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Making a Watermark in PowerPoint (Draft or Confidential)

Posted in PowerPoint Help, Tips and Tricks

In this post you’ll how to make a watermark in PowerPoint for all your slides as a PowerPoint background.

This is commonly used in PowerPoint to add a draft or confidential stamp to all of your slides so that someone doesn’t accidentally send them along as final before they are ready.

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.

This allows you to mark all of your slides at once for a variety of purposes.

Example of a draft watermark as a PowerPoint background

The trick to properly making a watermark like this is knowing where to add it in PowerPoint so that it automatically appears on all of your slides at once.

The last thing you want to do is make the mistake of trying to manually add (or update) your watermark individually on all of your slides, one at a time.

Before you make your first watermark in PowerPoint you’ll first want to answer these questions.

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.

Picture of the Parent slide in your PowerPoint slide master

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.

Picture of your child slide layouts in your PowerPoint slide master

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] PowerPoint Watermark Tutorial

For additional help understanding your slide master in PowerPoint, see our guide on creating PowerPoint templates here.

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 your slide master, from the View tab select the Slide Master command

To open up your slide master in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Navigate to the View Tab
  2. 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 Watermark With Text

Example of a draft watermark on the Parent slide in the PPT slide master

To create a text watermark on your Parent slide, follow these steps.

  1. Insert a Text Box (from the insert tab)
  2. Type the word DRAFT
  3. Change the font (size, style, color) as per your choice
  4. Drag your text to where you want it to be on your slide
  5. 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.

Rotating the draft watermark with your mouse so it's diagonal

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 Watermark With Pictures

Example adding a company logo to the parent slide as a picture watermark

To add a picture watermark to your Parent slide (so it’s not editable).

  1. Insert an image or photo (like your company logo).
  2. Resize and orient your picture where you want it to be.
  3. 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.

Use the picture tools format tab coloring options to fade out your picture or logo

To washout or recolor your photo, simply:

  1. Select your photo
  2. Navigate to the Drawing Tools Format tab
  3. Select the Color drop down
  4. Select Washout (or a grey color)

You can see the difference between the original and the washed out logo below.

Example of the original photo and the photo with a washed out effect applied to it

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 An Uneditable Watermark

To make your watermark uneditable, copy your image or text and add it to your slide as a picture fill

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:

  1. Ctrl + C to Copy the elements you want to add as the watermark to your slide background.
  2. Right-click off the edge of your slide and select Format Background
  3. Select Picture or texture fill
  4. 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.

Example of a bunch of draft marks on a PowerPoint slide

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 don't see your watermark on a specific layout, check to make sure you you don't have hide background graphics turned on

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.

Note: the Hide Background Graphics option will only show up for your Child Slide layouts, it will be greyed out on your Parent slide.

How To Watermark A Photo

Example overlaying a photo with a logo and saving it as a single image to watermark the photo

To watermark a photo in PowerPoint, follow these steps.

  1. Insert your the image or text that you want to use as a watermark on your photo.
  2. Select your image and holding Shift select your text or image (so they are both selected)
  3. Hit Ctrl + C to copy both images
  4. Hit Alt + Shift + V for Paste Special
  5. Select either the PNG or JPEG file format
  6. Click OK
The paste special dialog box

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 that’s how to make a watermark in PowerPoint, and the different things you need to take into consideration.

Regardless of what type of watermark you create, the key is to build it out on your slide master. That way you can update all of the slides within your presentation at once.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you’ll also love our other PowerPoint training courses and videos that you can learn more about here.