How to insert a printable background image in Excel?

When we insert a background with clicking Background button under Page Layout tab in Excel, the background is not printable, and you cannot view the background in print preview. Is it possible to print a background image in Excel? Yes, there is a special method to insert a printable background image in Excel.

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To do it, follow these steps:

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Step 1: Click the Insert > Shapes, and select a rectangles shape, see the following screenshot:


Step 2: Draw a shape in active worksheet.

Step 3: Drawing Tools is active now, please click the Shape Fill button and fill the shape with white.


Step 4: Click the Shape Outline button, and replace the outline color with white.

Step 5: Then right click the shape, and select the Format Shape item from the context menu.


Step 6: Click the Fill button at left bar, see the following screen shot:

  • Select the Picture or texture fill option;
  • Click the File button to specify a image to fill this shape;
  • Check the Tile picture as texture option;
  • Change the Transparency to 75%.


Step 7: Click the Properties button at left bar, and

  • Check the Move and size with cells option in Object positioning section;
  • Check the Print Object option.


Step 8: Click Close button. Then the shape filled with pictures looks like a background image. What's more, it can be printed out when you print the active worksheet. See the following screenshot:


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+7#Mike M.2013-10-25 17:18
Thanks - but the image is not in the background. It is covering the excel data. Was a step missed?
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+1#HelloKelly2013-12-06 06:39

In the Step 6, change the Transparency to 75% or lower. If the picture is not transparent, it will cover the excel data completely.

Hope this help you
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0#Anonymous2014-03-24 16:58
insert the image in the header, you are able to work on your data and also print it as the background.
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-1#skyyang2013-10-28 01:55
Dear Mike, it can’t insert image as background in Excel by default, using this method, it just make the image look like the watermark.
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+2#Flo2013-12-05 18:23
The way to make this work and still show data through the image is to save the image as a .emf file!
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+1#Mark H.2013-12-05 20:01
Mike M., the purpose of this is to add a printable background (through methods of a loop hole), 0% transparent image. This was exactly what I needed. Thanks a bunch!
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+1#anon2013-12-07 12:25
Yes, BUT, how to make it so you can click on the cells over the image and edit them without selecting the background image?
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0#Rajendran2014-01-01 12:41
You can hide the picture using Selection Pane (in Format Tab under Arrange tools) and work on your data. While printing, the same shall be enabled. Sending back wont be working on this..
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+1#anon2013-12-07 19:58
I just discovered the LibreOffice allows one to add an image as a background and print with the background as well...
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0#Nasim Khaliqhey2014-02-11 09:20
can you please interduce the pogrammer module for inserting the background picture & text in PIC 18F4455 I have been using EB006 I can not teransfer the data from my window Vista to my PIC18F4455
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+1#eldonjon722014-02-25 19:31
If you need to keep the picture, but allow for Excel data to show through (for example, a form in the background with Excel data in the cells showing through, so you can print a filled-in form):

Follow the instructions above, except keep the transparency at 0%.
Using "Picture Tools" in Excel, use the "Remove Background" function
Remove the background of the picture (for example, the white space on the form), keeping only the form text/design itself

The form/background picture will now be visible but the Excel data will show through, and will print out a filled in form.
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