How to place text over a graphic in Word

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This article describes how to place text over a graphical image in a Word 2002 document.

To understand this process, it is important to first understand layering. Word documents are composed of six layers:
  • Main text front drawing layer
  • Main text layer
  • Main text back drawing layer
  • Header/footer front drawing layer
  • Header/footer bottom text layer
  • Header/footer back drawing layer

Cross Section of Word Document Layers

                                          /                   /|
                                         /   <SURFACE OF     / |
                                        /       PAPER>      /  |
                                       /                   /  /|
                 Front drawing layer  |-------------------|  / |
                     MAIN TEXT LAYER  |===================| / /|
                  Back drawing layer  |-------------------|/ / / 
                                      |                   | / / 
                 Front drawing layer  |-------------------|/ / 
   (Header/footer) BOTTOM TEXT LAYER  |===================| / 
                  Back drawing layer  |-------------------|/ 
To import graphics, such as clip art or other pictures, point to Picture on the Insert menu (use the Cut or Copy command to place a graphical image on the Clipboard), and then paste it into your document. By default, inserted graphics are placed inline with the text. (You can specify a different layout option if you want. To do this, right-click the image, click Format Picture on the shortcut menu, and then click the Layout tab.) If the In line with text option is selected, the image is inserted into the main text layer and behaves as a single character of text.

To place text over a graphics image, use either of the following methods.

Method 1: Insert or Paste a New Graphic

  1. Use the Insert or Paste command to place the graphic into the document.
  2. Click your graphics image to select it.
  3. On the Format menu, click Picture.
  4. Click the Layout tab. Under Wrapping style, click Behind text, and then click OK.
The graphics image is now behind the main text layer.

Method 2: Use a Text Box

Place the text inside a text box that is positioned in front of the floating graphic. The text box is in the main text front drawing layer, positioned over the floating graphic. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Use the Insert or Paste command to place the graphics image in the document.
  2. On the Drawing toolbar, click Text Box. If the Drawing toolbar is not visible, point to Toolbars on the View menu, and then click Drawing.

    The insertion point appears as a plus sign (+) when you move it over the document.
  3. If the Drawing Canvas appears (this is a box that contains the text "Create your drawing here"), ignore it and move on to the next step.
  4. Position the insertion point where you want the text to appear. Drag the pointer to draw a box.

    When you release the mouse button, your insertion point is inside the text box.
  5. Type the text that you want to appear on the graphic.

    NOTE: The text box may have a solid background and border. To change these settings, follow these steps:
    1. On the Format menu, click Text Box, and then click the Colors and Lines tab.
    2. Under Fill, use the Transparency scroll bar or spin buttons to apply a transparency of between 1 percent and 100 percent.
    3. Under Line, set the Color to No Line.


For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
285055 How to create watermarks in Word 2002 and in Word 2003


Article ID: 291470 - Last Review: January 31, 2007 - Revision: 3.1
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
kbhowtomaster KB291470

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