General Question

jaytkay's avatar

How to make a full-page background picture in MS Word?

Asked by jaytkay (23371 points ) February 4th, 2010

Can I print a full-page background image in MS Word 2007? I have an image of a form, and want to mail-merge responses onto the form.

So I thought I would have the form as a background, and place merge fields on the appropriate spots.

Two approaches have failed.

1)‘Insert Picture’, set ‘Text Wrapping’ – ‘Behind Text’
That looks good, until I type. The picture is not ‘Behind Text’, it’s in-line. The picture gets pushed down the page as I type.

2) Custom Watermark
The image behaves correctly, it’s immobile, but it’s gray, not black.

I want to do this in Word because I have Mac and PC users who all have Word installed.

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6 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

You can make a form as a PDF, and then anyone will be able to use it, and it is designed to do just such things.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m not a Word maven, but I’m a heavy user. Two possibilities come to mind.

In your first approach, what onscreen view are you using? You may be seeing it differently onscreen from the way it will print. Under ‘View,’ if you have ‘Normal’ on, try changing to ‘Print Layout’ or use the Print Preview function.

A second method, if that doesn’t help, would be to create a text box that falls over all your text area, insert your picture in it (it must already be treated so that it’s faint enough to stand having readable print over it), and choose the text box formatting option ‘Behind Text.’

[Edit] Perhaps I misunderstood your intent. Are you trying to fill in spaces on a form that you have set as an overlay or background? I don’t think this is the way to do that. What if you used text boxes for the inserted typing?

jaytkay's avatar

@dpworkin I am avoiding PDF because:
—I don’t have Acrobat Professional
—I would have to create a mail-merge program. I have done that before, with MS Access filling out the forms. But this has to be Mac and Windows compatible, and the users already know MS Word.
—A savvy Word user can already do mail merges, they won’t need to call a specialist to make minor changes.

@Jeruba The text box method is looking promising, thank you.

njnyjobs's avatar

First thing you have to do is create your Mail-merge document by laying out the <<FIELDS>> on the page. Test your mail-merge document with your database. When successful, then Insert the Picture and set the text wrapping as you did, BEHIND TEXT. Next place the picture and stretch/adjust as necessary to fill the page.

Now you will have your <<FIELDS>> floating on top of the picture. In order to correctly place the fields in the proper position on your form, you will need to click on the <<FIELDNAME>> and use your keyboard cursor to move the blinking cursor to the front of the fieldname. Once it’s infront, use Enter and SpaceBar to move the field in place. Repeat as need with other field_names. The idea is that you have to avoid clicking on the picture itself, rather click on the text. . . . clicking on the picture is like choosing the picture for editing, etc. . . . clicking on the text keeps the picture in the back. Does that make sense?

jaytkay's avatar

@njnyjobs Yep, that makes sense.

The text box containing the full-page image killed performance – it was like running Photoshop on a netbook.

So I combined ideas. I placed the image straight on the page again (no text box). I placed text boxes on top of the image, and <<FIELDS>> inside the text boxes. And I am getting the knack of nudging the textbox/field objects around without disturbing the background image.

Thanks everyone!

chrisie's avatar

An easy way is to:
1. Go Insert > Text Box
2. Drag the text box corners to the edges of the page
3.In the formatting palette make the internal margins all = 0
4. Drag your picture into the text box (mac) or insert picture (PC)
5. Click image and stretch to fill or use the formatting palette to fill complete

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