Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Creating watermarks with Microsoft Paint


By Dianah McDonald

You might like the idea of having your photos appreciated and used by other people, but wouldn't you like to know who's using them or have some way to be sure other people realize those photos are your work? What if you have a picture on your auction listing? It might not seem like a big deal, but if the "borrower" is in direct competition with you it could be a huge deal -- maybe the deal-breaker that convinces someone to bid on their auction instead of yours.

If you add a watermark in the right place and in the right way, the photo can still be appreciated while discouraging theft. It can also be an easy way to advertise your website or product or quickly add a caption to a photo. Best of all, it doesn't take expensive software to do it!

Microsoft Paint isn't the most versatile photo program, but it has the benefit of being included with Windows. You can easily use it to enter text onto an image so that makes it perfect for adding a quick watermark. Pick a photo, fire up Paint and we'll give it a try!

Getting started

In Paint, select Open from the File menu and browse for that perfect photo.

In order to enter text using Paint you need to be viewing the photo at 100%. In other words, you won't be able to select the text option if you are zoomed in on the photo. Select the text icon on the Tools palette, which looks like the letter "A". Once the text icon is selected, two additional options appear on the palette, as shown in Figure A.


Some options in Paint only appear once a particular tool has been selected. (click for larger image)

The top option will put a solid color behind the text you type. The bottom option will leave the background transparent when you type text. For watermarks, you generally want to use the transparent background option.

Creating the watermark

Draw a text box with your mouse, as shown in Figure B.


Don't worry if the text box is too big. No one will be able to tell if the text background is set to transparent. (click for larger image)

Make sure the rectangle is large enough to contain all the text you plan to enter. With Paint, you won't be able to change the size to fit your text, so make the box as big as you can. Don't worry if the text box is too big. No one will be able to tell if the text background is set to transparent.

When you draw the text box, the text toolbar will appear. You can choose the font type, and size from here. This is also a good time to choose the color for your text watermark. Choose a color that is complimentary to the image, but will stand out enough to be seen. The goal is to make it known that this photo is yours, without obscuring too much of the photo in the process.