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Background image does not print at the right size in Word

by mr_malkovich / October 23, 2007 2:44 PM PDT

Hey all. I'm running Word 2003 on XP Pro, and I have a real throat-slasher of a Microsoft Word problem on my hands that I have posted far and wide on many forums, to no avail.

I have a picture that I am trying to post as a background image to a Word document. To do this, I go Format - Background - Fill Effects - Picture - Select Picture, then I choose the picture. The picture shows up, and when I view the file in Print View at 100% Zoom, it is at the perfect scale to my liking. But when I print the document, the background image is shrunk to a fraction of its original size and tiled in the background, behind the document text.

I have posted this on several different forums already, and the only answer I have received so far was from Garfield-n-Odie, who suggested the following:

"In Word, try turning off background printing in Tools | Options | Print. In Windows, try turning off print spooling and advanced text services in Start | Control Panel | Printers | right-click on your printer Properties."

"Check the setting of the "Print body text before header/footer" option on the Compatibility tab of Tools | Options. If the box is checked, clear it and vice versa and see if that helps."

"If you can you print to a different printer, try that."

I've tried these all, on a couple of different computers. No dice. Any ideas? I'm really at the end of my rope. Thanks a million in advance.

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Background image not printing...
by Papa Echo / October 28, 2007 6:37 PM PDT

If I am not wrong, formated backgrounds of MS Word documents(the way you did it) is possible only in "web layout" view. In fact, Word automatically switches to web layout view if you try it. The background does not print because it is intended for a web page. What gets printed is the "inserted" picture. Perhaps, instead of "Format background>Fill effects", you can try "Insert picture" or use the picture as a background "watermark".

However, as a possible workaround, try saving your document, with the background nicely formated and still in web layout view, as a webpage.(Save as...). It will open with your default browser. If you have set your browser to print backgrounds (e.g. for IE, at Internet options...), perhaps you can then have what you want !

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printing background in microsoft word
by richardjmacdonald / October 24, 2008 1:00 AM PDT

Use Backgrounds for web and watermark for printing.

First remove background Format | Background | No Fill

go to Format | Background | Printed Watermark

Select Picture Water Mark | Select Picture, browse for and add your image

my top tip - is make your image the right size before hand, then select 100% as scale - it makes it easier.

Good Luck -

(no need to slash throat)

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background printing as tiles
by kristyhh / December 4, 2008 3:37 AM PST

I have the same problem with the background printing tiles instead of a whole page. None of the suggested solutions helped me. Have you received an answer to this delema yet? If so, could you please share it with me? Thanks

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aha! Finally found an answer... thank God!
by MonkezUncle / April 24, 2009 8:59 AM PDT

I suspect the original poster was as frustrated as I was... and he's right... no other forum has the answer. UNTIL NOW!!!!

Here's how you get a background to show up and PRINT in Word as one full background (and not a bunch of tiles).

Open Powerpoint. Create a background (exact same way and choices as in Word). Save it. But, save it as a .tif. When it asks you, tell it to only extract the one slide. Don't worry about saving the actual presentation.

Go back to your Word doc. Format-->Background---> Fill Effects. Choose the "Texture" tab. Go to bottom, click "Other Texture". Navigate to the .tif you created in powerpoint. Hit "OK".

********* this witch is DEAD!

Shame on you Microsoft that you charge $400 for software and then regular people have to waste hours going to forums like this to troubleshoot your buggy piece of "should-never-have-gotten-out-of-beta" junk.

At least in heaven everything will work the first time. God bless! Happy

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IT WORKS!!! Thanks
by dgrinnan / September 30, 2009 12:59 AM PDT

You have to love the internet for problem solving. This worked. I was worried it was printer settings altering the background.

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Good God thank you!
by musicncomps / May 23, 2010 8:45 AM PDT

Thanks a billion plus more! Darn you Microsoft for making the simplest things most difficult. Happy

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The quick easy fix
by JedWalker / February 8, 2011 7:22 AM PST

An evil problem - here's the quickest fix (for Word 2007 anyway). Save your image as a TIFF, you can do this in Paint. Then insert as usual as a background image.

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Re: aha! Finally found an answer... thank God!
by Jay Chow--2008 / February 25, 2011 3:52 AM PST
In reply to: The quick easy fix

One big issue with post by MonkezUncle - April 24, 2009 3:59 PM PDT:

The tif created by PowerPoint is only at 72ppi resolution. My background picture is vector logos for a 6-up labels in Illustrator and I want to retain vector format throughout. I try exporting at 300 ppi tif but Word barks that it is too large for Texture import. When importing the same file as Picture, Word scales it up by 416.67%, which lead me to conclude that Word interprets the background at 72ppi, thus effectively enlarges it 416.67% (300 ppi / 72ppi). THAT REALLY SUCKS FOR PRINT DESIGNER BECAUSE MY DELIVERABLE HAVE TO BE WORD DOC.

I also save the background as PDF and Illustrator 8 eps in order to retain vector format. It looks fine at 100% view. But when zoom in, background scales by 416.67% again. And at ALL view zoom levels, background prints at 416.67%.

I also try scaling the eps in Illustrator by 0.24 to compensate the enlargement. So instead of 8.5" w x 11" h, it's now 2.04" w x 2.64" h. No dice. Yike!


1. In Illustrator, create a no-stroke-no-fill bounding rectangle 8.5" w x 11" h and position all elements within as they should appear in printed form.

2. Scale everything by 0.24 with upper-left corner as anchor.

3. Select the bounding rectangle only and scale it back to 8.5" w x 11" h with upper-left corner as anchor.

4. Save as PDF to remain in vector format.

5. In Word:mac 2011, choose Layout > Page Background > Color > Fill Effects > Picture > Select Picture and navigate to the PDF. It would look tiny (24%) at the upper-left corner but will print or save as PDF OK.

Summary: Microsoft never has real professional designers in mind when they create their crappy products!

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by Jay Chow--2008 / February 25, 2011 9:28 AM PST

A better solution is to set the margins, header, and footer to 0 and import the pdf (available on Mac only) into the header/footer area at 100%.

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word:Mac 2011 help...
by eyepro / April 3, 2011 2:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Update

My goal: to create a digital stationery for clients that are on a Windows OS.

If I create a template with a PDF background image, as noted above, will my Windows clients be able to view properly and use? I am concerned, with the last solution, that seeing a tiny 24% image would confuse them.

Is it possible to create a decent resolution (not 72!) background image that is at 100% scale?

So far, I've been able to use Headers/Footers to get this done; but when it is in place, I can't seem to get an option to write text. weird.

When I've inserted an image into the background, with my text in place, I can only use a 72 dpi image; anything larger is not scaled, and i can't seem to find an option to "fit to page" etc.

(tearing my hair out!)
thanks for any tips.

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As to the PDF. The answer is no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 3, 2011 3:03 AM PDT
In reply to: word:Mac 2011 help...

Try some of the image formats that Word on the PC uses.

And if you must do this, I suggest you do this on the PC.

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