Can’t remove watermark in Microsoft Word? Here is the solution

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
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Watermarks help users of Microsoft Word make certain attributes in the document super clear to readers. For example, you can use it to let colleagues know that your Word document is a draft. Or even confidential to mention but a few.

But at some point, you no longer need the watermark and desire to delete it only to encounter a resolute watermark that won’t budge despite following the correct procedure.

And so you’re left feeling helpless that you can’t remove watermarked words.

Now, this article is for you if you have been facing this problem. Let’s go directly to seeing how you can remove a stubborn watermark.

Solutions to remove watermark in Word?

Here is what to do to get a clean document.

Fix 1: Recommended Method

  1. Open the concerned document.
  2. For latest Word editions, Select the Design tab (click the Page Layout tab For Word 2010 and Word 2007).
  3. Locate the Page Background tab and select Watermark.Can't Remove Watermark Word
  4. Select Remove Watermark.
  5. Your document should no longer display the watermark.

But occasionally the Watermark is unshaken by these steps so you can attempt these alternative solutions:

Fix 2: Use The Footer Section

Another proven fix involves working from the footer section.


  1. Access the Footer section, again by Double-clicking it.
  2. Select the watermark.why can t i remove the watermark on my word document?
  3. Press Delete.
  4. Do this for every section in your document.

— RELATED: How to Disable Microsoft Confidential Watermark in Windows 10, 8.1

Fix 3: Save The Document As in The XML Format

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is another markup language pretty similar to HTML. Importantly, storing a Word document in XML converts it to plain text.

And so you can try to save the document as an XML file if after executing the above solutions the watermark won’t still delete.


  1. Click on the File
  2. Click Save As.
  3. Choose a preferred file location, like This PC to save your file.
  4. Type a suitable name in the provided File name
  5. Now click on Save as type and from the list, click Word XML.remove watermark word 2013
  6. Click Save.

Next, you will need to edit the file and in Notepad.


  1. Navigate to where you saved the Word document and Right Click then choose Open with do i remove a watermark from one page in word?
  2. Find the watermark phrase by simultaneously pressing CTRL+F keys on the keyboard. For example, type Confidential (if that’s the Watermark wording) then place next.remove watermark word 2017
  3. Delete the word/phrase without deleting the quotation marks.
  4. Search and deleting again until all occurrences are gone.
  5. Save the changes (Click on save button).
  6. Reopen the document but this time with Word.
  7. Finally, Save it as a Word document.

— RELATED: 5 of the best photo stamp remover software to clear watermarks

Fix 4: Working From The Header Section

In some of the recent versions of Word including Office 365, Word 2016, and Word 2019,   watermarks are anchored in the header section. This means that you have to access the header area to erase a watermark.


  1. Double-click the header area in your to remove watermark in word from one page
  2. Select the watermark by clicking and press Delete.

Repeat this process if your Word document consists of multiple unlinked sections to remove all instances of Watermarks in such files.

Here are alternative steps to help remove resilient watermarks from header watermarks.

  1. Access the document’s header by double-clicking it.
  2. Go to Home tab then expand Word’s Select drop down located on the extreme right.
  3. Choose Select Objects. Your mouse cursor becomes an arrow head making it easier to select various items.
  4. Click on the watermark in the Header Area then press Delete.

You may be forced to scroll through the entire document to reach the Header of each Watermarked Section and delete every instance one by one especially for long documents.

Fix 5: The 4-way arrow

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The 4-way arrow replaces the Select Object arrow and is also helpful in nearly all the latest Word releases including Word online .


  1. Turn off changes Tracking in Word.

Here is How:

  • Click Review then press Track Changes.remove watermark from first page word 2016
  • Lastly, permanently eliminate any markup in the document by accepting or rejecting changes and deleting any comments.

Click Review then Next. Now choose Accept or Reject.word draft watermark

  1. Open a section’s header by double-clicking inside the area.
  2. Move the cursor over a few of the letters making up the Watermark until it changes into a 4-way arrow.
  3. Select the watermark (just Click).
  4. Press Delete.
  5. Do this for all other sections with a dogged watermark.

You can as well use the backspace in place of the delete button.

— RELATED: Erase watermarks with these watermark remover tools for Windows PCs

Fix 6: Remove The Header/Footer

A watermark won’t go occasionally if your Word document becomes corrupted as a result of saving the recovered copy afresh perhaps after an abrupt Word crash.

This is because of issues that emanate from the subsequent encoding.

Note that method works like a charm for users of MS Word 2007 and Word 2010.


  1. Open your document the normal way.
  2. Ensure the cursor is positioned in the Header area/section that has the watermark.
  3. Now navigate to Insert and choose Header.
  4. Select Remove Header.draft watermark stuck

This should solve the issue. You can again retry by removing the footer if it doesn’t.


  1. Open your document.
  2. Place the cursor in the footer area (or section with the watermark).
  3. Go to Insert the Footer.
  4. Select Remove Footer.remove watermark in word online

You may now rebuild the header/footer if necessary and it should function without the watermark problem recurring-provided you don’t copy the original Header/footer from the corrupted versions of your document.

Can’t Remove Watermark Word Even After All This?

A Microsoft Word document may show a red mark (X) when you attempt to clear a watermark so it totally refuses to do away with the watermark.

This is quite common for documents where the author used a custom Watermark. Well, the answer  to this problem is not very different from the steps of deleting the usual watermarks.


  1. Open the header area of the page displaying the watermark.
  2. Select the watermark by clicking it.
  3. Press Delete/ backspace or even Right-click and choose Cut.
  4. Voila! The mark should be gone!

Can I Remove The Watermark In Word on The First Page Only?

You may want to now and then remove a watermark on only the first page of your document.

Now, this is possible but there is a rider:  You (or the owner of the document) must have enabled the “Different first page” option for the headers and footers after adding the watermark.

In a majority of cases, the watermark will be hidden from the First Page Header completely when this choice is activated.

All the same, you can still easily unpublish it by applying the previously explained steps if for some reason it still shows up.


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