Microsoft Excel: How to Add Watermarks to Worksheets

Unlike Microsoft Word, Excel does not have a built-in feature to add watermark to worksheets we’ve talked about how to do this for Excel 2016 and later, however, here’s how it works with older versions of Excel using the header and footer tools.  Just follow these simple steps to add a watermark to worksheets.

If you have an important Excel spreadsheet with company figures, you’ll want to use a watermark of Confidential. Or maybe put your company logo on it.

Open any Excel file you want to add a watermark to and click Insert  > Header & Footer.

Watermark Excel 1

Excel opens the Design Header and Footer tools. In the Header and Footer Elements section on the Ribbon, click Picture and browse the image you want to use.
Watermark Excel 2

Next, it will show you & [Picture] text.

Click on any cell and it you’ll leave header and footer tools. You can manually position the logo using the Enter key and add blank lines. The Header will expand and move downwards in the worksheet.

Watermark Excel 3

To make it look better, in the Header & Footer Tools, click Format Picture.

Watermark Excel 4

The Format Picture window opens. Select the Picture tab.

Watermark Excel 5

Under Image Control settings, set your watermark image how you want it to appear. The easiest is to use Washout and click OK. But here you can also adjust the image brightness and contrast. Play around with the settings if you want so you get what looks best for you.

Watermark Excel 6

That allows your watermark to be less intrusive by fading it, so you’re still able to see the spreadsheet data.

Watermark Excel 7



  1. Carol Bratt

    You should have started with “Unlike MS Word,” not like MS Word.

    • Steve Krause

      @Carol — Good catch! That one slipped past edit as well! Just updated it. Thnx for the FYI.

  2. Chris

    Cool !!!

    • Steve Krause

      @Chris – Yeah that’s a great tip.

  3. Penny

    Great tip!

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