Tips & Tricks

Adding Watermarks and Backgrounds in Acrobat 7

April 19, 2005


A good way to create a cohesive-appearing document you have constructed from multiple source documents is to use a watermark or background. Watermarks overlay the page content; backgrounds are -- to state the painfully obvious -- applied to the background of the page behind the content.

In this tip, we show you how to apply and configure a graphic background, as well as a text watermark. It is important to plan ahead. Before you start, create the background content and save it as a PDF file if you intend to use an image; if you are using text for a watermark or background, you can create it right in the dialog -- a terrific new feature in Acrobat 7.

Open the document to which you want to apply the background or watermark. Our sample document has seven pages, each containing one large image.

  1. Choose Document > Add Watermark & Background to open the dialog shown in Figure 81a.

Add Watermark & Background dialog

Figure 81a. Add text or graphic watermarks and backgrounds from the same dialog.

  1. Choose Add a Background or Add a Watermark in the Type area, and then specify where you want the background or watermark to display (it can be shown on screen and in print).
  2. Click Browse to select a source document to use for a graphic background or watermark. If the document has more than one page, select the page you want to use (Figure 81b).

Choose the page to watermark

Figure 81b. Choose the type of content you want to add, and then locate the PDF file you want to use.

  1. Select the range of pages you want to receive the background or watermark.
  2. Modify the position, appearance, and size of the background or watermark content as desired. Then set the horizontal and vertical alignments and rotation. Adjust the opacity by using the slider (Figure 81c).

Assign the position and appearance of the watermark

Figure 81c. Adjust the location and appearance of the text on the page.

  1. Check your adjustments in the Preview area. When you are satisfied with the results, click OK to close the dialog and apply the background or watermark.

You can add both a background and a watermark to the same document. In the same example, I have added both a graphic background and a text watermark.

  1. In the Add Watermark & Background dialog, select the Add a Watermark radio button.
  2. Then click the From text radio button in the Source area of the dialog (Figure 81d).

Preview background and watermark

Figure 81d. You can add both a watermark and a background to the same document.

  1. Type the text to use for the watermark in the text field.
  2. Choose font and color characteristics, and adjust the text location as required.
  3. When the text is just right, as shown in the preview area of Figure 81d, click OK to close the dialog and apply the watermark.

Removing Backgrounds

Acrobat is designed to protect the integrity of your document, and once the file is saved with the background, you canít remove it. If you arenít sure about the background, or want to use the document both with and without a background or watermark, save the file with another name.

There is a tricky workaround for the permanent background. Follow these steps:

  • Open a blank document in Word or some other program and save it as a PDF.
  • Open the PDF file in Acrobat with the undesired background.
  • Choose Document > Watermark & Background to open the dialog.
  • Click Browse, locate the blank PDF document, and select it.
  • Click OK to close the dialog. The blank page replaces the background.

Image Protection

Do you have a need for distributing large numbers of images? And do you spend a great deal of time adding a watermark to the images? Save yourself a whopping load of time by combining the content into a PDF document and adding a watermark through Acrobat. Add text or use your watermarking image and adjust the transparency.

Pages Here and Pages There

If you want to apply the background to pages that are scattered throughout a document, arrange them in the Pages pane in a continuous sequence before opening the Add Watermark & Background dialog. Or you can reapply the command several times to apply the background throughout the document.

If you have one page in particular that you arenít sure about, move that page to the start of the document. In the Add Watermark & Background dialog, the first page is shown in the preview area.

Excerpted from "Adobe Acrobat 7 Tips & Tricks: The 150 Best" by Donna Baker. Copyright (C) 2005. Used with the permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Adobe Press.

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