spreadsheet. Plus, we’ll guide you on how you can adjust and remove the watermark image.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s get started! 🎨

Why watermark?

Chances are you’ve already seen hundreds of documents and pictures with watermark.

There are two main reasons why people use watermark:

1. Protection

Most people use watermarks as a sort of protection on their digital assets.

Since plagiarism is so easy these days, people strive to protect their work by adding a watermark on it. That way, if someone steals their work, the thief can’t present the stolen work without the risk of being caught.

Of course, with the rise of powerful image manipulation software like Photoshop, digital thieves can retouch an image and erase any traces of the watermark.

So a watermark might not be the safest way to safeguard your work. But at least, you’re not making it easy either for someone to copy your work.

2. Marketing

In many cases, watermarks are used as marketing.

You can use your logo as a watermark. Whenever users download or copy your work, they would always remember where they got it from.

Of course, you have to make sure that the image used as the watermark isn’t obtrusive to the reader or viewer.

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file

How to add a watermark

Before everything else, your watermark should be an image.

If you don’t have one yet, you can quickly create one using PowerPoint, Paint, or Photoshop.

You can also use Excel. However, you would still need to save it as an image by exporting it to either PowerPoint or Paint.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

For this tutorial, we’ll be using the image below as watermark:

spreadsheet watermark

If you would like to use the same image, you can download it by right-clicking the image above then ‘Copy image’.

Save the file to your preferred location.

At the end of this article, this is what we would like you to achieve:

spreadsheeto watermark excel result

To start, click ‘Insert’ from the tab list:

insert option on the tab list

On the ‘Text’ group, click the ‘Header & Footer’ icon:

header and footer icon under text group on the ribbon

You’ll then be brought into the ‘Design’ section of the tool.

Click ‘Picture’ from the ‘Header & Footer Elements’ group.

picture icon on the ribbon

A new window will pop up where you have to choose where to get the picture.

You can use your own image or the one we showed you earlier. 

If the latter, just click ‘From a file’ and find the image.

Once you have the image, you won’t see it displayed on the sheet. Instead, all you’ll see is a “&[Picture]” on the center section of the header.

To see how the watermark looks on your sheet, click either the left or right box on the header section:

how to show watermark

How to format your watermark image

As you’ve noticed earlier, you might have to adjust your watermark image to fit it in the center.

To format the picture, you would have to click back to the center section of the header where the “&[Picture]” is written.

Then, click the ‘Format Picture’ on the ‘Header & Footer Elements’ group on the Ribbon.

To adjust the size, you can either change the height and width of the image or scale it up or down.

In our example, scaling the image down to 60% will do. Hit ‘Ok’ once you’re satisfied.

scale watermark down to 60

It’s also possible to alter the color of your watermark and crop it. Usually, watermarks are either washed out or grayscaled so the color wouldn’t mess up the content.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

On the window, click the ‘Picture’ tab.

For the image control color, there 3 other choices besides ‘Automatic’, which is the default color:

  • Grayscale
  • Black & White
  • Washout

Since our image looks too bright, we’d go with the ‘Washout’ option:

washout color option on format picture

You’ll immediately notice the changes.

spreadsheeto watermark excel result

How to remove watermark in Excel

To remove the watermark, you have to make sure you’re on the center box or section of the header.

Then, highlight the “&[Picture]” and delete it. Click another section and the watermark will disappear.

delete watermark on excel

Quick and simple! 😊

Wrapping things up…

Just because Excel doesn’t have an official way to add a watermark, it doesn’t mean you can’t add one.

Whatever your reasons are in adding a watermark, it’s good to know that you can do it with Excel in a quick and simple fashion.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto