How To Watermark An Access Report

As any regular user of Microsoft Word will know, it’s possible to create a document with a ‘watermark’ printed on the background of documents. (A watermark being a semi-transparent image that appears to sit below the text on a page)

The ability to watermark an Access report isn’t built in, but with a little bit of work this feature can easily be replicated. (To create your watermark you will need a decent graphics manipulation package such as Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, the Gimp or Paint.NET)


Create Your Watermark Image

The first step to watermark an Access report is to use your favourite image editor to create your watermark image or text. Because of the vast array of Graphics packages we cannot give step by step instructions, but listed below are some pertinent points you should consider when creating your graphic.

  • Create your graphic file at 100% size, so if you’re using A4 paper for your report then set your graphic file to be A4 in size.
  • Apply transparency settings to your graphic file, you don’t want your watermark to obscure your report text, so a setting of around 65-75% transparency will usually work well, but you may have to experiment with this depending on your personal preference and graphic file.
  • Don’t make your watermark to ‘busy’ or fancy, a simple company logo, or text line will suffice and not draw the readers attention away from the content of the report.

For the purpose of this tutorial we have used a graphic file created using ‘The Gimp’ that has the words ‘Draft’ in 70% Transparent grey text in a graphic file that is A4 in size, and is saved as a .jpg file.


Finished Graphics File

Adding the Graphic to your report

Once you have created your graphic you will need to add it to your pre-designed report:

  • Open the report in Design Mode and hit F4 to see the Properties Sheet for the report.
  • Scroll down the sheet until you see the ‘Picture’ property and click the ellipsis icon.
  • Using the standard Windows file selector box navigate to, and select, the graphic file you created.

Your graphic file will now be inserted onto your report, and will be seen when you view and print your report, however to get things looking just right there are some Properties that you will probably need to experiment with.

Picture Size Mode – Here you set how the report will handle your graphic file, if you have set up your graphic file properly, you can just set it to ‘Clip’. However, you may need to experiment with the settings to get things looking exactly as you want.
Picture Alignment – You can use this option to set where your graphic will be placed on the page. Most of the time you will use ‘Centre’, however, a different option may suit your purposes.
Picture Type – To avoid problems we recommend you use the ‘Embedded’ option, this will include the graphic within your Access application, but is much safer than trying to link it, and risk having the link broken.
Picture Pages – Set this to either ‘All Pages’ or ‘First Page’ depending on which pages you want your watermark to appear on.
Picture Tiling – If you set this to yes you can have your watermark repeat all over the page, this is best used with a small sized graphic file as it can make your watermark very distracting.


The only other setting you may have to set is for the Text Boxes on the report.
Each text box has a property called ‘Back Style’, by default this will be set to ‘Normal’ which means that any text boxes or controls with white space in them will obscure your watermark, by changing this setting to ‘Transparent’ your watermark will show in its entirety. Unfortunately there’s no universal option for achieving this so you will need to do this for every Text box or control that that might obscure your watermark


Watermarked Report




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