How to Remove a Watermark in Excel

Watermarks are often used to add a subtle background image or text to a worksheet and Excel does not have a direct feature to add or delete watermarks. While watermarks can enhance a document’s visual appeal and protect it from plagiarism, you may need to remove them in some situations. Whether you want to present a clean version of data or remove an outdated watermark, there are several methods to accomplish this task within Excel

This article will explore four effective methods to remove a watermark in Excel, allowing us to maintain a professional and polished appearance for our Excel spreadsheets.

Identify the Watermark

Open the Excel workbook containing the watermark.

Navigate to the worksheet with the watermark you wish to remove.

Navigate to the worksheet with the watermark you wish to remove.

Please note the watermark’s location and characteristics, such as its position, size, and any associated text or images.

Method 1: Removing a Watermark using the Header and footer

The first method to remove watermarks in an Excel sheet is the Page Layout View method. Let’s look at the steps involved in this method.

Step 1: Open the Excel workbook that contains the watermark. Click on the “View” tab and select the “Page Layout” view option.

Select the page layout option

Step 2: Once in the Page Layout view, locate the watermark on the worksheet. Now click on the “Insert” tab.

Now click on the 'Insert' tab

Step 3: Under the “Insert” tab, find the “Header and Footer” and click on it. 

Find 'Header' and 'Footer'

Step 4: Under the “Header” page, you can find “&[Picture]” in the header part of the sheet where the watermark has been used. The format “&[Picture]” is a text representation of the watermark image that has been used in the Excel sheet.

Look for the header part, where watermark is used

Step 5: Select “&[Picture]” as shown in the screen grab below. Now press the “Delete” key on your keyboard, and click on any part of the sheet. You will find that the watermark is not visible now. 

Select and delete the header
Watermark is removed

The watermark has been removed from the Excel worksheet.

Method 2: Removing a Watermark using the Background Removal Tool

If the watermark appears many times on each page, then that watermark is added as a background in the Excel. Let’s learn how to delete it by following the below steps:

Step 1: Click on the “Page Layout” tab and select “Delete Background” in the Page Setup section. 

Step 2: Once you click on ‘Delete Background’, the watermark image will remove the background.

Using 'Delete Background' option

In case you cannot find the “Delete Background” feature in Excel, fret not, for there exists an alternative way to eliminate the watermark. This entails utilizing a Background Removal Tool to erase the watermark image. Simply follow the steps outlined below to execute this approach:

Step 1: Download and Install a Background Removal tool

Many third-party add-ins or background removal tools target watermark removal along with additional functionalities. Here, we are using an add-in called KUTOOLS. It comes with preset tabs and options in Excel to easily insert or remove watermarks. 

Now, open the Excel workbook that contains the watermark. You can see that after installing the KUTOOLS add-in, there are two additional options in the Excel ribbon.

Install the third part tool for background removal

Step 2: Select the watermark

Below the KUTOOLS add-in, you will find the Delete tab. Now click on Delete. You will find a drop-down with options. 

Find the option of 'Delete Watermark'

Step 3: In the drop-down, click on “Delete Watermark.”  

click on “Delete Watermark.

Step 4: Once you click “Delete Watermark,” you will find the watermark is not visible and is removed from the worksheet.

watermark is not visible and is removed from the worksheet.

This is an easy and convenient way to remove watermarks from an Excel sheet. However, remember to exercise caution when downloading and installing third-party add-ins and ensure they come from trusted sources. 

Method 3: Removing a Watermark using Formatting Method

The Formatting Method is the third method to remove a watermark from an Excel sheet. In this method, we remove the watermark by formatting the text or image used in the watermark. Let us now look at the steps involved in this method.

Step 1: Select the watermark image or text box as shown in the image below. The watermark ranges between row numbers 23 and 33. Now right-click on the watermark to find a drop-down of options. 

Select the range of watermark

Step 2: Click “Format Cells” from the context menu among the available options.

Click “Format Cells”

Step 3: After clicking the “Format Cells,” an additional pane will appear. In the Format Picture/Shape pane, navigate to the “Fill” or “Text Options” section and click on it.

Navigate to the "Fill" option

Step 4: Under the “Fill” tab, select “No Color.” The leftmost option, which is white (also the default option), can help the watermark easily blend with the background.

select “No Color.

Step 5: Now Click on “OK.”

Now Click on “OK.”

You will now find that the watermark has been removed and is now not visible.

Watermark has been removed

Method 4: Using the Document Inspector

If the watermark cannot be removed using the standard methods mentioned above, it may have been added using a third-party tool. In this case, we can use the Inspect Document feature in Excel to identify and remove the watermark. 

It’s important to note that this feature can also remove headers and footers, so be sure to create a backup of the original file before making any changes. Inspect Document makes irreversible changes to the document. 

To learn how to use the Inspect Document method, follow the steps below:

Step 1: First, make sure to save your Excel workbook

Step 2: Go to the File tab to enter the Backstage view

Go to the File tab to enter the Backstage view

Step 3: Click on Info

Click on Info

Step 4: Click on Check for Issues and select Inspect Document from the drop-down menu

Step 5: A Document Inspector dialog box will appear. Ensure that Headers, Footers, and Watermarks is checked. You can uncheck other options if you only want to inspect for watermarks.

Step 6: Click on ‘Inspect’ button

Click on ‘Inspect’ button

Step 7: If the Document Inspector finds headers, footers, or watermarks, it will give you an option to ‘Remove All’. Click on this button to remove them

Click on the option to Remove All.

Step 8: Click on the ‘Close’ at the end of the Document Inspector dialog box

Click on the ‘Close’

Step 9: Save and open your workbook again. The watermark will be removed from the Excel.

As mentioned earlier, be cautious of using this method and always ensure to save the original file. 


Watermarks often indicate draft versions, confidential information, or placeholders during document creation. However, when the document is finalized and ready for distribution or presentation, removing the watermarks can provide a cleaner and more professional appearance.

Watermarks might be considered visually distracting or undesirable for personal or aesthetic reasons. Removing them allows users to tailor the document’s appearance to their liking or to align with their organization’s branding guidelines.

Each method mentioned in this blog provides a straightforward and efficient way to eliminate watermarks. Utilizing these techniques ensures that the data is presented without distractions, making it easier to analyze and share with others.

It’s important to note that removing a watermark from an Excel spreadsheet may infringe upon the copyright or violate licensing agreements if the original author or organization added the watermark. Ensure you have the permission or rights to remove the watermark before proceeding.

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