Tips & Tricks

Using Watermarks and Backgrounds

June 09, 2004


Acrobat lets you add watermarks or backgrounds to a document once the components are assembled to create a cohesive product. Watermarks overlay the page content; backgrounds are, to state the obvious?applied to the background of the page behind the content. In this tip, we show you how to apply and configure a background.

Note: Before you start, create the background content and save it as a PDF file.

  1. Open the document to which you want to apply the background or watermark. Our sample document has five pages, each containing one large image.
  2. Choose Document > Add Watermark & Background to open the dialog shown below

    You can apply both backgrounds and watermarks to documents using the same dialog.

  3. Choose watermark or background in the Type area, and then specify where you want the background to display (it can be shown on screen and in print).

    I want this background to display both on screen and in print.

  4. Click Browse to select a source document to use for the background. If the document has more than one page, select the page you want to use.
  5. Select the range of pages you want to receive the background.

    You can apply the background to a specified range of pages.

    Note: 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 Watermark & Background dialog. Or you can reapply the command several times to apply the background throughout the document.

  6. Modify the position and appearance of the background content as desired. Then set the horizontal and vertical alignments and rotation. Adjust the opacity by using the slider.

    You can adjust the backgroundís location on the page.

  7. Check your adjustments in the Preview area. When you are satisfied with the results, click OK to close the dialog.

    Preview the page before closing the dialog.

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

  8. Acrobat applies the background to the pages selected, as you can see in the page thumbnails view of the document.

    The background is applied to the document according to your settings. Youíll see it displayed in the Pages pane.

    Some Background on Backgrounds

    Once the file is saved with the background, you canít remove it, so 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. Create a PDF from a blank source document, such as a single-page, blank Microsoft Word document. Then open the PDF file with the undesired background. Choose Document > Watermark & Background to open the dialog. Click Browse, locate the blank background, and select it. The blank page replaces the background.

    This tip is excerpted with permission from "Adobe Acrobat 6 Tips and Tricks: The 100 Best" by Donna Baker, published by Peachpit Press/Adobe Press, Copyright 2004 Peachpit Press.

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