In this post you’ll learn how to add a draft or confidential watermark to your slides so that someone doesn’t accidentally send them along as final (before they are ready) or send them along to the wrong people.
As you will see, there are a variety of ways you can do this in PowerPoint, but first off...
What is a watermark?
In PowerPoint, a watermark is often grey text (as you can see DRAFT in the picture below), or a washed out image that appears on all of your slides behind your content.
The trick is knowing how to properly add one (in the right place) so that it automatically appears on all of your slides.
The last thing you want to do is make the mistake of trying to manually add (or try to update) a watermark to all of your slides individually.
Before you dive into PowerPoint and start making one, here are a few questions you should ask yourself.
Question #1: Where do you want your Watermark?
That is, do you want your watermark to appear on all the slides within your presentation, or just a few individual slides?
If you want your watermark to appear on all of your slides, then you will want to add it on the Parent slide as pictured below.
If instead you only want your watermark on a few individual slides, you’ll want to add it to just the child slide layouts in question where you want it to appear in your presentation.
Question #2: Do you want an editable Watermark?
That is, do you want to be able to edit the watermark in the future?
This will determine whether you directly add it to your slide or whether you add it as a slide background as an image (explained below).
[Watch] How to make a Watermark Tutorial
For additional help understanding your slide master in PowerPoint, see our guide on creating PowerPoint templates here.
Navigate to your Slide Master
Regardless of what kind of watermark you want to create for your slides, you want to do this on your Slide Master.
That's because when you properly add it your slide master, it will then show up on ALL of the slides within your presentation (with a few exceptions discussed below).
That not only means that you can add it once, and have it show up everywhere within your presentation, it also means that if you later want to change or edit your watermark, you can edit it in one place, and have those edits reflected throughout your entire presentation.
To open up your slide master in PowerPoint, simply:
- Navigate to the View Tab
- Select Slide Master
You can also jump to your slide master by holding the Shift key and clicking the Normal Icon at the bottom of your PowerPoint work space (a hidden PowerPoint shortcut).
To see this hidden Slide Master jump shortcut in action, click here.
How To Make a Text Watermark
To create a text watermark on your Parent slide, follow these steps.
- Insert a Text Box (from the insert tab)
- Type the word DRAFT
- Change the font (size, style, color) as per your choice
- Drag your text to where you want it to be on your slide
- Send the image to back (so it’s behind your content)
To send to back, simply right-click the text watermark you created and select Send to Back.
In the picture above, I’ve made the following formatting adjustments:
Font color grey
Font size 166
Rotated 45 degrees
Center and middle aligned on the slide
How to make a picture watermark
To add a picture watermark to your Parent slide (so it’s not editable).
Insert an image or photo (like your company logo).
Resize and orient your picture where you want it to be.
Send it to the back (so that it shows up behind your content).
On top of that, you can also choose to washout or recolor your logo if you want.
To washout or recolor your photo, simply:
- Select your photo
- Navigate to the Drawing Tools Format tab
- Select the Color dropdown
- Select Washout (or a grey color)
You can see the difference between the original and the washed out logo below.
There are a variety of other picture formatting options you can choose, but I think the washout effect works best for marking your slides like this.
How to make your watermark uneditable
If you don’t want someone to be able to edit your watermark, you’ll want to add it as a slide background image to your slide. To do that, simply:
- Ctrl + C to Copy the elements you want to add as the watermark to your slide background.
- Right-click off the edge of your slide and select Format Background
- Select Picture or texture fill
- Choose Clipboard
After you’ve added it as your slide background image, you can select and delete the orginal graphic you used (text or picture).
If you like, you can even duplicate lots of little draft watermarks and add them all to your slide as pictured below.
For help creating this kind of effect (plus some other pointers), see the video at the top of this page to see the step-by-step instructions and pointers.
Troubleshooting your watermark
If you properly add your watermark but still find that it’s not showing up on all of your slides, the likely issue is that some of your child slide layouts have the Hide Background graphics option checked.
To fix this, navigate to your PowerPoint Slide Master and for the layouts where it is not showing up, make sure you uncheck Hide Background Graphics.
How to watermark photos
To add a watermark to a photo in PowerPoint, follow these steps.
- Insert your the image or text that you want to use as a watermark on your photo.
- Select your image and holding Shift select your text or image (so they are both selected)
- Hit Ctrl + C to copy both images
- Hit Alt + Shift + V for Paste Special
- Select either the PNG or JPEG file format
- Click OK
Clicking okay, PowerPoint creates a single image out of your original photo and your watermark text or image, thereby watermarking your image.
If your resulting image is too large, you can learn how to compress images in PowerPoint here.
So those are the different ways you can add a text or picture watermark to your slide, and a number of the considerations you will have to take into account.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, you'll also love our other PowerPoint training courses and videos that you can learn more about here.